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Ultimate College and Campus Safety Tips

For StudentsLance Murray2 Comments

9 Ways to Stay Safe on Your College Campus

Stay Safe on Your College Campus

If 2015 numbers are any indication, more than 20 million students in the U.S. will head to college this fall. Unfortunately, with so many students, dorm rooms, and valuables, even America’s safest college towns experience some forms of crime, including burglaries, thefts, or assaults.

While safety is a priority for most colleges, there are several additional ways you can improve your own safety and keep your belongings secure. Before heading off to college, review these nine safety tips.

1. Familiarize yourself with your school’s Campus Safety office.

Every school has a Campus Safety or security office, and part of your tuition funds it. Make the most of this resource by utilizing its services. Your college’s website likely provides information like office hours and phone number, but you can also visit in person when you arrive on campus.

Next Step: Call or visit the Campus Safety office and request information about their programs. Find out if your campus has the following services and how you can take advantage of them:

  • Blue light emergency phone stations
  • Campus escort services
  • Safety maps with suggested secure routes
  • Support for a safety app like Campus Safe

2. Take extra precaution at night.

On average, sexual assaults and other crimes are more likely to occur at night. And while you shouldn’t scare yourself into assuming danger is around every corner, you also shouldn’t take unnecessary risks, such as walking alone at night. Instead, use the buddy system or call campus security for a ride.

Next Step: Can’t avoid walking alone or heading to an unfamiliar location? Download a personal safety app, such as SafeTrek, which was developed for college students. When you walk alone, launch the app and hold your thumb down on the safe button. Once you’re safe, release your thumb and enter your pin. If you need help or are in danger, releasing the button without entering your pin will notify local police of your location.

3. Always lock up.

Just as you wouldn’t leave your house without locking the front door, don’t leave your dorm or apartment without locking up — even if you’re planning on only being gone a few minutes. If you live on the first floor, close your windows and either shut the blinds or hide your valuables in drawers any time you leave.

Next Step: Purchase a small safe or dedicate a drawer for storing your laptop, iPad, and other valuables when you’re away from your room. If you use a safe, keep it hidden in a closet. If you live on the first floor of a building, make sure your windows lock. If they don’t, you can purchase a sliding window lock (Amazon) or security bar (Amazon).

4. Maintain privacy on social media.

Social media is a great platform for connecting with friends and family worldwide or sharing updates about your life. However, with everything you post, stay aware of who else could be viewing your profile. Avoid geotagging your photos, as it reveals your location to strangers, and don’t publicly announce when you’re home alone or are leaving your home unattended.

Next Step: Review the settings on each of your social media profiles. Disable location services, make your accounts private, and think twice before sharing anything. Remember: once something gets posted on the Internet, it’s tough to remove it entirely.

For more information on keeping your accounts secure, read through our Social Media Safety Guide.

5. Be careful when getting into your car.

Most people don’t think to look in their backseat or under the car before getting behind the wheel. A predator could potentially be hiding in one of those locations, however, especially if you tend to leave your car unlocked or keep your windows rolled down. When walking to your car, approach at an angle that allows you to see around the vehicle, and check the back seat before opening the door.

Next Step: Lock your car doors and engage your car alarm every time you leave your car, even if you’re running just a quick errand. If your car doesn’t have an alarm feature, our Aftermarket Car Alarm Comparison can help you find a reliable alarm option.

6. Know where you’re going.

Whenever you set out to town or class, make sure you know where you’re heading and how to get there. Walk with confidence and avoid looking confused, even when you’re trying to navigate a new location. If you’re in an unfamiliar area, don’t use headphones or let your phone distract you, and focus on finding your destination.

Next Step: Download your campus map onto your phone and use your GPS to find popular, highly trafficked routes to get to your destination. Apps like Campus Maps can also help you find your way around your school campus. Always try to avoid walking along deserted paths, and when in doubt, stick to the routes with which you’re most familiar — even if they take a little longer.

7. Understand your campus’s and city’s crime.

The more you know about the crime in your local area, the better you can prevent similar incidents from happening to you. Most colleges and universities provide on-campus crime statistics, and several websites offer a thorough overview of a city’s crime rates, including the type of offense and specific locations where the crime occurred.

Next Step: Research your college’s reported on-campus crime by visiting the U.S. Department of Education. If you have specific concerns or questions not addressed by the site, contact your school’s Campus Safety office for more information. Use a site like City-Data.com to learn more about the crime within a particular city.

8. Learn how to defend yourself.

There’s nothing more empowering than knowing how to protect yourself physically. You’ll feel safer and more confident, especially if you live or travel alone. You don’t need a black belt in karate to master self-defense; all you need are a few classes and tips from a professional instructor. There are several types and styles of classes from which to choose, depending on your interests.

Next Step: Sign up for a self-defense class in your area, such as Krav Maga or jiujitsu. These classes are often available at colleges and gyms. If you’re feeling shy or nervous, ask a few friends to take the class with you.

9. Have safety and security supplies readily accessible.

Keeping a few safety supplies on hand can help you feel more protected. While stun guns aren’t legal in all states, less drastic self-defense products like pepper spray and mace are easier to obtain and can be just as useful. Many colleges also provide new students with whistles, which you can use to alert those nearby when you require assistance or are in danger.

Next Step: Pack your chosen safety supplies into a small kit, and fasten the kit on a key ring, lanyard, or backpack. These items should be easy to grab at any time, as they won’t do you much good if they’re buried at the bottom of your bag.

College is an incredible and rewarding experience. But as busy as you’ll be with adjusting to independence, new classes, and new friends, don’t forget to stay safe and maintain awareness. Following these nine simple steps can significantly increase your chances of having a safe and successful school year.

*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend products. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen products.

This information is from SafeWise.com                                                        By Melissa Darcey

Safety tips for attending graduation parties

For Students, For WomenLance Murray2 Comments

Hi everyone, Here's a few tips you might want to pay attention to when attending parties celebrating graduation.  A lot of celebration destinations are at peoples apartments or houses that have decks to hang out on and enjoy the outside air.

Tip #1 is to be cautious about to many people on the deck. There are a lot of injuries and fatalities due to over loading the deck structure and the deck collapsing, leaving everyone on the deck to fall off and get injured or die, so please be CAUTIOUS about over crowding on the deck and keep yourself safe, now some decks are built to withstand a lot of people on them but a lot are not.  Check out these links about injuries and fatalities due to deck collapse.

http://www.today.com/id/48647770/ns/today-today_news/t/rossen-reports-many-backyard-decks-collapse-experts-warn/#.V0Sow1QrIzE

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Chicago_balcony_collapse

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/16/berkeley-balcony-collapse/28797145/

Tip #2 is be mindful of what you're drinking.  Often people will put a roofie in your drink when you are not looking so that they can take advantage of you later.  Never let your drink out of your sight, even if you are among assumed friends, just play it safe and fill your own drink and keep it in sight. If you see someone spiking someones drink call the authorities. Thousands of women are drugged and sexually assaulted every year.  Check out these links about people spiking your drinks and sexually assaulting you and be safe.

http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/dr-laura-berman-on-love-and-sex/how-can-you-tell-if-your-drink-has-been-drugged-new-product-line-helps-to-detect-roofies-and-prevent-date-rape/

http://ie.reachout.com/inform-yourself/alcohol-drugs-and-addiction/alcohol/drink-spiking/

https://www.futuresofpalmbeach.com/womens-health/victim-spiked-drink/

Tip #3 is, carry some kind of personal protection like a pepper spray device that has a good rating and that you feel comfortable using, or a key chain lanyard that you have your keys on and can swing at an attacker to defend yourself.  There are a lot of less than lethal self defense options out there so find one that is effective and that you feel comfortable using.  That's it, so HAPPY GRADUATION, be aware, and stay safe so that you can fulfill your life's dreams.

The Hard Facts: Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

For Women, For StudentsLance MurrayComment

The Hard Facts: Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

By: Trey Dyer

Author Bio: Trey Dyer is a writer for DrugRehab.com and an advocate for substance abuse treatment. Trey is passionate about sharing his knowledge and tales about his own family’s struggle with drug addiction to help others overcome the challenges that face substance dependent individuals and their families. Trey has a degree in journalism from American University and has been writing professionally since 2011.

Sadly, legal and illicit drugs and alcohol are commonly used to facilitate sexual assault. Also known as date rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault is one of the most commonly occurring types of sexual violence. Crimes of this nature are frequently committed by someone the victim knows, as 47 percent of rapists are a friend or acquaintance of the victim. Additionally, 75 percent of acquaintance rapes involve drugs or alcohol. Despite these numbers, there are steps that can be taken to prevent drug-facilitated sexual assaults. For victims of these atrocious attacks, there is help and treatment available.

Drug-facilitated sexual assaults most commonly occur in drinking environments, such as a house party or bar, where are commonly used to facilitate sexual assault:

  1. Rohypnol- also known as “rufilin” or “roofies,” Rohypnol may cause individuals to appear drunk or inebriated. Common side effects include slurred speech, loss of motor functions, confusion, disorientation and loss of consciousness.
  2. GHB- taking effect in less than 15 minutes, GHB has similar effects to Rohypnol and is often slipped into a victim’s drink. GHB is extremely potent, and a small amount can cause severe side effects.
  3. Ketamine-popular in rave culture, ketamine is a fast-acting substance that causes dissociation from reality. Other side effects include distorted perceptions of sight and sound, hallucinations, feeling out of control, impaired motor function and slurred speech.

4. MDMA- also known as “ecstasy” or “molly,” MDMA causes individuals to feel intense                          emotions and decreased inhibitions. MDMA is often mixed with other substances, and the                  majority of users have no idea what they are taking.

5. Alcohol- alcohol is the most commonly involved substance when it comes to sexual assault.               Drinking too much causes the inability to think clearly, set limits, and make good                               judgement. Memory loss is also a common side effect when drinking at excessive levels.

Victims Taking the Blame

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, 68 percent of all sexual assaults are not reported to police, and 98 percent of rapists never serve time behind bars for their crime. Victims of sexual assault often experience feelings of guilt or shame and try to claim some kind of responsibility for the perpetrator’s crime, most of the time as a way to cope and take control of a situation that they had no control over. These feelings cause many sexual assaults to go unreported.

Studies show that other reasons victims do not report sexual assaults may be the following:

  • Feelings of shame or embarrassment
  • A desire to keep the assault a private matter
  • Fear of what others will think
  • Fear of not being believed or being accused of being responsible for the crime
  • Lack of trust in the criminal justice process

Additionally, many victims —and sometimes even law enforcement — try to place blame on themselves as a result of drugs or alcohol they were using at the time of the sexual assault. Eliminating this notion is critical. No matter what a victim was doing at the time of an attack, sexual assault is the never the victim’s fault.

Protect Yourself

There are steps people can take to protect themselves from drug-facilitated sexual assaults. These precautions include the following:

  • Do not accept drinks from others, especially people you do not know
  • Open all drink containers yourself
  • Keep your drink on your persons at all times, even in the bathroom
  • Do not share drinks with others
  • Do not drink from community drink containers (Punch bowls, water coolers)
  • When ordering or receiving a drink, make sure to watch the drink being poured and carry it yourself
  • Do not drink anything that tastes unusual or odd. For example, GHB may cause drinks to taste salty
  • Go to social outings with a sober friend
    • Pour out any drinks that are left unattended, even if only for a small amount of time
    • If you feel intoxicated and have not had any drinks — or if you feel like the effects of drinking alcohol are stronger than usual — stop drinking and seek help immediately
    • Do not use illicit drugs that may be laced with unknown substances, such as ecstasy

Being aware of your surroundings is also a crucial step to avoid being a victim of drug-facilitated sexual assaults. Trust your instincts; if something feels out of the ordinary or odd, it probably is.

Help for Victims

Victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault often have difficulty recalling details of the attack or the attack altogether. Frequently, it can take victims hours or even longer to realize a sexual assault occurred. Additionally, date rape drugs leave the body quickly and may leave a person’s system before the proper medical professionals have a chance to test for their presence. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a possible drug-facilitated sexual assault may have occurred.The following signs could be an indicator of drug-facilitated sexual assault:

  • You feel drunk and you have not had any alcohol
  • The effects of alcohol feel stronger than usual
  • You wake up very hungover and disoriented
  • You have no recollection of a period of time
  • You remember having a drink but cannot remember what happened after that
  • Your clothes are torn, disheveled or put on a different way than you remember
  • You feel like you had sex, but you cannot remember it

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, follow these steps to receive the proper medical attention and help:

  • Seek Medical Attention Immediately- Call 911 or have someone you trust take you to the hospital emergency room. Do not urinate, clean yourself, bathe, brush your teeth, wash your hands, change clothes or eat or drink before you receive medical attention. These things may yield evidence of the sexual assault.
  • Call the Police from the Hospital- Tell the police exactly what you remember. Be honest about all and every one of your activities. Remember, nothing you did, including drinking or illicit drugs, justifies rape or sexual assault. Ask the hospital to take a urine sample that can be tested for date-rape drugs. Date-rape drugs leave your system quickly. The sooner you receive medical attention, the higher your chances of catching the potential presence of date-rape drugs in your system. Rohypnol stays in the body for several hours and can be detected in urine up to 72 hours after taking it. GHB leaves the body in 12 hours. Do not urinate before going to the hospital.

Do Not Clean the Room in Which the Sexual Assault Occurred - make sure to leave the area or room in which the sexual assault occurred exactly the way it is. Leaving the scene of the crime in the condition you find it in after the assault has occurred is important to the investigation process, as it could evidence to investigators

Seek Counseling and Treatment- Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are common for victims of sexual assault. No matter what you did before the attack, sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. A counselor can help you work through these emotions and cope with the trauma. Calling a crisis center or a hotline, such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, can help victims find the resources they need to get through this troubling time.

Sources:

FRIS. (n.d.). Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault. Retrieved from http://www.fris.org/SexualViolence/DrugFacilitated.html

National Institute of Justice. (2010, October 26). Rape and Sexual Violence. Retrieved from http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/rape-sexual-violence/Pages/welcome.aspx

National Institute of Justice. (2016, March 18). Untested Evidence of Sexual Assault Cases. Retrieved from http://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/investigations/sexual-assault/Pages/untested-sexual-assault.aspx

National Institute of Justice. (2010, October 26). Victims and Perpetrators. Retrieved from http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/rape-sexual-violence/Pages/victims-perpetrators.aspx

Network of Victim Assistance. (n.d.). Date Rape Drug- Ecstasy. Retrieved from http://www.novabucks.org/daterapedrugs_ecstasy/

Office on Women’s Health. (2012, July 16). Date Rape drugs fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/date-rape-dugs.html#f

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (n.d.). Statistics. Retrieved from https://rainn.org/statistics

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (n.d.). Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault. Retrieved from https://rainn.org/get-information/types-of-sexual-assault/drug-facilitated-assault

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This guest post was provided by: Angela Hilty at https://www.drugrehab.com/

To my readers;  Did you like this post, and was it helpful?

Big Problems On College Campus

For Students, For ParentsLance MurrayComment

Big Problem on Campus

campus

(September 29, 2015) – A new survey of 150,000 students at 27 universities finds that 11.7% of students reported experiencing “nonconsensual penetration or sexual touching by force or incapacitation” since enrolling. The survey, by the Association of American Universities with support from Westat, is the largest of its kind.

While the AAU survey results are similar to those found in other, smaller studies, there was significant variability among universities polled. The University of Michigan and University of Southern California, for example, reported rates of sexual violence nearly double those at Cal. Tech and Texas A&M.

According to the report, “Undergraduates identifying as TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, non-conforming, questioning, or not listed on the survey) had the highest rates (12.4%), followed by undergraduate females (10.8%), and graduate (professional) TGQN students (8.3%),” compared to about 4% of males surveyed. Two of the biggest factors influencing incidence of sexual assault were the involvement of alcohol and drugs and class year. “Among freshmen, 16.9 percent of females reported sexual contact by physical force or incapacitation. This percentage steadily declines by year in school to a low of 11.1% for seniors,” the report says.

data set for percentage of students experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact involving physical force, incapacitation, coercion and absence of affirmative consent since enrolling at university by tactic and gender

Source: "Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct" (Westat, 2015).

The survey also measures cases involving sexual touching, the use of coercion, and the lack of affirmative consent (categories that may include many non-criminal acts). Using this broader measure, the researchers say that “one-third (33.1%) of senior females and 39.1 percent of seniors identifying as TGQN report being a victim of nonconsensual sexual contact at least once.”

Noting the large differences between individual schools, Rebecca O’Connor, RAINN’s vice president for public policy, said, “These findings demonstrate the need for a national, standardized campus climate survey. This type of rigorous and routine baseline data collection, which would be required under the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (S.590 / H.R. 1310), is imperative. Without this data, it’s difficult to understand the true scope of the problem, let alone advance policies that will truly improve prevention and response for these serious crimes.”

Congressional focus on campus sexual violence and related reforms remain front and center. At a hearing of the House Education and Workforce Committee earlier this month, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said, “This is a matter of national importance – how can we better protect our students?” Witnesses, who included college administrators and advocates, spoke to the inherent challenges schools face when addressing the difficult topic of campus sexual assault, from ensuring that the rights and needs of both victims and the accused are protected, to ensuring that a tangled web of state and federal mandates are fulfilled.

As Congress moves into a busy fall season, you can help make sure this issue remains on the agenda. Stay up to date and be part of the solution by visiting RAINN’s Action Center.

This article is from RAINN.org

Maybe I should have,,,,

For Women, For StudentsLance MurrayComment

Survivor Spotlight: Aspen Matis2

Aspen

“Maybe I should have kicked him. I should have screamed.”

It was Aspen Matis’s second night of college. She had invited a few new friends over to her dorm room to watch the classic movie "The Breakfast Club." When the movie was over, two of the three people left, leaving one guy in her room.

He didn’t leave. She told him to stop, but felt frozen. He threw her clothes on the floor, and raped her. “I felt shame,” said Aspen, thinking back to that time. She eventually decided to visit an on-campus resource for sexual assault, where she was encouraged to report what happened. After the school’s campus mediator found the case inconclusive, Aspen found herself needing to get away and find some solitude in order to process what her college experience had turned into. She decided to walk 2,650 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail, all the way from Mexico to Canada. “The literal route of the long journey felt symbolic,” says Aspen. “Walking toward the pain, into it—facing it, feeling it hotly—and passing through it.”

Aspen decided to raise money for RAINN along the way, in support of other survivors who are making their way through the healing process. Aspen said, “When I called the National Sexual Assault Hotline, the staffer listened and stayed on the phone for hours as I spoke and cried. Her presence softened my sharp pangs of pain. She repeated that my rape was not my fault, that I should feel no shame, that—simple as it may sound—I hadn’t caused it. No one causes rape but rapists. No one causes rape but rapists. No one causes rape but rapists. It was true. And it hadn’t been obvious to me. But hearing it from someone else, a professional, someone who should know, helped me believe that soon I would believe it.”

After Aspen returned from her successful hike, she decided to write a memoir about her journey. Girl in the Woods, released on September 8, 2015, explores Aspen’s physical and emotional survival story, and reveals how she came to terms with an experience that many of those around her did not understand. “I met myself, my future self, learned who I was and what I needed and wanted, and earned massive respect for myself and my strength. I showed myself how strong I was. I became the hero of my own story,” says Aspen.

“We’ve followed Aspen’s remarkable journey since 2008, when she first contacted us about her courageous plan to hike the Pacific Crest Trail to support survivors,” said RAINN’s Director of Development, Chelsea Bowers. “Aspen’s sincerity and openness in sharing her story has already helped so many to know that they’re not alone, and Girl in the Woods will reinforce for thousands more that there is hope, and that recovery is possible.”“I want other girls to tell their stories, and be free of them,” says Aspen.

Learn more about Aspen at her official website. Aspen is donating 5% of royalties through the sale of her book to RAINN: Order your copy here. You can also help Aspen raise money for the National Sexual Assault Hotline by donating here.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org, y en español:rainn.org/es.

Three Ways You Can Increase Campus Safety This Fall

For Students, For ParentsLance MurrayComment

1. Get acclimated to your new home. College is often the first time students are away from home for an extended period of time. With a new environment, such as a university campus, comes new risks. No one expects bad things to happen, but it can be comforting to know what to do if something goes differently than planned. → Find ways to immerse yourself in campus life. Identify programming and resources available on campus – like how to sign up for a club or where to get a health check-up. Ask specific questions such as, where should you go if you twist your ankle? Which phone numbers are important to have programmed into your cell phone?

2. Be a good friend in tough situations. The key to keeping your friends safe is learning how to intervene in a way that fits both the situation and your comfort level. Having this knowledge can give you the confidence to step in when something isn’t right. Stepping in can make all the difference, but it should never put your own safety at risk.

→ If you see someone at a party acting aggressively, find a non-confrontational way to step in. If something feels off, remember to CARE: create a distraction, ask directly, refer to an authority and enlist others. The goal is to interrupt the behavior that concerned you, before the situation escalates.

3. Know how to support survivors. Sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing the words to say, and being able to point your friend in the direction of someone who is trained to provide guidance. Most importantly, let your friend know that no matter what happened, it’s not their fault.

→ Something as simple as “I believe you” can have a profound impact on a survivor and their recovery process. Resources like the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) provide free support to survivors and their loved ones.

Take The Next Step: Want to do even more? Check the links below for ways to take action against sexual violence on campus, and learn how you can support survivors: 1. Register for RAINN Day (September 17) and create an event for your campus. 2. Join the #TalkToRAINN conversation online (September 14th through 18th). 3. Sign up for the latest news about RAINN’s work to address sexual assault on campus. 4. Act with RAINN to support the Campus Accountability and Safety Act.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org, y en español:rainn.org/es.

 

This post is from rainn.org

Stalking Awareness

For Women, For StudentsLance MurrayComment

January Survivor Spotlight: Stalking Awareness

  • 1 in 6 women – and 1 in 19 men – have experienced stalking at some point during their lifetime
  • 66% of female stalking victims are stalked by someone they know
  • 46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next
  • 29% of stalking victims fear the stalking will never stop
  • 1 in 8 employed victims lose time from work as a result of their victimization
  • 1 in 7 stalking victims move as a result of their victimization*

For survivor Marianne Bezaire, these aren’t just statistics – she experienced it all personally when an acquaintance became her rapist, and then her stalker.

Marianne was drugged and sexually assaulted at a friend’s party. When she woke up the next morning and drove herself home, her attacker followed her and discovered where she lived. This was the beginning of an awful ordeal that involved the stalker breaking into her home, blackmailing her with information he found while reading her personal journals, hacking into her computer and email, and more. Marianne says she lived in fear of what he would do next, and “one of the worst parts of the situation was dealing with how hard it was to get support.”

Those around her often minimized the danger Marianne faced, or blamed her for not protecting herself more effectively. “I felt very ashamed and responsible, but also helpless to make the stalking stop,” she says. Even when she was able to go to the police in her town, she says they were unhelpful, suggesting that she simply replace her computer or move to a new address. “I felt as though no one would understand how unsafe I was, or what I had to go through to make myself feel safe again.”

Marianne says that in the 10 years since her experience, the perception of stalking has changed significantly. “There’s more awareness now of how serious a crime it is to stalk someone,” says Marianne. Stalking, generally defined as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear,” is a crime in all 50 states and Washington, DC, and January is recognized as National Stalking Awareness Month.

Marianne wants those with similar experiences to feel supported. “Please do not be hard on yourself. Stalkers often purposely try to confuse you and make you feel as though you are responsible for their behavior. Don’t let anyone talk you out of taking proper care of yourself.” To overcome the after-effects of being stalked, Marianne began seeing a therapist, and also started meditating and journaling. She advises others to try a healing physical activity, such as dance or yoga.

Marianne also recommends identifying resources you have available should you discover or suspect you’re being stalked. For instance, whom would you feel comfortable talking to? Do you know where your local police station is? How much of your personal information is shared on social media? “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be your own best advocate,” says Marianne.

Find more information about stalking here, and at the National Center for Victims of Crime's Stalking Resource Center.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org.

*All statistics via The National Center for Victims of Crime.

VICTIMIZED; Students or Non-Students

For StudentsLance MurrayComment

Among Young Women, Non-Students More Likely to be Victimized Than Students

(December 11, 2014) – A new Justice Departmentreport concludes that, among women age 18-24, those not attending college are about 20% more likely to be sexually assaulted than college students.

The study from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), which analyzes almost two decades of data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, examines sexual violence among college-age adults and compares the risks and outcomes for students to those for non-students. Out of every 1,000 female students age 18-24, 6.1 were sexually assaulted each year. For non-students, the rate was 7.6 per 1,000.

Regardless of student status, BJS found that the risk of sexual assault was significantly higher for 18-24 year-olds than for other Americans. Female college students in that age range are about five times more likely to be sexually assaulted than the population at large, while non-students are about six times more likely. In other words, young women, no matter the setting or level of education, are most at risk, the study found.

For males 18-24, the risk was higher among college students: men made up 17% of all college student victims, and about 4% of non-student victims.

“The Justice Department study shows that all 18- to 24-year-olds are at significant risk of sexual assault, whether they are in college or not. That underscores that we need to ensure that victim support services are available for all,” said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN’s president. “We also need to make sure the criminal justice system, which is intended to serve victims equally regardless of their student status or age, works better for all victims of sexual violence,” he said.

The study also found that 38% of student victims were attacked at or near their home, versus 50% for non-student victims. Among student victims, 29% were assaulted at or near the home of a friend, relative or acquaintance, versus 17% for non-students.

Twenty percent of student victims say they reported the assault to the police, while 32% of non-students did so. The most common reasons for deciding not to report to police were that is was “a personal matter” or that they had a “fear of reprisal.”

The study also found some regional differences in the risk of assault. Among female students in the Midwest, 8.3 per 1,000 were assaulted each year, while the rate in the South was 4.7 per 1,000.

Read the full report by BJS.

Learn how you can help stop sexual violence and support survivors at RAINN’s Action Center.

Teen girls can protect themselves.

For Students, For WomenLance MurrayComment

Dallas Jessup on how to turn anger at injustice into a movement for change

From the front lines of youth activism,  17-year-old Dallas Jessup delivers a how-to guide for any teen who  wants to change the world. She shares inspiring stories of teen  activists and her own community service project, which grew into a  worldwide revolution against predators. An excerpt.

Americans love a good Revolution. In fact, Thomas Jefferson once said, “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”

Maybe  one starts with dumping tea in a harbor to start a Revolution for  Freedom; perhaps another starts with an inspiring speech, challenging  the citizens of a great nation to judge people by the content of their  character and not the color of their skin in a Revolution for Civil  Rights; and just maybe a new revolutionary change in the world starts  today in this library, in this study, in this living room, in this cozy  chair by the window — with you reading this book, one page at a time.

Revolutions, after all, aren’t always fought  by large armies or entire nations. They don’t even require gunfire,  violence or bloodshed. In fact, the most important revolutions start  small; one person at a time. An idea, an observation, a thought or even  just a feeling can all give rise to the power of a revolution.

That’s  why I’m here: I want to challenge you to start a Revolution of your own  and to let you know just how to make that happen. Anybody can be the  catalyst to a fundamental change in our society, even kids.

Young Revolutionaries Who Rock

The  younger you are the more power you actually have to act on your  thoughts, feelings and emotions. Think about it: you grow up, get  married, buy a house, have kids of your own, and get bogged down with  bills and responsibilities. How are you going to start a revolution  then? We have the freedom, the power, the energy, the dreams and the  courage to start revolutions. All we need is a little push. I’ve met  about ... kids that have done just that with a hundred separate causes  and I’ve heard about, and that doesn’t include the few thousand I  haven’t heardabout.

If  you’ll join us I think we’ll see a very different and far better world  five years from now; a better world created by Revolutionaries like you and me.

You have the right to take back your power Since I started the Just Yell Fire Revolution  a few years ago, I’ve met a lot of rape survivors and near-rape  avoiders. They’ve all told me horror stories that I hope you never have  to hear or experience. And the one thing all rape victims — all victims  in general — have in common is a feeling of powerlessness. Whether it  is by surrendering your power unwillingly, the taking of your power  without permission, or purely a lack of personal power, being  victimized is a horrible feeling.

Do you know how that feels? I bet you do. Kids  are some of the most powerless people on the planet; or so we think.  When you are bullied and afraid to leave the house, that’s  powerlessness. When you are singled out because of your race, religion  or sexual orientation, that’s powerlessness. When you are punished by  parents, principals and the powers that be, that is powerlessness in  its simplest form.

When  you can’t play on this team because you’re a girl or cheer on that  squad because you’re a boy, that’s the powerlessness of inequality.  When you can’t walk to school because bigger kids might hurt you,  that’s the powerlessness of injustice. When you turn on the evening  news and see hunger and earthquakes and tornadoes and hurricanes and  bombings and are frustrated by the inability to help — that’s powerlessness pure and simple.

But  I want you to know that you can turn that powerlessness around and into  real positive power; many a revolution began by turning powerlessness  into power. When settlers braved hunger and thirst and wild animals to  colonize America, they did so because they felt powerless back home in  England. When England began persecuting settlers all over again in  their new country, they felt powerless once more. They were tired of  feeling powerless and so they did what no one thought they could do:  they started a revolution.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be powerless anymore.

It’s time for you to take back your power.

It’s time for your Revolution!

You have the right to be a revolutionary When  I first saw the video footage of eleven-year-old Carlie Brucia being  abducted in front of a car wash in broad daylight several years ago, I  was outraged. When I learned that Carlie had been raped and killed, I  was sickened. When her killer was put in jail, I felt that Carlie had  been vindicated. That feeling lasted only a moment, and I only felt  slightly satisfied. I knew that a woman is raped every two minutes in  the United States. I knew that there are over 114,000 attempted  abductions every year. I knew there would be more Carlies later that  day, and the next, and so on and forever. But I knew something else: I  knew I had the right to try and stop it. I knew I was powerful enough  to overcome these feelings of powerlessness.

I knew I could start a Revolution of my own; I just had to figure out how.

So I started the Just Yell Fire movement  and made a film about how to avoid being abducted or raped — and as of  this writing 600,000 people have downloaded it from every corner of the  world. I started speaking at schools all over the United States, and  now I operate the Just Yell Fire non-profit organization, which has helped empower girls in 41 countries.

But what about you?

What can you do to turn your anger into action? What are you concerned about that you care enough to start a Revolution? What can you do to start changing the world, one kid at a time?

I’m here to let you know that you have rights.  Maybe you don’t possess the right to vote or the right to drive or  drink alcohol... yet. But here’s a list of 9 rights that every one of you already has — even if you’ve forgotten what they are:

You have the right to...

  • Get angry at injustice
  • Live a life free of fear
  • Believe in yourself
  • Fix what’s broken
  • Listen to your gut
  • Change the world
  • Help others who can’t help themselves
  • Fight for your rights and the rights of others
  • Fight for your personal bill of rights

I’m  here to remind you of the rights you have and don’t use as well as the  rights you may not have even realized you had in the first place. I’m  here to remind you that if you do not protect these rights, you may  very well lose them. I’m here to let you know it’s time for you to  start saving the world, one Revolution at a time.

You have the right to recognize your power— and use it! Here’s  the kind of real, usable power I’m talking about: you are school smart  and you know something of how the world works and how to use technology  in order to reach hundreds, even thousands, of people with a single  Facebook post or YouTube video or text message — and even with all that  knowledge racked up in your brain you have power you don’t even know  about.

You have the power to start a Revolution — a Revolution where not only your life  gets better, but hundreds or thousands or even millions of people  improve the quality of their lives, too. You can be more than just a  kid or a jock or a nerd or a brain or a cheerleader or whatever label  the world uses to call you now; you can be more than that. You can be a Revolutionary!

Let me tell you about a world I’ve discovered and one you can be part of: When Just Yell Fire took  off and hundreds, then thousands, and millions of people joined my  revolution to put predators and rapists out of commission worldwide, I  was amazed at this unprecedented response to my cause. Because of all  that activity I received hundreds of invitations to meetings around the  country. These meetings are usually centered on an award or scholarship  for community service, but what they are really about is bringing kids  together who are trying to change the world. It’s a way for all of us  young revolutionaries to meet and greet; to get a break from school and  work and fundraisers and catch up with each other — or meet each other  for the very first time.

It’s really amazing to sit in a room with  other kids who have made a difference in the world and talk about  things like cancer cures and eliminating homelessness and poverty and  quitting smoking and getting relief for flood victims. These kids are  just like you and me and they have actually solved these problems in  their own communities. We’re not just talking pie-in-the-sky theories  or warm and fuzzy wannabes; these are Young Revolutionaries Who Rock!

In just the past couple of years I’ve become part of this brave new world and have met some phenomenal people along the way:

  • I met a guy from Canada who was bullied by kids and even bullied by his  TEACHERS when he was growing up because he was different from them. He  started an organization to teach people tolerance. He soon had 300  people working for him and has a million others helping him now — he is  a Revolutionary.
  • I met a high school student from South Carolina who found out about a  school in India without books, without desks and without electricity.  He called companies around the US, and now spends his summers  delivering container loads of supplies to this school and others like  it in India — he is a Revolutionary.
  • One girl figured out how to communicate with autistic kids. She’s  spreading the word, and parents, doctors, and teachers all over the  world are listening — she is a Revolutionary.
  • One girl sent a few CDs and DVDs to the troops overseas. The response  she got was so overwhelming that she started a non-profit organization  to encourage other people to provide more gifts for more soldiers — she  is a Revolutionary.

And I have hundreds of stories just like these; stories of modern revolutionaries who couldn’t wait any longer and decided to fight for their right to a better world.

Kids  are taking on world hunger, speeding up the search for cures to  horrible diseases and standing up for the environment. We are teaching  other kids about the dangers of smoking, the effects of drugs, and the  problem of underage drinking. We are doing what adults can’t, won’t or  just plain don’t. So there are thousands of kids changing the world —  all different colors and shapes and sizes and zip codes — and do you  know what they all have in common?

They all started out in middle school or in high school.  Most weren’t old enough to drive; they had never given a speech or held  a public office; they weren’t the best students or the best athletes;  they were just everyday, normal, average kids. Kids like me; kids like  you. But the other thing they had in common was that they all saw a  problem and decided to do something about it. They went from being kids  to become Young Revolutionaries Who Rock.

Excerpted  from “Young Revolutionaries Who Rock” by Dallas Jessup. Copyright (c)  2009, reprinted with permission from Sutton Hart Press.

Article: Just yell fire: Violence against young women and girls

Techniques, For Women, For StudentsLance MurrayComment

Just Yell Fire™ is taking on a crisis social problem: violence and abuse against young women and girls. The numbers are horrific: 1 in 4 becomes a sexual assault victim, 1 in 3 face dating abuse, and too many encounter random violence, date rape drugs, hate crimes, or traffickers. We believe every girl has the right to live a life free of fear, abuse, or violence and we're fighting back.

Since 2006 Just Yell Fire has grown into a 1.5 million girl revolution across 64 countries as we empower girls to know their rights, to stand up for themselves, to be aware of dangers they face, and to escape violence when trouble finds them. Ladies, watch our free films, learn to be safe and be part of our revolution; then tell your friends and your school to join us too. You have the right to live the life you want on your own terms. Stay safe.

Dallas Jessup Founder and CEO Just Yell Fire, Inc More about Dallas Jessup: www.dallasjessup.com