Sexual Assault at College
If I only had 60-minutes to teach someone how to protect themselves, most of that effort would go into how to predict, identify and prevent violence, rather than physical solutions – firearms advocates may suggest that this time would be better spent learning how to shoot; however I would argue that even if technical proficiency could be acquired in this short time frame, along with a tactical and legal understanding of the “how and when”, to use a firearm, if the individual wasn’t able first to identify and recognize a threat, it matters little what tools they are equipped with.
U.S. college women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted, than any other age group, and women who attend college are more likely to be raped than those who don’t; there is a societal problem when trying to improve your educational standing, increases your chances of being violently/sexually assaulted – and this is to some degree a structural issue of gender inequality, which needs to be addressed. So, when we are conducting campus safety seminars, without being overly-dramatic, we are talking to a potentially “at risk” population.
It is hard to convey the traumatic effects of being raped without the possibility of causing trauma yourself, however listing some of the effects of trauma, such as anxiety, depression, the inability to sleep and/or concentrate/focus, etc., often fails to communicate the devastating consequences of rape/sexual assault. Many women who have dropped out of college as a result of being assaulted, who have been burdened by student debt, and without a university degree, are denied better employment opportunities and so earn less, etc. When survivors of rape do stay on to finish their studies they often find that their GPA’s (not surprisingly) have dropped, after the assault. It’s not that I think young women don’t appreciate the emotional and psychological costs of being raped, but rather that the financial costs are often far more tangible.
Going to university/college is a time when you look forward to fulfilling dreams and aspirations, and understanding how a sexual assailant could take these away from you, highlights one of the long-term consequences of rape/sexual assault – it also demonstrates that what to the rapist is but a moment in time is a life-changing experience for the victim, and should never be discounted as simply “20 minutes of action”.
One of the biggest difficulties I have when talking to young women about to go to college, or who are in their first few months on campus, is that your dorm room, is not akin to your bedroom at home, and the halls of residence are not comparable to your home i.e. you have not simply transferred from one location to another, with everything else staying the same. At home, you can (usually) trust those you live with not to steal your things and/or cause you harm; and this may not be the case on campus, e.g. there may be students who will steal your textbooks given the opportunity, despite living in the same halls as you. There is a real danger of thinking that everybody coming to a university, shares the same background, moral compass, and aspirations as yourself, and so trust them as you would trust yourself, etc. however the truth is, this is not the case, you are living in a very mixed environment, that is vastly different from your home.
We are offering this 2 hour free seminar (taught by women) is a great opportunity to get across as much relevant and practical information as we can. However if we had a few years beforehand we would are able to teach so much more. If you are a parent with a 15 or 18-year old, or younger, please think about starting training soon. Even those young women who have been training with us for a number of years we advise to take this seminar, as it focuses on a specific time of life, in a specific environment, which has its own threats and dangers.
It will be held on Saturday August 25th, 2018 from 2pm to 4pm
If you live in South Florida – or know somebody who does – and are off to college/university this Fall, you can sign up for this seminar by clicking below.