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BacktoCampus: Sexual Assault Awareness

College. It’s supposed to be the best four (or more) years of your life, right? It’s supposed to be filled with drunken nights you won’t remember. Hook ups (safe sex of course). And getting your degree of course. But what about the time between your first and last day? What about the time between day one and Thanksgiving break? The University of Tennessee, Knoxville refers to this time as the Red Zone. It described a time period, during the fall semester, where students are more at risk for sexual assault. See more info about the Red Zone here.

Sexual assault is definitely a thing. Let’s start with the basics.

First, let’s talk consent. According to the University of Tennessee, consent is “an active agreement to participate in Sexual Contact or Sexual Penetration. An active agreement is words and/or conduct that communicate a person’s willingness to participate in Sexual Contact or Sexual Penetration.”

In short, if it’s not a firm and excited yes, it’s a no. If someone is intoxicated, it’s a not! Late night hang outs don’t equate to a yes either. Consent should be received before and during sexual intercourse. Don’t be afraid to check in with your partner during the do. This goes for both/all parties involved.

20% of female, student sexual assault victims report to the police

Although there is no way to predict when a person may/not be sexually assaulted, there are some precautions that can be taken. Here are 5 tips for incoming freshman and returning upperclassmen.

  • Do not walk alone, especially at night. This applies to leaving the library late. Leaving/going to a party. Or simply visiting a friend at his/her/their dorm.
  • Carry protection. This can be mace, a pocketknife (where permitted) or a set of keys. Check out stores on Amazon or Etsy to find a set that works for you.
  • Call a friend. If you absolutely have to walk alone, call a friend to stay on the line with you.
  • Share your location with trusted friends/family. In the unfortunate event that something happens to you, someone knows your previous location. I share my location with my cousin, my boyfriend, and another trusted friend. I like to have this feature because the future is uncertain.
  • Add emergency contacts to your Medical ID (iPhone). I am not sure if Android users have a similar feature. But if they do, most definitely utilize it. You are able to input more than just emergency contacts. Like pertinent medical history and/or current medications.

In the event that you or someone you know is sexually assaulted, know that it’s not your fault. If your campus has a psychologist, psychiatrist, or any sort of counseling center, please use it.

Remember to stay safe and follow your intuition about shady situations.

Here are some additional resources:

National Organization on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC)

National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA)

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