April is Sexual Awareness Month. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in three women and one in four men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes. It is important to remember that sexual assault is never the fault of the victim. NMSU’s Emergency Planning Committee wants you to know there are steps that you can take to stay safe in risky situations.
- Know your alcohol limits and keep an eye on your drunk. According to research, more than half of sexual assaults committed against college students involve alcohol. An increasing number of sexual assaults occur when the perpetrator slips drugs into their victims’ drinks.
- Stay with your friends. Attend parties and other social gatherings with people you trust. Look out for each other and make sure you all get home safely.
- Know your resources. Locate resources such as the Aggie Health and Wellness Center, NMSU Police Department and , so you know who to contact if you or your friends need help.
- Be careful about what you post on social media. You may want to adjust your privacy settings so only people you know personally can see what you post. Many social media sites automatically post your location. Consider turning this function off.
- Have a Plan B. If your phone dies, do you have a few numbers memorized? Do you have cash on you in case you can’t use a credit or debit card? Do you have your address memorized?
- Trust your gut. If something about a person or location feels wrong, leave immediately. You might be subconsciously processing body language or other danger indicators without realizing it.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Know your neighborhood and don’t walk at night and try not to walk alone. Stay on the sidewalk near the curb and stay away from bushes or doorways where someone may hide.
- Walk confidently, directly and at a steady pace. Don’t stop to talk to strangers.
- Don’t be distracted. If wearing earbuds, don’t have both in your ears at the same time. It inhibits your ability to hear cars, sirens and potential attackers.
- Check your car. Park in well-lit places and lock your doors. Before entering your vehicle, check for offenders hiding in the back seat or on the floor.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you’re expected to return so police can be notified as quickly as possible if there is a problem.
- If harassed or assaulted, scream and attempt to run for safety. Call 911.
- Report any suspicious activity or person immediately to police.
NMSU’s Wellness, Alcohol, Violence Education program is a risk-reduction and prevention program that educates the campus community on issues of personal safety and well-being. Learn more at https://wave.nmsu.edu/.
Additional information is available on NMSU’s Stay Safe website.