Back to School: Safety Tips for College-Bound Kids
Aug 13, 2019
Heading off to college can be exciting and stressful for both parents and kids. There are a lot of things to consider like dorm assignments, navigating campus, student IDs and move-in dates. There are safety concerns, as well. What most parents don’t know is that back-to-school is the beginning of what is called the “Red Zone,” which is a six-week timeframe where students, particularly first-year students, are more likely to experience sexual assault on campus.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), more than 50 percent of campus sexual assaults occur between August and November. Additionally, females between ages 18 and 24 are at the highest risk of intimate partner violence.
What can be done to help prevent sexual and relationship violence? In one word – education. Sexual health information is important in changing our culture.
Consent means that all parties involved give permission for sexual acts, and that all parties are able to consent without intimidation, force or diminished mental capacity. Understanding the meaning and importance of consent is vital for both males and females.
A bystander is someone who witnesses or becomes aware of an act of sexual or relationship violence, but isn’t directly involved in the behavior. Bystanders can safely intervene in these uncomfortable situations. Where’s The Line? gives bystanders a confidential and anonymous resource to safely and appropriately help victims.
Believe someone who says they have been a victim of sexual assault or intimate partner violence. Everyone has a role to play in reducing sexual assault. KnowYourIX.org provides tips on how to support a victim.
It is important that middle and high school students receive comprehensive sexual health information, too. This includes information on setting boundaries, understanding what makes up a healthy or unhealthy relationship and naming all forms of relationship abuse.
In addition to teaching students, parents and staff about this topic, there are federal laws in place on campuses (educational institutions that receive federal funding) to help stop sexual and relationship violence, including sexual harassment and stalking. These laws are Title IX and the Clery Act.
Visit these resources for more information on how you can help stop sexual assault.
Lynn Rosenthal is the president of The Center for Family Safety and Healing (TCFSH), which takes an integrated team approach to breaking the cycle of family violence and child abuse.
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