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updated 12/8/2005 6:18:25 PM ET 2005-12-08T23:18:25

While out on a date
The unfortunate statistic is that 90 percent of rapes occur between people who already knew each other and that approximately half of rapes happen on dates. This is commonly known as "date rape" or "acquaintance rape."

While sexual assault and rape by an attacker is never the victim's fault, there are a few things women can bear in mind:

  • Take your time in getting to know your companion or “date.” Don't spend time alone with someone who makes her feel uneasy or uncomfortable. This means following your  instincts and removing herself from situations that you don't feel good about.
  • Stay with a group of people. Avoid risky areas, such as deserted areas.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol. According to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol, more than 70,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 have been victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
  • Be alert for possible use of “date rape drugs” such as Rohypnol, which is illegal in the United States. Someone can slip it into a drink. It causes drowsiness, a loss of coordination, dizziness and memory loss. Never take drinks from other people and don’t leave your drink unattended.
  • Tell someone you trust your date’s name, destination and planned time of return.
  • Take money for a phone call and taxi fare with you.

More campus safety tips: While walking around campus

  • Survey the campus after dark to see that buildings, walkways, quadrangles and parking lots are adequately secured, lighted and patrolled.
  • Avoid walking alone if possible.
  • Walk with an air of confidence and stay alert.
  • Walk in lighted areas.
  • Keep your hand free, not overloaded.
  • Have your keys ready.
  • If you are being followed: cross the street, scream, run to an occupied residence or store, or flag down a car.

At dorm rooms

  • Doors and windows to your residence hall should be equipped with quality locks. Room doors should have peepholes and deadbolts.
  • Do not loan out your key. Never compromise your safety for a roommate or friend who wants the door left unlocked. Replace locks when a key is lost or stolen.
  • Use caution admitting strangers.
  • Have good lighting around entrances.
  • If you are a woman and live alone or with other women, use only your first initials on your mailbox and, when possible, in phone directories.
  • Report suspicious activity to campus police—or to the police if you live off-campus.

While in your car

  • Keep windows up and doors locked.
  • Park in well-lighted areas and travel on populated, well-lighted streets.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • If you have car trouble, signal for help by raising the hood or tying a white handkerchief to the door handle.

Source: Security on Campus, LiveSecure.org

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