For many of us, the fall is the most exciting time of the year. Students head back to campus and take advantage of all college had to offer. In the midst of back-to-school fun, it is important to stay safe and look out for one another. This is especially true during the first six weeks of school, which is known as the Red Zone.
Studies show that during the Red Zone instances of sexual assault occur at a higher rate than the rest of the year. With so many new faces in a new environment, our sense of awareness of what is happening around us must be heightened. As an organization that is built on sisterhood and support, it is crucial the safety of our sisters is a top priority.
The Red Zone is the perfect time to utilize your campus Women’s Center, a safety app or the Kappa Delta Social Essentials Guide to increase your sisters’ chances of staying safe.
Discuss these tips from the Kappa Delta Social Essentials Guide, written by Aaron Boe of Prevention Culture, with your chapter, your alumnae chapter or your friends as you make plans during the Red Zone and beyond.
- Make an agreement with friends ahead of time that you will keep track of one another and make sure everyone is safe before leaving a party, bar or other social situation. Agree ahead of time with each other that if a person seems too intoxicated or is “out of it,” she will need to go home with one of her sisters, even if she would like to stay or go home with someone she met.
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before going out.
- Always have enough cash for a cab ride (just in case one doesn’t take credit cards) or use a campus safe ride. Stick to plans of going home with specific friends rather than by yourself.
- Utilize “Text me tomorrow,” and “Text her tomorrow,” when meeting new people, especially if you are removing a friend from a potentially unsafe situation. A person you meet at a party or at a bar can text you the next day if they are truly interested in getting to know you. Ending the night with friends, talking about things, and waking up in your own bed is safer, and it can also be a great way to end the night. It can also help to weed out anyone who is not serious about getting to know you as a person. Caution: The fact that a person texts you the next day or continues to show signs of interest after meeting for the first time does not automatically mean that person is 100% trustworthy. Trust takes time to be earned. It only makes sense that people should prove their trustworthiness over time.
- If a friend (or even a person you don’t know) has had too much to drink and needs to go home, it is not enough to put her in a cab or get her an Uber. The right thing to do is for one or more friends to go with her to make sure she gets home and into bed safely. This includes making sure she is not at risk of alcohol poisoning, or of vomiting in her sleep and choking on her own vomit. If there is any doubt at all, call an ambulance for help.
- In our social lives, it’s easy to let down your guard so that a new person you meet can very quickly seem like a friend, and even a potential partner when, in reality, they were technically an adult stranger. We must consider the fact that even when we are surrounded by fellow students in a fun and friendly environment, we really do not know how each person thinks. Some people who seem to be non-threatening may have a mentality that would make them unsafe to others under certain circumstances. It does not take a psychotic stranger to violate another person; all it takes is for a regular person to think in a way that would justify certain behaviors. Even regular people can rationalize their behavior and tell themselves that something is “manly,” “fair game” or “harmless” when, in reality, it is none of those things.
You can find additional resources by visiting www.rainn.org and www.itsonus.org. Kappa Delta is an official partner of the It’s On Us campaign in the fight against sexual assault.