Unfortunately, sexual assault and other violent crimes are prevalent on college campuses across the country. This article is not meant to scare anybody, but to provide you with some tips that hopefully will make you feel more safe the next time you are walking back from the library late at night, or simply walking in the parking lot of a store after dark.
1. Let your roommate, friends or family know where you are.
If you are coming back from a party or from studying at the library, let your roommate, family, boyfriend, or any other friend know what time you think you'll be arriving back home. That way, if you do not return a reasonable amount of time after your estimated arrival, they can better assess the situation and start to ask around to see if anyone has seen you or go look for you.
2. FaceTime somebody if you're feeling unsafe.
If you are on FaceTime with a friend, it feels as though someone is walking with you. If something does happen to you, they are more likely to see someone come up behind you or see the phone drop than if you were just talking on the phone. When using this method, DO NOT USE HEADPHONES. Using headphones makes you more vulnerable to an attack. Make sure to still be aware of your surroundings by scanning the area rather than solely focusing on your phone.
3. Carry your keys and phone in your hand.
If a potential attacker spots your backpack or purse, this may be the first thing he goes for. He might be more interested in the cash in your purse than he is in you. If this happens you can throw your purse or backpack away from you and get away with the things you really need: a phone to call the police and a friend, and keys to get into your car or dorm/apartment/house.
4. Go for the eyes, nose, groin or throat.
These are probably the most painful spots to hit on an attacker. If you choose to go for the eyes, use both thumbs to gouge both eyes. If you choose to go for the groin, a hard kick to the groin will impair someone temporarily. If you choose to go for the throat, a "karate chop" to the throat will cause the attacker to cough, choke, and even impair breathing. Any of these will buy you some time to get away.
5. Lock your car.
If you have to park in a parking lot or garage before walking to your destination, do not sit in your car for an extended amount of time. This can give an attacker time to spot you and follow you when you get out of the car. If you must sit in the car to make a quick phone call or gather your stuff, lock the doors and scan the area before getting out of the car. This may be obvious, but make sure to lock your car doors after getting out of the car as well. This prevents valuables from being stolen, but also prevents an unwanted visitor from being in the car waiting for you when you return.
Again, these safety tips are not meant to scare you, but hopefully give you some peace of mind the next time you have to walk home alone at night.