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Gun violence is at an all time high in the United States, and college students today have more reasons to worry about their safety than perhaps any other generation preceding them… but most college students also have to worry about acts of sexual violence such as rape and molestation.

Acts of sexual violence in the United States are a lot more common than many would like to believe… especially in colleges. According to a report by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), 11.2% of students experience sexual assault or rape during their college years. This alarming statistic includes both graduate and undergraduate students and is not limited to just women, as men are also susceptible to such acts of violence. Moreover, 4.2% of students are stalked when they start college. Many acts of sexual violence go unreported, so the actual numbers are likely even worse.

According to womenshealth.gov, one in five women in college experiences sexual assault.

Sexual violence or abusive behavior is always the responsibility of the person who is violent or abusive. However, there are steps you can take in order to be safer around others and also help to keep others safe from potential perpetrators:

  • Get to know someone well before spending time alone with him or her
  • Go to parties with friends, not alone
  • Meet first dates or new people in a public place
  • Listen to your ‘gut feelings’ when assessing the trustworthiness of a person
  • Be aware of your alcohol or drug intake
  • Don’t let your drink out of your site
  • Get help right away if you feel drunk but haven’t had a drink
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Know your resources and where you can get help
  • Have a ‘how to get home’ plan

Visit www.rainn.org or call 800-656-HOPE (4673) if you’re looking for support, information or advice regarding sexual violence.

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