Staying safe when the campus goes dark

Rachael Garcia

At least one in four college women will be the victims of a sexual assault during her academic career. Yet, in the last two years, Fullerton College campus safety reported one forcible sexual offense and five reports of aggravated assault in 2011.

While the crime rates are low at Fullerton College, everyone, especially women should be prepared for the unexpected.

Los Angeles County Sheriff, Mayra Samarin has some suggestions for female students on college campuses.

“Always be aware of your surroundings, carry pepper spray, park in lit areas, and have a walking companion if your class gets out after dark,” said Samarin

Ebeny Reyes, a sophomore at Fullerton College said, “I never walk alone, I always walk with a friend to my car.”

Students, who park on the streets and not on campus, should walk with classmates or friends to their cars after night classes.

“Don’t get distracted by cell phone calls, texting or listening to music, “said Samarin, “and if you’re walking alone have your keys out and ready.”

Assaults on campus are not the only concern for women in college; parties can cause safety issues for women as well.

“Always travel with friends when going to a party or social event and always pour your own alcoholic drink,” said Samarin

A student at Fullerton College, Rosa Nelson, explains the newest technology among college students to prevent assaults.

“There is an app called Circle of 6, it’s a free app that people can download. It’s more for if you’re at a party, but you can use it for school settings too. It lets you choose six people you trust the most and you can have the app call or text your circle,” Nelson said.

The Circle of 6 uses simple icons like a car icon, where the user can push the icon and a SMS message will be ready to send that reads, “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely.” It will send a map using GPS to show your circle exactly where you are.

If the app doesn’t interest you, tell others where you are going and when you expect to return.

“Women should take a self defense class before starting college,” said George Reynoso, a parent of two women in college. “It will better prepare women for any kind of physical attack.”

At the University of California, Merced all new students are required to participate in a program called the Violence Protection Program, which educates them on how to anticipate problems, like a woman being slipped a date rape drug. The director of the program gives the students scripts to safely step in and speak up.

To find out more about the Circle of Six go to