College women at risk for sexual assault

A recent study by the Department of Justice estimated that one in four college women will be victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault before graduation.

Vittoria Santini, junior communication studies major said, “I think that’s a part of reality. I’m sure it happens at parties and stuff. It’s a little bit shocking because one in four college students is a lot.”

Shane Lam, assistant director of field operations for Public Safety, said they prioritizes the well-being of students, faculty and employees, especially in sexual harassment cases. In the Public Safety Campus Safety and Traffic Handbook, a section is devoted to sexual harass-ment encouraging victims to report all sexual assaults, including violent and acquaintance rape.

NSU has three Davie police officers who work on campus full time to patrol the residence halls. The university also provides an escort service for students. A Public Safety officer will escort students from anywhere on campus to their car or vice versa.

Lam said the Office of Public Safety also conducts bimonthly that checks of all external lights to ensure no place on campus is dark enough for a predator to attack.

“The parking garage is lit up like a light bulb,” he said. “It is one of the most well lit places on campus.”

Sexual assault victims have the right to have campus personnel cooperate in notifying the proper authorities, to have the assault investigated, and to have access to campus counseling services.

“We encourage victims to report these crimes. A lot of the time, girls won’t report a sexual assault because they think it was their fault, but it’s not. Reporting it is the only way we can catch the people and put them in jail,” said Jim Ewing, director of Public Safety.

Lauren Llorente, freshman biology major, said, “I don’t feel like I will be sexually harassed on campus, especially if it’s only 30 percent guys. I just feel safe and I think everyone feels that way. I went to UF a week ago and I didn’t feel as safe as I do here.”

Despite the measures taken by NSU to protect against the statistic, Lam said that women also need to be proactive in protecting themselves from attacks.

Lam said, “Girls need to be aware and not put themselves in situations where they can be victimized.”

“If you’re at a party, it’s safety in numbers. Most of the assaults are date rapes. If you’re drinking at a bar or at a party, never walk away from your drink. If you’re going to drink, drink responsibly. Don’t drink to the point where you’re not in control of your faculties,” said Ewing.  “If you’re out in public and somebody is trying to drag you off, yell and scream, and try to get someone’s attention.”

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