10 Tips to Keep You Safe in “The Red Zone”

By: TBuzz

Not being able to personally protect your child is a concern for many parents who send their students away to college for the first time. Parents have counseled them about their personal safety and being aware of their surroundings, but have you discussed the Red Zone with your student? Many parents are unaware of The Red Zone, therefore, their students have not been advised about the dangers associated with attending college for the first time. The term Red Zone was coined by Dr. David Lisak, a clinical psychologist who researched rape prevention programs on college campuses and helped to develop ways to prevent sexual violence against women and girls.
The Red Zone, also known as “pre-exposure”, is the time for new college students between orientation until Thanksgiving break.
It is the period when first-year students are becoming acclimated to their new environment and meeting new people, who may become lifelong friends. It is also the time when new students are most vulnerable to becoming victims of sexual assault. Of specific concern, sexual assault numbers are on the rise during this initial period on U.S. college campuses. According to The Center for Women and Families, more than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November and college women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than robbed. This period also coincides with return-to-campus celebrations and Greek Life rushing.
Students are also likely to be exposed to alcohol or drug use, while navigating the freedom from their parents’ curfews and rules. They are less likely to have a group of supportive friends early on to help look out for their well-being. Freshmen students are learning how to navigate parties, schedules, and new relationships. Sometimes through these experiences, they can fall prey to sexual violence. Predators seek out freshmen students because of their lack of experience and willingness to fit into their new environment. According to PAVE (Promoting Awareness/Victim Empowerment), alcohol and drug incapacitated rape accounted for 69% – 72% of rapes reported in college samples. Their study also found that among all undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experienced rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
How can students recognize potentially harmful behaviors? Being aware of circumstances where others deceive or lie to get what they want from freshmen can shows signs of questionable character. People who are manipulative, whether male or female, can set students up for dangerous situations. Be careful about using dating apps and people who only communicate via text. These people often misrepresent themselves. Watch for behaviors by others
Diverse group of College students
that make you feel uncomfortable, uneasy, fearful, anxious, or ashamed. Your intuition or “gut feeling” is your best source of determining if a person is sincere about how they treat you. Pay attention to how they make you feel. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, leave the situation. Students who encourage you to use alcohol or drugs do not have your best interest in mind. Typically, students who mean you harm will attempt to make it easier for them to take advantage of you by encouraging you to drink or partake in drug use so that they can assault you more easily and without resistance.
College students with clipboard

Here are a few college student safety tips for consideration:

1. There is no requirement to drink or partake in using drugs.
2. Never leave any beverage unattended or accept a drink from anyone other than the server
you watched prepare your drink. Date rape drugs have no smell or taste and can cause
you to pass out. Get help immediately if you feel you’ve been drugged.
3. Develop a buddy code with your friends to signal when you feel uncomfortable.
4. Never drink and drive. Designate a trusted driver who hasn’t been drinking to get you
home safely.
5. Do not give any personal information to people you don’t know.
6. First dates should be group dates, or you should meet in a public place. For subsequent
dates, tell friends who you’re with and where you’re going. Check in with your friends
when dating someone new.
7. If attending parties, go with your friends and leave with your friends. Never leave a
friend behind. Always have a plan to get home.
8. Report any behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable to the appropriate personnel.
9. If you are a victim of an assault, report it and seek medical attention immediately.
10. Know how to contact the campus police and the campus health center. Have the
important phone numbers in your cell phone for quick access, should you need

College application
Keep in mind that the person who may attempt to take advantage of you is likely to be someone you have met and not a random stranger. The Red Zone is the time when potential predators are disarming you by pretending to befriend you for the purpose of taking advantage of you. Learn about the safety tools that are allowed on campus and in the classroom. Whatever you are allowed to carry, do it. Better safe than sorry. There are several devices that also provide GPS tracking of your location. These tools are invaluable for new students in a new town who are unfamiliar with their surroundings. If you must deploy this type of personal safety device, your primary contacts will be notified. Some tools for your consideration (if allowed by law) include stun devices, pepper spray, striking tools, whistle, and a flashlight to name a few. Taking a self- defense class may help you to escape a dangerous situation. Know your capabilities!

If a friend is a victim of an assault, offer to assist him or her in any way you can.

1. Never say “I told you so” and never blame the victim.
2. Offer to accompany him or her to the hospital or police station.
3. Encourage your friend to seek the help of a professional counselor.
4. Be kind and compassionate as they navigate the traumatic event.
5. Check on them after the ordeal and continue to offer support.

Student safety is a top priority on college campuses. Understanding the Red Zone and campus
culture will give students an advantage upon their arrival to campus and throughout their
matriculation. College life should be an exciting and rewarding time. Being prepared with the
appropriate information and resources will help to equip students with the tools to keep them
safe on and off campus.

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