Whether you are leaving an abusive relationship or currently in one, staying safe when you are living with your parents can look very different from staying safe in college surrounded by your peers. It can be overwhelming to let what feels like complete strangers know about your situation, but it is more important that you do what you can to keep yourself safe, including letting resident advisors, dorm security, roommates or anyone else in your new collegiate life know. There are a lot of resources available on many campuses that you can look into. Here are some common ones:
- Campus Safety classes– We know that you may feel like you will already know a lot of this, but these classes can offer safety tips tailored for your new community. Gyms, campus police or the health center may offer something like this. Classes like these are common in the beginning of the semester, so do a little research into when something similar on your campus is.
- Facts, Maps and Everything in Between– Many police agencies publish data one where crimes are most likely to happen, what the most common circumstances are, and where the crime-free areas are. Take advantage of these when you are picking out your next study spot, new apartment or jogging route.
- Safe Riding– A lot of campuses have programs where an officer or fellow student will escort you back to your place if you are walking home alone. Also, many colleges offer a similar program to keep the more enthusiastic partiers from getting behind the wheel. There is no reason that any student (even the one throwing an enthusiastic study party at the library) can’t take advantage.
- Dorm security– Those people at the front desk of your dorm are not just there to let you in when your roomie locks you out. They may also be able to help keep you safe by making sure no one not authorized enters or specifically making sure that your abusive partner is not let in to your dorm.
- RAs– This person or people may also be able to help keep your abusive partner from entering your dorm or serve as a mentor for you. Many campuses educate RAs about the different resources on campus, so they may also be able to help you locate the best ones for you.
- Your sorority, fraternity or student organization– Bringing up your situation at your next chapter meeting can help your brothers or sisters to keep you safe. Be sure to let them know how you want them to help. Texting your abusive ex how awful they are? Not helpful. Not checking you in on Facebook or Foursquare? Helpful.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for resource cards, usually handed out at the beginning of the year, that offer a pocket-sized list of campus safety resources. If you need to safety plan for your new life in college, chat or call us and we can help you figure out the best ways for you to stay safe.
What do you think? What else does your college do to keep students safe?
*Photo courtesy of Parker Michael Knight