As a 20-year-old female college student, I have learned and been forced to come to terms with the fact that the world can be an incredibly cruel place. As you age, you realize nowhere in this world is 100 percent safe from harm, not even your school campus.
Although Fullerton College doesn’t have much crime, it’s alarming for women to find reports of a forcible sex offense, fondling, domestic violence and sexual assault on or near campus on the Clery Annual Security Report. Although the majority of crimes on campus are burglary, motor vehicle theft and aggravated assault, crimes against women are still unsettling.
Thirty-five percent of women over the globe have experienced physical or sexual violence from either a partner or non-partner at some point in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Thirty-five percent sounds alarming, doesn’t it?
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence included in a state-by-state report that 40 percent of California women experience physical intimate partner violence in their lifetime. If that isn’t scary enough, they also reported that a forcible rape happens every 56 minutes in California.
The most at-risk age group for these occurrences are those of college age (18-24 years old).
The statistics are daunting…and sickening.
When you discover these facts as a young woman, it’s easy to become paranoid, knowing a woman is assaulted or beaten every nine seconds in the United States as you hurriedly walk to your car late at night tightly clutching your keys.
Luckily, campus safety is available 24/7 at FC.
Campus safety not only provides students with general safety and protection, but also provides escort services for both students and staff who feel uneasy about their late walk to their car. They are also able to write incident reports of criminal activity or anything unusual happening on campus.
Campus safety is essential to have a safe environment for all students. Without enforced campus safety or an officer present at all times of the day, a situation could go awry at any time.
In addition to campus safety, there are emergency phones located throughout the campus.
Women should travel in pairs or groups, stay on pedestrian paths, be aware of their surroundings at all times (this means do not keep your eyes glued to your phone, it attracts more predators knowing someone isn’t paying attention), park in well-lit areas and carry some sort of personal safety device, such as pepper spray or a keychain that doubles as a personal security alarm.
Parking lots are the most dangerous places for women. The best thing to do once you get in your car is to drive. Lock the doors and roll your windows up when you get in.
If there is anything suspicious or peculiar happening on campus or nearby, campus safety should be called immediately to be reported and investigated. Trust your gut instinct.
In a survey of 30 students, both men and women, everyone said they felt mostly safe on campus. Where it varied between the sexes was the factor of what time of the day it was. Out of the 15 women surveyed, nearly every single one mentioned that their level of comfort is negatively impacted once it’s dark out. Nearly all 15 men had no problem with it.
Student Megan Marmol will sometimes feel safe on campus while other days, she is on edge. Marmol gets out of class at 6:30 p.m. and nervously awaits her ride once the sun falls. In order to protect herself, her father insisted on buying pepper spray for her at the bookstore.
“I’m probably that friend who’s more afraid… my friends don’t think it’s going to happen to them, but it can,” Marmol said.
While some men made jokes about what would make them feel like they were in harm’s way at school, others took on a more serious tone in explaining what they worry about from time-to-time.
Student Gabriel Maldonado said he feels relatively safe on campus. Growing up in South-Central Los Angeles, he is more cautious and aware of his surroundings. Maldonado has night classes and sometimes wonders if he’ll get robbed while waiting for the bus or even get hit by a car while walking on campus. He also acknowledged the differences between what men and women worry about.
“Anything can happen,” Maldonado said.
Women are constantly looking over their shoulders to ensure they aren’t being followed or have 911 at the ready as they walk to their car. Men raise their eyebrows and wonder what the fuss is all about.
So boys, you might want to reconsider calling us “paranoid.” Considering the startling figures, we are justifiably vigilant.
Campus safety can be contacted at (714) 992-7777 in case of an emergency.