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The Antelope

Take steps to keep yourself safe on campus

UNK Louie Loper

According to Buffalo County Court records, a UNK freshman was jailed for allegedly raping a 16-year-old on campus Oct. 18. The UNK student was charged with felony first degree sexual assault, along with misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor and misdemeanor procuring alcohol for a minor.

Sexual assault can occur during an evening stroll, in parked vehicles, in residence halls and in the dorm rooms of colleges everywhere. Sexual assault has no boundaries, but there are precautions college students can take to avoid such instances. 

It is not safe to walk about campus with earbuds in or immersed in a cell phone. No one can be fully aware of their surroundings while listening to music or messaging friends on social media. Students need to be aware of the type of situations they are in. 

Refrain from walking or running alone at night. If being out at night is unavoidable, travel under the brightened view of streetlights and video cameras. It is also beneficial to travel in groups. Two, three or four heads are better than one, when it comes to outnumbering an attacker. 

Communicate with a friend or a roommate. This does not mean friends should parent each other, but it does not hurt to show concern. Students can ask each other where they are and share their own location. If they don’t get a response after a while, there may be reason to worry. 

This is where bystander intervention is needed. 

The New York State Department of Health defines bystander intervention as “the act of feeling empowered and equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively assist in the prevention of sexual violence.” In “Stop Sexual Violence: A Sexual Violence Bystander Intervention Toolkit,” the need to involve the youth and adult men and women is expressed. 

Sharing and listening to the experiences of others is also emphasized. 

When a sexist comment is made, a bystander can explain why it is false. If a friend is being led away from a group, the bystander can help steer them toward a safer atmosphere. 

Education programs based on fostering a positive support system among peers and spreading awareness of sexual harassment are also important, such as the Bringing in the Bystander movement. UNK has resources available for victims of sexual assault, which are listed below.

Gender and Sexuality Resource Center:

UNK Student Health: (308)865-8218

UNK Counseling: (308)865-8248 

The S.A.F.E. Center: (308)237-2599

Students should utilize the faculty members who are trained to handle these situations, but we as students also need to form a system of support. Stay safe out there and look out for each other. 

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