Given the stress of college, it's understandable that students need to let loose—but if you choose to indulge in alcohol, it's important to know about health and safety risks. Each year, more than half a million students are assaulted by another student who's under the influence of alcohol.* One in four students that engaged in unprotected sex while under the influence say they could not remember giving consent.*
No victim is at fault for being assaulted, but unfortunately it still happens. Here are some quick safety tips to reduce your risk:
- Monitor your drink
Don't know where your drink came from, or the person who gave it to you? Toss it! The only person grabbing drinks for you should be you or a trusted friend. Try to drink out of a bottle instead of a wide-rimmed glass when possible.
- Stick with your group
If you arrive at the party together, agree that you'll all leave together. This way, not only will you be safer walking or getting a cab home, but you'll also have people checking to make sure you're safe at the end of the night.
- Know your body
Don't feel pressured to drink more than you can handle or are comfortable with. It can help to hang onto your empty glass or beer bottle—this way, people likely won't notice you're not drinking, and they won't pressure you to.
- Bring a charged phone
Make sure your phone is fully charged before taking off for the night. You'll want to document your fun with Snapchats and group pictures; you won't want to have a drained battery in an emergency scenario.
- Carry a personal safety tool
Whether it's a Campus Safety Pepper Gel or keychain personal security alarm—or, better yet, both!—make sure you have a way to defend yourself and call for attention in a worst-case scenario.
- Look out for one another
Keep an eye on your friends and peers. Witnesses play a significant role in preventing and stopping assault. If you see someone who looks uncomfortable, intervene and try to separate them from whoever is making them feel unsafe (as long as you are not jeopardizing your own safety).
- Plan a sober ride home
Fortunately, we live in a world with an array of rideshare apps and cab services. Take advantage of them... especially late at night, when walking and public transportation come with a higher safety risk. Of course, always stay alert in the car with a stranger... have your cell phone, pepper gel and personal alarm at the ready. If you're taking a cab, take a picture of the cab number posted in the back of the cab, and send it to someone you trust nearby.