This January, hundreds of thousands of students will head back to campus after the Christmas break. Between lectures, parties and sporting events, it is easy to forget that college women are one of the easiest targets for crime and sexual assault. Since most Kenyan colleges are yet to develop clear safety frameworks, following these tips could improve your personal safety on campus. Trust me, you will still have an amazing college experience.
There is Power in Numbers
While this might sound cliche, it is always safer to be with a group when walking around campus and the surrounding neighborhood at night or in the early morning.
Students walking alone are easy targets for crimes of opportunity. Stay safe and get someone to walk you to and from your hostel, library or the local shopping center if you must be out late or early in the morning.
Use the Amenities Provided by the School
Every college campus has a security office and you should familiarize yourself with its locations and programs it offers. Additionally, if you college has a campus map, download it and make use of the suggested safety routes.
Make use of the emergency telephone numbers and systems on your campus at all time. You need to be prepared all the time and therefore downloading a safety app to your mobile phone would also come in handy.
Invest in Self-defense Items
Apart from the safety app, it is always a good idea to have pepper spray on hand even if you are out in a group. Pepper spray comes in all shapes and sizes and can be carried in your pocket, purse, hand or on a key ring.
If you are out walking, always have your pepper spray within easy reach. In fact, it is advisable to test it out (away from innocent bystanders) after you purchase it to make sure that the canister works well.
Don’t lower your guard, Be Aware
Checking out your Facebook, Twitter or listening to music while walking can greatly interfere with your concentration. This will effectively lower your guard and sense of awareness.
Avoid possibly dangerous situations by turning down the volume of your music, avoiding checking your social media while out alone. Stay aware of your surroundings and keep your fancy electronics out of sight as much as possible.
Join the Campus Safety Club
The Campus Lady Magazine is working to establish Campus Safety Club for all college students around Kenya to provide non-confrontational education and information to the college and the community regarding the importance of campus safety. To Join the club, click here. Additionally, the club aims to provide community outreach to students at risk of assault and abuse.
Other objectives of the club include providing referral information for prevention, abuse and services. The club also aim to promote healthy and safe activities among students. Lastly, the club will provide students activities, workshops and conferences aimed at promoting campus safety.
Know your Limits
Sexual Assault is one of the most prevalent crime across college campuses in Kenya. 50% of college students have reported having encountered sexual assault while on campus. This has negatively impacted on the perception of campuses as safe havens for learning.
College-aged students often tend to go overboard when drinking at bars or parties. It’s important to know your limits and to have friends who will watch out for you if you happen to over-imbibe. If you are out and the rest of your group is calling it a night, you should too. Do not allow yourself to be put in a possibly dangerous situation, and never feel guilty for saying no and excusing yourself from anything that makes you uncomfortable.