How Safe Is Your Daughter In College?

Millions of parents will be sending their daughters off to college for the first time in the early fall. In many respects it’s a traumatic experience for parents because it’s the first time their “little girl” will be on her own and away from home. For the daughter it is a time filled with eager anticipation. But for both parents and daughter, there is one thing they will soon find out. College campuses are not safe places. And it is not just us that is saying this. Time magazine in the May, 2014 issue called America’s campuses “hazardous places for young women,” particularly those who are 18 or 19 years old, just beginning their college experience.

The facts about assaults on college campuses are hard to ignore. They come from sources such as the Justice Department and other law enforcement agencies. They show consistently that close to 20-25% of all college age women will be assaulted during their four years at an institution of higher learning.

The same statistics show that the assailant is known to the victim in close to 90% of the cases. How can that be? In a closed environment such as a college campus, victims and assailants are likely to be at least classmates if not sharing the same living accommodations by living on the same floor or in the same dorm building.

That creates an uncomfortable situation for the victim.

In the early 1990s Congress passed theClery Act which requires all colleges and universities that receive government support to report all criminal activity on their campuses annually.

Additionally it requires universities to:

  1. “Publish an Annual Security Report (ASR) by October 1.
  2. Have a public crime log.
  3. Disclose crime statistics for incidents that occur within defined geography.
  4. Report on crimes in seven major categories.
  5. Issue timely warnings about Clery Act crimes.
  6. Devise an emergency response, notification and testing policy.
  7. Compile and publish an annual fire safety report.
  8. Enact policies and procedures to handle reports of missing students.”

This, in theory, would give parents an opportunity to see and compare these institutions to pick the safest place for their daughters. Unfortunately, most universities find a way to bypass the intent of the law. The most glaring and most famous example of this was the case some years ago of an assistant football coach at Penn State University who was convicted of molestation of several students. That incident never showed up in their Clery report.

This recent blog post on college campus assaults discussed statistics that showed:

  • “Close to 70% of all victims are drugged, drunk, or otherwise incapacitated.
  • Less than 10% of victims actually report the crime to anyone.
  • Only 2% of the victims actually report it to law enforcement.”
Student Using Defensive Spray
Student Using Defensive Spray

Parents would be wise to have a heart-to-heart sitdown talk with their young daughter before she goes off to college to make her aware of some of these statistics. “Forewarned is forearmed.” If your daughter is made aware of these potential problems ahead of time, she may want to take a self-defense course to learn the basics of self-defense and/or arm herself with a self-defense pepper spray such as hes on keychains.

Feedback on these posts is appreciated. Please share your experience. We want to hear your thoughts.