Sexual Assault, Healing & Joe Biden

Sexual Assault, Healing & Joe Biden

I love Joe Biden. And I am not really political. He has been a huge part of the “End Sexual Assaults on Campuses” revolution. I admire him for his stand and for what he’s been through personally while serving his country for most of his life. He lost his wife and nearly his children from a car accident before he was sworn into office years ago. And he recently lost one of his sons to brain cancer. And still, he trudges on, speaking passionately about making college campuses safer and transforming the rape culture that influences our society. And I applaud the investigation teams for releasing the colleges who are on the list for violating Title 9 issues and for not handling sexual assault cases correctly. These are all huge steps forward. And I hope and pray that they are making a difference. The average assault victim is severely affected for at least a few years and usually for the rest of their lives in some capacity. Not to mention the family and friends who are also affected. It is painful to watch someone you love go through being violated, feeling the shame, depression, anxiety, lack of confidence and the post-traumatic stress syndrome. I read in an article that one school was very slow to move, for fear that their reputation would be damaged. That is a huge disconnect. The point of higher education is to help students reach their highest potential and go out and help change the world. Ok, and for many students, they just want to graduate and be able to get a good job in...
Safety on Campus

Safety on Campus

The most important advice I can share about safety on campus is to stay AWAKE & AWARE. So many students have a laid-back attitude about safety until something happens on campus. And students get into trouble when they become complacent and comfortable. Parents with kids leaving for college: Please take the time to have the tough conversation with your kid before they attend school. The following safety on campus guidelines can reduce the chances of someone becoming a victim of sexual assault, theft, or another common campus crime. SELF PROTECTION VS. SELF-DEFENSE “Self-protection is what allows you to prevent, identify and avoid violence. Self-defense is what you do when this isn’t sufficient or enough - the situation you are in suddenly changes, your assailant has managed to disguise the actions and behaviors that they need to engage in before assaulting you etc.” (SEPS) CAMPUS SAFETY TIPS We’re polling on social media to create awareness for young people on college campuses. Want to see the results of those polls? Please join the conversation and participate on Facebook. One of the best self-defense tips is contained in the acronym GFTG. What does GFTG stand for? If you feel unsafe walking through a dark parking lot at night, what is the first thing you should do? What should you do if an assailant grabs your hair? Which of the following is one of the most vulnerable places on the body? What’s the best defense if someone grabs you from...
Talking About the Tough Stuff

Talking About the Tough Stuff

Continuing the Conversations Going away to college is a huge transition. It’s a huge stressor. No matter how much freedom you’ve given your teen, there’s a huge leap between living at home and moving away and living on your own. The sudden freedom, access to alcohol and drugs, pressure of social media and stress— it’s a lot to deal with. So I help families learn how to talk to their teens about the tough stuff and get their kids to start listening, using laughter, and knowledge gained through personal experience, to provide conversation starting points. We need to wake up and make sure our teens know that they need to be aware of their surroundings. Hopefully, you laid the groundwork for this talk when your teen was younger, and began stressing the importance of personal boundaries. For example; no one else should ever touch your private parts. Hopefully, there were also conversations about stranger-danger, and about what kinds of physical touching were okay and what types were inappropriate – and about what to do if someone ever did touch them inappropriately. These are not always the most fun conversations, but they are necessary. Even if you feel like you haven’t had enough talks of this kind, it’s not too late to coach your teen to have stronger, or better, personal boundaries. This is a conversation that needs to start BEFORE your college freshman leaves for orientation. The talk about sexual assault on college campuses is just like the drug and alcohol talks that hopefully began a while ago and that you continue to have. These are serious topics with...
Into the Red Zone

Into the Red Zone

Pulling Back the Curtain on the Red Zone I’ve heard the phrase “The Red Zone” used to refer to the period of time between the beginning of the fall semester and Thanksgiving since I first began speaking on campuses and at conferences—but why is it called the Red Zone? Because there are more sexual assaults on U.S. college campuses during this time than at any other time during the school year. The 2007 Campus Sexual Assault Study discovered that more than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November. As school starts students are meeting new people, trying to fit in, and exploring new boundaries. Students may be new to the city, adjusting to a new environment and getting acclimated… with less parental supervision and increased independence, students may begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol. I’ve been speaking on college campuses and at National College Conferences since 2008. Every person I’ve met and worked with loves college students. Many of them start their days at 9 in the morning and stay on campus for activities until 9 or 10 at night, simply because it’s really rewarding work to help make a difference with young people. Of course people working at colleges care about students’ safety. I believe that 100%. But the majority of staff who work on college campuses did NOT go into criminal justice, which makes the issue of sexual assault on campuses incredibly challenging. It’s not their area of expertise. I firmly believe in the power of prevention and awareness. That’s why I am pulling back the curtain on “The Red Zone”....
To The Parents of College-Bound Kids

To The Parents of College-Bound Kids

What I Wish I Knew Before I Left For College Going away to college is HUGE. It’s rated one of the top life-changing challenges that we go through, right up there with divorce, and the death of a spouse. It is THE most challenging transition for college-bound kids, since they usually have not married or divorced yet. And what do we focus on when preparing them? Academics. That seems obvious, right? It’s a competitive world and they need to learn how to study, and write papers on a whole new level. And yet, there are some things even MORE important than grades, tests, and study habits. Like safety. And responsibility. And accountability. I don’t remember knowing what those words really meant before I went off to my freshman year. Your 17- or 18-year-old is dying to get away from you and have “freedom”. They may not listen to you anymore. You may have turned into the Charlie Brown teacher to them years ago: blah blah…blah blah blah blah blah… So how the heck are you going to get them to listen to YOU when you try to talk to them about the tough topics like sex in “college,” drinking responsibly, the dangers of legal and illegal drugs, and sexual predators? How will you know you are getting through to them? You don’t know and you can’t. They do not want to talk to you about this stuff and deep down, you don’t really want to talk to them about this stuff, either. Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby Let’s face it—with all due respect, most of us are uncomfortable talking...
My View on ‘The Hunting Ground’

My View on ‘The Hunting Ground’

I recently watched the CNN documentary, The Hunting Ground, which is about sexual assault on college campuses. I have mixed emotions about the film. I am committed to raising awareness about this issue, which is the main topic that I speak about on campuses all over North America. So I was relieved that sexual assault on campuses is in the spotlight and continues to get press coverage. I was moved by the courage of the victims and the former deans, staff, and faculty who risked their jobs and their reputations in order to stand up for the assault survivors. It takes a lot of guts to stand up to an institution and it takes guts to put yourself on film. I lost my innocence when I was 12, so I can’t relate to being a virgin in college. But I respect that some men and women are, and that many come to college with very innocent and naive views of the world. To hear one young woman’s story of how she was tricked by a male friend into coming over to a “party” that turned out to just be a set up, was devastating. As she told her story, I kept thinking: how can we set these young women up better? And men, because it happens to men too, they just report it even less. Why isn’t personal safety a required course in high school? Why aren’t we hosting numerous trainings and self-defense sessions throughout orientations and the first semester or year? Sexual assault is like addiction. No one wants to talk about it, but it affects most of...