Everyone can and should take precautions to prevent victimization. This includes increasing your knowledge of potentially dangerous situations, avoiding them when possible, and being prepared to deal with them as they are recognized. Some suggestions for improving personal safety are:
• Make sure hallways, garages and grounds are lighted. Have a key ready to open doors.
• Leave a spare key with a friend rather than leaving it under the doormat or over the door.
• Lock windows and doors that are easily accessible. Pull shades or curtains after dark so it is not as easy to advertise that no one else is home.
• List only last name and initials on the mailbox and door and in phone book.
• Do not give out information or make appointments with strangers over the phone.
• Do not admit strangers to your home. If an unexpected person approaches your door, determine identification before opening the door.
At The Office
The office environment is unique. Each department, depending upon working habits, public commitments and style of operation, will differ. A safety system can be developed that will complement the particular environment in which you work. The University Police should be contacted as a resource for information and assistance in the design of a personal protection program for your office.
In The Car
• Park in well-lit areas.
• Walk back to your car with key ready.
• Check the back seat before getting into your car and make sure no one is hiding.
• Keep doors locked at all times.
• If the car breaks down, raise the hood, put on the emergency lights, return to your car, and lock the doors. Wait for someone to stop and offer help; stay in your locked car and ask them to call the police or a tow service.
• Avoid hitchhiking due to the high risks involved.
If You Are the Victim of a Sexual Assault
• Attempt to stay calm and remain alert. Look for situations that you can exploit to your advantage. Your primary objective should be to survive the attack, and if possible, avoid serious injury to yourself.
• If possible, try to get away as fast as you can. If necessary, fight back. If, however, you are immediately threatened, attempting to escape or fight back initially may not be possible or advisable. In such a case, it may be necessary to cooperate somewhat until a safer opportunity for escape presents itself, but never leave the location with an attacker. Remember staying alive is your most important concern.
• Take notice of the characteristics of your assailant and perhaps try to talk your way out of a rape situation, or identify a means of escape. Information you recall about your attacker is invaluable to the police in trying to apprehend the criminal.
• If you are on campus, notify the University Police at 911 as soon as possible.
Education on rape prevention is available through the Valparaiso University Police Department, the Sexual Assault Awareness Facilitative Education Office (S.A.A.F.E.), the Student Counseling & Development Center, and the Dean of Students office. To report a sexual assault, contact the University Police immediately at extension 911.