|Increase in national sex crimes spark reminders|
|Written by Alexandra Corradetti, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 26 April 2011 21:22|
As sex crimes on campuses across America increase, so does concern from the nation’s leaders.
On April 4, Vice President Joe Biden visited the University of New Hampshire to discuss new guidelines about universities’ responsibility to prevent sexual violence, according to an article from The New York Times.
Capt. Nichol Bleichner of the ISU Police Department said education is the best form of prevention for future crimes.
She added the department initiated a program called Rape Agression Defense, or RAD, in November 2010, which teaches awareness, reduction and avoidance.
If one finds him or herself in a situation, Bleichner said the most important thing would be to not panic because it prevents the individual from thinking how they can escape.
She feels so many sex crimes go unreported for one of three reasons.
“Embarrassment, [the] victim blaming themselves for their actions and if they know the person, such as in a date rape situation, they don’t want others to know,” Bleichner explained.
However, she feels catching an attacker is not always the easiest task.
“The victim not reporting the crime in a timely manner makes it hard. Time and evidence are the two most important elements in catching a suspect. Evidence on a person fades quickly and the longer the time in between can be a major issue,” Bleichner said.
Bleichner said there is no average number of crimes committed at ISU per year, but one occurs most often – theft.
“Simply locking doors and securing valuable items can take the level of opportunity away from a suspect,” Bleichner said.
Bleichner feels strongly that the level of safety on campus is directly correlated to the number of crimes performed.
“Safety is everyone’s concern, not just police. ISUPD, in conjunction with the Normal Police Department, have started a new crime prevention program on campus this spring called ‘Bird Watch.’ This program educates students, faculty and staff on what crime is, when and how police can be contacted to report a crime, and above all crime prevention,” Bleichner added.
More information about the program is available through the ISUPD’s website, police.ilstu.edu.
Gail Trimpe-Morrow, coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention for Student Counseling Services, believes becoming involved with campus safety starts with awareness and education.
“Too often we may become overwhelmed with the challenge and feel that one individual cannot make a difference, [but] we forget that all social change starts with small steps. When we talk about sexual violence and campus safety, each of us has a role to play and we don’t have to be a ‘superhero’ to make a difference,” Trimpe-Morrow said.
Trimpe-Morrow said following a certain set of guidelines can help someone avoid falling into a similar situation, including using the buddy system, not accepting drinks from strangers, knowing one’s limits or confronting friends who are taking advantage of someone.