Recent surveys have indicated that one-third of female students in Britain had experienced sexual assault or unwanted advances while at college. But are universities doing enough? Some colleges have been criticised for not taking rape and sexual assault complaints seriously enough.
There is a legal guidance to encourage universities in the UK to investigate allegations of indecent assault or rape because believing that it is purely a police matter, could be breaking the law. Like public authorities, governing bodies have a legal obligation under the Human Rights Act and the Public Sector Equality Duty, to eliminate discrimination and harassment against women.
As well as counselling and training there are initiatives to take a proactive and perhaps more pragmatic approach. Like self defence classes and some student unions are providing rape alarms.
On the training front providers promote student personal safety with a toolkit of skills necessary to deal with personal safety issues; how to recognise a threat to your personal safety and adapt to the situation so you stay safe. Having these skills and the necessary safety equipment could make all the difference if you need to take evasive action or alert people to the threat.
Using a rape alarm, knowing when and how to alert the public is critical when you only have a few seconds to decide. Using personal safety alarms as a deterrent for DNA marking, or a red dye or foul smelling deterrent repellent sprays are all options to deter an attacker. It’s not only about an ear piercing sound alert, innovative personal sound alarms can deter and mark your attacker too.