A main priority for VIU is to ensure the safety and security of all campus facilities at all times. We believe that this responsibility is shared by everyone in the VIU community. Experiencing prohibited conduct is never the victim’s fault. Only abusers and perpetrators are responsible for the abuse they perpetrate.
The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network1and VIU encourage individuals to adopt strategies that may reduce your risk and give you the confidence to help others:
- Be alert and aware. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you find a way out of a bad situation. Avoid isolated locations when possible because it is difficult to get help when there is no one around.
- Take precautions after dark. Use the buddy system/have a friend walk with you. If you are by yourself, ask security to escort you. Security is located on the second floor of the Village Drive building.
- Be careful about posting your location. Many social media sites, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, use geolocation to publicly share your location. Consider turning this option off and adjusting your privacy settings 2.
- Make others earn your trust. A university environment can create a false sense of security. It may feel like you have found your new best friends, but give people time before relying on them.
- Have a Plan B. Have plans for potential situations. If your phone dies, do you have several numbers memorized that you could call? Do you have your address memorized? If you drive, is there a spare key?
- Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.
- Avoid putting headphones in both ears. You will be more aware of your surroundings if you can hear everything going on around you.
- Protect your drink. Do not leave your drink unattended and try to watch out for your friends’ drinks if possible. If you accidentally leave your drink unattended, throw it out. Only drink from unopened containers or drinks you watch being made.
- Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
- Make a plan. If you are going to a social gathering, go with your friends and people that you trust. Arrive together and plan to leave together. Periodically check-in with each other. You can also share your location with the friends you trust so they will be able to find you, and vice versa. Learn how to share your location with an iPhone3.Learn how to share your location with an Android or Windows Phone4.Sharing your location with only those you choose to share it with is not the same as posting your location on social media. Only share your location with those you trust.
- Put yourself first. You should never feel obligated to do something you do not want to do. “I don’t want to” is a good enough reason. Always do what you feel is right for you and what you are comfortable with doing.
- Immediately report any suspicious individual or item to security.
- In an emergency always dial 911.
If you are in an uncomfortable or scary situation, here are some ideas to help you get out of the situation:
- Have a safe word with your friends or family. If you are in a situation where you do not feel safe then contact your family or friends and communicate to them that you do not feel safe by using the code word. Your family or friends can come get you or provide an excuse for why you need to leave.
- Lie. If you feel that you cannot get out of a situation safely by being honest or do not feel comfortable telling the truth, then lie. It is better to lie and make up a reason for leaving than to stay in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Some excuses are: you need to go take care of a friend/family member/pet, you don’t feel well, or have somewhere else you promised you would be.
Remember that being in this situation is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong. It is the person who is making you uncomfortable or afraid that is to blame.
1. Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network’s website can be accessed here: https://www.rainn.org/safety-prevention.
2. Instructions and advice on how to engage in Social Media Safety can be accessed here: https://www.rainn.org/articles/social-media-safety.
3. Instructions on how to share your location with an iPhone can be accessed here: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH19426?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US.
4. Instructions on how to share your locations with an Android or Windows phone can be accessed here: http://www.howtogeek.com/228380/how-to-share-your-exact-physical-location-with-family-and-friends/.