College is a pretty fun place to be, especially when your grades are not terrible, and you have cool friends around. But if you have extracurricular activities like varsity sports, you would need to hire a college essay writing service to assist with stifling academic tasks. But this fun reality is only one side of the coin. College campuses are crime hubs. Alcohol-induced raves, late-night parties, and unsuspecting teenagers are prime targets for criminals.
However, you can protect yourself from danger on campus if you take the time to learn self-defense. All you need is a keen eye to spot trouble and better situational awareness. This article discusses the importance of self-defense in college. Read on to discover how you can learn life-saving self-defense tips to ensure your survival on campus.
Why is self-defense necessary on campus?
Students often ask why self-defense classes are necessary if campus security is present. Well, most campus police officers are poorly equipped to handle security and address every distress call, for starters. Besides, officers can’t cover the entire campus territory.
According to Statista, the downward trend in campus crimes spiked around 2018. Although these numbers dropped again massively in 2020 — primarily because of the pandemic — the trend will rise again when students return to regular campus life.
Nowadays, awful cases of sexual assault, armed robbery, and stalking have become worrisome across the board. Moreover, alcohol and drug consumption are commonplace in most colleges because of the young demographic. As a result, parties and social functions are hotbeds for violent crime.
Besides, social media exposes young people to stalkers and potential criminals. Every Facebook story and Instagram live video is a magnet for criminals: they show your specific location, the number of attendees, and even your level of intoxication. Most importantly, strangers can track your timeline and plot your route with information from your posts.
In essence, everything in college is a potential disaster, but you can mitigate these risks with basic self-defense training and better online habits.
7 self-defense tips you need in college
People often try to promote self-defense skills as the ultimate remedy for campus crime, but this assertion is not entirely accurate. The harsh reality is that most victims have no control of the circumstances surrounding the attack.
Nevertheless, a few lifestyle changes could provide that all-important extra reaction time or completely take away an attacker’s advantage. In essence, self-defense in school or college starts from you — the potential victim.
Let’s look at some self-defense tips that come in handy on college campuses.
Stay off your phone
We all know how difficult it is to stay without refreshing your feed or checking your mentions on socials. But for your safety, you need to keep your phone tucked away when walking around the campus, especially in isolated spaces.
Besides, when you are looking down on your phone, you limit your focus to the screen, ignoring the rest of your surroundings. Consequently, you won’t be able to spot strangers in your vicinity until they come up to you.
Moreover, holding out a smartphone in public gives the thief a solid target — the phone in your hand. And since you are probably engrossed in the on-screen content, you can’t call for help until the crime has occurred.
Keep your doors locked
Open doors ‘expose’ your room to everybody. Strangers could walk in and pretend to inquire about something. Within that short time interval, they can access the room’s vulnerability to attack.
Whether you stay in a dorm alone or with a roommate, always keep the door locked. Use a safety bolt or chain lock to close it from the inside. And try to install a keyhole to assess every unknown visitor before opening the door for them.
In the same vein, always lock your car from the inside, especially at night. If possible, roll up the windows too.
Keep your emergency contacts ready
In the past, we had to memorize the phone numbers of one or two emergency contacts. But committing numbers to memory is no longer a thing because smartphones now have emergency features for unforeseen circumstances.
Don’t limit the contacts to the police and fire service. You can include a reliable friend’s info on the list just in case. By doing so, you can easily access your emergency contacts in one click, even in high-pressure moments.
Don’t disclose your location
Location sharing is part of the online experience nowadays because it tells your friends (or followers) what you are doing at the moment. However, disclosing your location online attracts unwanted attention from friends and miscreants alike. And if you do this often, criminals can track your movements.
So, resist the urge to share your live location online. Instead, you should only upload your videos after leaving the event. Yes, this takes away from the live experience, but it will keep you safe.
Don’t walk alone in lonely places
Public places like libraries and parks don’t witness a lot of crimes because they are densely populated. But criminals are disgusting cowards lurking in dark corners and lonely alleys in search of prey.
If you are returning from a party — regardless of gender — join a group of friends or acquaintances. Ask a friend to pick you up or call a campus cab instead of walking home through a dark alley.
Besides, you should know all the criminal ‘hot spots’ on campus. Ask older students about these danger zones if you are a fresher. And above all, avoid these areas like the plague.
Beware of strangers
We always think of criminals as shabbily dressed, rough-speaking people. But in reality, miscreants on campus could be that bright-eyed, soft-spoken stranger that compliments you on the street. In essence, always treat any stranger as a potential attacker.
If a stranger compliments you but looks fidgety, take a few steps away from them — keep them at arm’s length at least. If they try to invade your personal space, you now have the right to alert passers-by.
By viewing every stranger as a potential threat, your mind will stay primed at all times. Readiness also involves keeping your phone out of sight and assessing every shady figure along your path.
But you could always raise the awareness level to Defcon 4 by carrying a pocket knife or mace. These weapons can save you from violent (armed) assaults. And if you have any martial arts skills like Polyana Viana, the attacker could have a terrible day.
4 self-defense techniques you need to learn on campus
Some people argue that weapons are the most effective tools to fend off attackers. But the downside to this approach is that some people detest using lethal force in any scenario. Besides, some weapons are not allowed on campus.
Nevertheless, you can learn some skills to help you escape close-quarter attacks and bear hug situations. Most of these don’t require any special skills training to execute.
So how to learn self defense on campus? Here are some techniques you need to learn:
A perfectly-timed groin kick can help you kill two birds with one strike — create separation and exert extreme physical pain on the assailant. Groin strikes are effective when the attacker is just beyond grappling reach and unarmed. You can also kick their legs, but these are less effective and can lead to severe injuries to yourself.
Gouging is essential to martial arts such as Krav Maga, which focuses on unorthodox fighting techniques adapted to real-world fights. But you don’t need years of training to master this technique. Just aim for the attacker’s eyes and sink your fingers as deep as you can. If the eyes are beyond reach, aim for the throat or try to wring their fingers.
If you are lucky enough to get your assailant’s back or neck, squeeze them as long as you can. Now, you are probably wondering why so much force is necessary. The answer is simple: some criminals don’t give up until they are incapacitated. What if you start running, and they come after you? And even if you get away, they might still harm someone else.
If all the options above don’t work for you, take to your heels. However, running is difficult when someone has a tight grip on your arm or torso. So, use the techniques above to create separation and run as fast as you can.
Ensuring you learn self-defense can be a vital aspect of survival on college campuses. For your safety, always stay conscious of your surroundings. Stay off your phone when walking around the campus.
Filter the information you share with strangers online. Don’t disclose your location until you leave the event. Also, always keep your doors and windows closed at night, and stay away from lonely places.
Most importantly, use survival skills like kicks and eye gouges to repel assailants. Carry a mace or any weaponizable object on you when heading out. Ultimately, keep your emergency contacts on speed dial.
About the author – Amanda Dudley is a lecturer and part-time academic writer at EssayUSA. She is a qualified academic instructor with a Ph.D. from Stanford. Amanda is also a native English speaker with an intermediate understanding of German. Nowadays, she works with graduates and undergraduates, providing academic assistance with History-related courses. She also assists students with disabilities.