Tabitha Barr, columnist
As a first time freshman here at Hutchinson Community College, there’s a lot that I had to do to prepare. But there was one basic principle that I completely ignored and is vitally important. As a female in a new environment, I need to be more aware of my surroundings, especially in a setting that is predominately male.
Where I park on campus is a bigger deal than most people think. Most of the time, the student union parking lot is completely full. The next place people usually head to is the parking lots on Plum. Even then, the parking lots provided can be crowded to the brim. This happened to me my third day on campus and I was freaking out to say the least. At that moment the only thing on my mind was finding a parking spot and not be late to class. I ended up parking on a side street and hurriedly fast walked to my class. However, as a female, I forgot to take in my surroundings and prepare myself for the three-minute walk. On my way to class, I passed around 15 other students, most being male. In this time, I was sized up and down, cat-called, and in too close proximity for my liking. This is an important example of how women, especially on campus, need to be aware and ready to defend.
The most common and easily accessible protection that can be bought is mace. Many females on campus already own a mace pack and have it on hand at all times. These are usually stored on keychains or backpacks and are easy to get to.
Another method of protection requires nothing but what most already have on them. A simple car or house key can be the ticket to on hand protection. To have the most successful defense tool, put the key between your pointer and middle finger as close to your knuckle as possible. Have the key part sticking out away from your body and it gives you a security of defense. This is a good method to use at all times of the day no matter where you are.
Finally, the most critical way to stay safe is to watch your surroundings and always have an escape strategy. I have become so paranoid that everywhere I go I have a mental plan on what to do and where to go if something goes wrong. When walking to classes, I make sure to stay where other students and staff can clearly see me. This way if any male was to come and use their dominance against me, others are there to keep me safer. An escape plan is essential to staying safe. Always know where the most populated places are or where a locked place is that is safe to escape to. Women in this day and age are in dangerous areas everyday, but if these methods of protection are followed, we have a better chance of staying safe and protected.
Tabitha Barr is a Nickerson freshman studying Media Communication and Production