VP Welfare, Dorothy explains why being aware of self-defense is important when transitioning into university life and living away from home...
Transitioning into university, where you are in a new environment with different people from diverse backgrounds can be very overwhelming and scary.
BUT, you are not alone.
We're here to support you. Being self defense savvy is an essential skill for every one. It does not matter what age, gender, or race you are, you could be vulnerable to an attack.
Here are some precautionary tips VP Welfare, Dorothy, has put together for you;
- Know your way around the campus and town
Get to know your way around Colchester, from the buses you’d need to get to and from campus, the trains you’d need to take to get back home and different routes you could take if you’re driving. If your phone dies, and you’re in an unfamiliar area, you do not want to be alone in the streets at night.
- Be social media savvy
It can be really tempting to show off your new lifestyle with your friends and it's easy to get over excited, sharing everything about our live location! But it's important to realise that when you show your location on socials, or on any social media platform, that basically anyone can get access to your exact location. Don’t be afraid to post pictures and show that you are having fun on social media, but do not excessively put your location and constantly share your location on snap chat.
It is also a good idea to share your location with your closest friends so that in any instance of an emergency, they would have immediate access to where you are.
- Try not to walk home alone
There is power in numbers. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends to walk you places, especially when it’s late. Do the same for your friends and always make sure that your friends are also getting places safely and not walking alone.
- Become familiar with the emergency access features on your phone
If you have a smartphone, put some time into researching how to easily access an emergency call. There are also SOS apps you can add to your phone. I currently have SOSmate on mine. You click it then you can click ambulance, police, or fire to dispatch them to your location to help.
- Try not to focus so much on your phone, but your surroundings
If you are completely focused on your device and not your surroundings, it gives others a perfect opportunity to attack you without you ever knowing. When walking by yourself, never put both headphones in and turn the volume up all the way. If someone comes up behind you, and you have your headphones on full blast, you would never hear them coming.
It is so important to focus on the task that you are doing. Focus on who is walking around you, who is looking at you, and what is going on around you in general.
- Lock your doors
If you are living on campus, always lock your door to your room. People will start knowing who lives where, and although you think you know everyone and that they are your friends, you never know what someone is capable of.
If you are living in an off-campus accommodation, its important to lock your doors, especially if you live alone. If you are living with a group of people you are not familiar with, always make sure you have taken safety precautions, such as a bedroom lock.
- Take self-defense classes
If you feel that you would currently not be capable of defending yourself, do not be afraid to take a self-defense class. You could even get a group of your friends to do it with you, and then you would know that you all have the skills to defend yourselves.
The Students’ Union and The University currently offers self defense classes throughout the year. See if any are urrently running here.
We want you to feel safe when you’re on campus and travelling to and from University. If you ever feel unsafe or think something is inappropriate, you should contact campus security (if on campus) or the Police and try and get yourself to a safe place.
For more information about Safety at Essex or to report an incident, visit our Safety page.