Colleges warn students to protect themselves from sexual assault during ‘red zone period’

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As Tampa Bay college students get back to school, administrators are warning female students of the potential dangers on campus.

The first few weeks can actually be the most dangerous for women.

The start of school is also the start of what’s called the “red zone,” a six-week period when students are most at risk for sexual assault, from August to November.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, more than 50% of sexual assaults take place during this time.

For many students, this is their first time away from home and they are put in new social situations, and unfortunately, some will take advantage of that.

Monnie Wertz, Assistant Vice President of Operations and Planning with the University of Tampa told 8 On Your Side they educate students about the dangers before they even get on campus, and again when they arrive.

“The first six weeks is called a red zone. That’s when there’s a lot of safety issues with new students because they’re new on campus, they’re unfamiliar with the policies and the culture. So we do a lot of programming around safety and sexual violence during the first six weeks,” she said.

Wertz told 8 On Your Side the university also lists the crisis hotline number on student ids.

One of the biggest components is to educate students on how to protect themselves.

“If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, there’s probably a good reason for that, and it’s time to go, even if it makes you think you’re going to seem uncool or unpopular. If you are out, always keep track of your own drink. Pour your own drink if you can, and keep track of that drink. If you leave that drink for a while, pour it out and get another one. If you are out, travel in groups, and always make a plan,” Wertz said.

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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