Gabriella Blanco/ Staff Writer
Our university is an open campus, so people can come and go as they please. This also means that people who are not FIU students or faculty can walk among us. However, this leaves the door open to sexual harassment by people who are not Panthers.
As a woman and as someone who used to live on campus during their early college years, I am sad to say that occurrences like this are fairly common not just on FIU’s campus, but on campuses across the world.
Coined the “Red Zone” by Business Insider, the first year of college for female students is incredibly dangerous. Young women are more vulnerable to assaults the first couple of months on campus, according to Business Insider.
The thought of someone just getting adjusted into their new and biggest chapter of their lives only to face danger in one of its worst forms made my blood boil.
When it comes to women between ages 18-24, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that women are assaulted 14 percent more than men.
In the age of the “It’s On Us” movement appearing on college campuses nationwide, can we really say that just speaking up is enough to make sure students are safe and not living in fear?
Some parts of campus can get too dark at night to the point that I have seen students use flashlights to make their way from one side to the other when they’re alone.
As someone who once had late night practices and classes as far as the Ziff Education building, I understand the uneasiness of roaming campus during late hours.
Even during my first semester on campus, I was urged by my mom not to go to the gym alone at night.
As much as it’s encouraged by everyone under the sun to use a “buddy system” to go from place to place, it has to be understood that not everyone will have a person to walk with.
To counter it, the suggestion of talking on the phone with someone if you are walking alone could be just as dangerous. The focus on the device and call takes away from being focused on surroundings.
All in all, you must look out for you. “It’s On Us” is more “It’s On Me Until All Else Fails.” For women, this means carrying small weapons, downloading apps, begging friends to walk with them, or taking self-defense classes.
It’s up to us as individuals to be aware of our surroundings at all times, even when the sun is out. It’s up to us to stay in control of situations, trust our instincts when something doesn’t feel right, and set our boundaries.
We as people must all become stronger and braver if we want to thrive and survive to be the best we can be. For everyone else, it seems to mean a hashtag, a t-shirt, and a pat on the back for saying that this is wrong.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
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