Lock your doors. Shut the windows at night. Leave the residence hall or house with a friend.
After recent reports of safety concerns on and around the ACU campus, students have the biggest role in protecting themselves and their property.
Saturday morning, a woman living in University Park apartments reported that she believed she had been raped.
This event follows a report a few weeks earlier that a female living on Westheimer awoke in the middle of the night to find a man with his hand over her mouth.
These incidents should not make students paranoid about their own safety but should trigger a defense mechanism among them. Students should take every precaution to make sure they don’t fall victim: securing doors and windows, traveling with others in well-lit areas and, most importantly, remaining aware of what is going on around them.
Abilene is not a bubble. The town, and even the university, is not immune from crime simply because Abilene is seen as a small, safe area.
The ACU annual crime statistics report lists 24 burglaries and 3 “forcible sex offenses” since 1999.
On a Christian university campus.
Students who believe they have been assaulted have several options in reporting the incident, according to the ACU police Web page.
* File criminal charges against the suspect. If the assault occurred on campus, victims should contact the ACU police. If the assault occurred off-campus, students should contact the Abilene Police Department.
* If the suspect is an ACU student, victims may file a complaint against them with the Dean of Campus Life. Campus Life will make the necessary disciplinary decisions on a university level.
* Inform the dean of Campus Life without filing formal charges. If a victim believes he or she will be in danger if charges are filed or simply want to avoid attention, this is the step to take.
Tell someone, however. Anyone.
Students need not take these steps if everyone makes a conscious effort to protect themselves.
Don’t blame campus security or the town of Abilene-take your safety into your own hands.