You are your best personal safety tool. The information in the categories below will work towards keeping you safe, and help you find the assistance you need in the event of a potentially harmful incident.
If You Sense Potential Danger
- Assess the situation, and then take action.
- Move away from the potential threat. You will have to decide how immediate the threat is and how drastic your action should be.
- Join any group of people nearby. Cross the street and increase your pace.
- Go to a well-lighted public place and call the police immediately.
- If you believe a threat is imminent and you see people nearby to help you, try to get their attention: yell, scream, or make a commotion in any way you can. Remember, dialing 911 and activating alarm boxes are part of the personal safety system.
- If you see someone else in trouble, call the police immediately.
- After you have avoided the threat of crime, call the police and report any and all details of the incident, including:
- Suspect description
- Location of the incident
- Vehicle used (if any)
- Last known direction of suspect
If You Are Victimized
- Although your safety is maximized when you follow security precautions, you may still be the victim of attack.
- Your reaction can affect whether or not you are physically harmed. You will have to make snap decisions, so you should think NOW about how you might react under a variety of circumstances.
- Are you prepared to scream and yell? Will you use physical force? What might you use as a tool of defense?
- If you are facing an armed criminal, the risk of injury may be minimized by cooperating with his/her demands.
- Avoid sudden movements and give the criminal what he/she wants.
- If you think your life is in immediate danger, use any defense you can think of (screaming, kicking, and running).
- In a violent crime, it is generally ineffective for the victim to cry or plead with the attacker. Such actions tend to reinforce the attacker's feeling of power over the victim.
- Other types of resistance, however, have often been successful; you need to decide in advance what actions you are prepared to take. Self-defense training is one method by which you can learn avoidance strategies and resistance techniques. You should choose those actions you are most comfortable with.
Stalking is defined as the intentional, unlawful and repeated harassment and/or following of a person, which causes that person to be in reasonable fear that he/she may be injured. Stalking may start out with repeated unwanted contacts, including calls, visits, and gifts. Stalking may include harassment, threats, or obscenity - in person, by phone, via the internet, or in writing. Stalking may escalate quickly and without provocation or encouragement by the victim. A small percentage of stalkers follow celebrities or strangers, but the majority of stalker's are following someone with whom they have had a past or present relationship. If you think you are being stalked:
- Report the activity to Campus Public Safety or your local police.
- Send a clear message to the person that the relationship is over. Do not be ambivalent.
- Attempt to avoid all contact with the stalker.
- Keep an accurate journal of all incidents such as, sighting (include date and time), contacts, phone calls, written correspondence, and unusual incidents that may be connected.
- Keep all letters, packages and taped phone messages.
- Trace all phone calls per telephone company instructions.
- Inform family, friends, neighbors, managements, co-workers and workplace security. Have them notify you or the police if they are contacted or followed by the stalker.
- Be careful about your surroundings when alone.
Bias / Hate Crime Incidents
A hate crime is defined as injuring another person; damaging another person's property; or threatening a specific person (or group of persons) and placing that person in reasonable fear of harm to person or property because of the perpetrator's perception of the victim's race, religion, ancestry, national origin, color, handicap (mental, physical, or sensory), sexual orientation, gender, marital status, age, parental status, political ideology, or gender identity. Even if a perpetrator is incorrect about a persons actual identity (race, religion, etc.), if they commit acts against a person based on their perception, these acts may still be considered a hate crime.
- Report the crime to Campus Public Safety. Call Public safety at ext. 5911 if you are immediate danger. If the immediate danger is over, call the non-emergency number ext. 5990.
- Explain to the officer why you believe the suspect assaulted you because of your race, religion, etc. and not because of some other reason (e.g. an argument regarding a traffic collision).
- Tell the officer the exact wording, or as much as you can remember, of what the perpetrator said to you, regardless of how offensive it is.
Anyone can be the victim of rape or sexual assault, regardless of age, sex, race, status, or type of dress. There is no stereotypical racist, either. Many rapes are, in fact, committed by acquaintances of the victim. Be aware of the different possibilities and be prepared to decide what action is required in a potential sexual assault situation.
In attempted rapes, the following strategies have been found to help avert the attack
- Perceiving danger early/observing surrounding areas
- Using awareness and common sense to avoid potentially dangerous situations
- Yelling (e.g. "Fire!" "Help!" "Police!")
- Using physical resistance (e.g. biting, kicking, punching)
- Using passive resistance (telling the attacker you are diseased, menstruating, vomiting, or urinating)
- Displaying outrage rather than fear
- Taking advantage of environmental distractions (passersby, furniture, exits, fire alarm pull situations, etc.)
- Most importantly, persisting in using combinations of these strategies.
More strategies for avoiding "date rape" or "acquaintance rape":
- Knowing your own sexual values, expectations, and intentions
- Communicating them clearly and openly ("no" means no)
- Insisting on being treated with respect at all times
- Being aware of the effect of alcohol and drugs on your judgment, mental and physical states
- Leaving potentially dangerous situations immediately
- Using direct, immediate actions to resist an attack
Remember, no one has the right to force or pressure another to have sex, regardless of past consent, sexual history, dress, or circumstances. Rape is a violation of another's body and spirit.
Do not hesitate or be embarrassed to ask a friend or public safety staff member to escort you. If you are asked to escort another person, please do so with courtesy and consideration. Helping to keep the campus safe is everyone's responsibility.
If you have been sexually assaulted
Anyone can be the victim of rape or sexual assault, regardless of age, sex, race, status, or type of dress. There is no stereotypical racist, either. Many rapes are, in fact, committed by acquaintances of the victim.
- To report the rape, to your Residence Director, Campus Counseling office, or call S.U. Public Safety at 206.296.5911 or Seattle Police at 911.
- For support, call a friend or family member.
- For immediate counseling, call one of the agencies listed below.
More information about rape and other sexual assault is available from the following:
- Seattle University Department of Public Safety 206.296.5990
- Seattle University Counseling Center 206.296.6090
- Harborview Medical Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress 206.521.1800
- Providence Hospital Emergency Room 206.320.2000
- King County Sexual Assault Resource Center 425.226.7273 or 1.800.825.7273
Obscene Telephone Calls
- The best response to an obscene phone call is to hang up as soon as you realize the nature of the call. Don't try to find out who the caller is, even if you think it's just a friend playing a joke.
- Keep a whistle or a small air horn near your phone at all times. Calls often come late at night when you may be asleep and too groggy to look for a noisemaker.
- If calls occur repeatedly, keep a log of when the call was received, exactly what was said by both parties, and a description of the voice.
- If you want to report an obscene phone call to authorities, call Public Safety at 206.296.5990 and/or Seattle Police at 911.
Peeping Toms and Intruders
- It is usually best not to yell out or to try to detain the offender. He/she may panic and react in an unpredictable manner. Usually the offender will run away as soon as he/she is spotted.
- If the offender runs away, do not follow him/her, but do take notice of the direction he/she goes. If there is a place from which you can observe safely, such as a window, watch to see if he/she gets into a car, goes into another campus building, etc.
- Try to get a good description of the person. If he/she speaks to you, remember what was said and how it was said.
- Contact 911 or Campus Public Safety at 5911 and report the incident.