North Texas Daily

Red Zone needs more awareness on college campuses

Red Zone needs more awareness on college campuses

Red Zone needs more awareness on college campuses
September 04
19:19 2020

I’ll admit, until a few days ago I had no idea what Red Zone meant or what it related to. I was in the dark about an issue that pertains directly to me as a female college student. I heard the word, googled it and realized, “This should have been talked about.”

Red Zone is the spike in sexual assaults on college campuses during the first six weeks of school. When I started college, UNT did not bring this up. There were no skits about protecting yourself if something like this happened. There were no presentations about the risks of walking by yourself at night. There were no pamphlets handed out about this specific time period of vulnerability.

It’s strange realizing how safe you thought you were at one point in time, only for it to come back and make you question, “If something did happen, what could I have done about it?” A few of the articles I read said that college students are warned about Red Zone, but where was my warning? Where was yours? 

I just so happen to have a mother who is a natural worrier. A few of my parting gifts were a keychain of pepper spray and a portable alarm that gives off a high pitched sound if I was in trouble. I didn’t have to use either my first year of college, but at least I was prepared. When I had to walk back to my dorm at night alone and started to feel anxious, I unlocked my pepper spray and walked with my finger over the dispenser-only, then I started to feel safe. 

Some people did not get that type of comfort though. They were not made aware of certain dangers that lurk in the dark or were even told how to prepare in advance. Bringing awareness to Red Zone starts a much needed conversation on protection and accountability. 

Freshman year is a critical time period for this information to be stressed. It is a completely new environment, one where you start to have your own responsibilities and really feel like you are on your own. With this type of freedom comes more issues and problems to be aware of. If colleges can spend time making sure we do these fun activities during orientation and First Flight Week, then it is also their responsibility to make us aware of things that can endanger our lives on their campus. 

This is especially important because we live in a society of victim blaming, yet those in charge do not bring awareness of the troubles that surround us or who to turn to if it happens. It is like they want us to figure it out on our on, but regarding issues like this, we shouldn’t have to. 

I am not blaming any college campus for sexual assaults that take place. However, I am blaming them for aiding in unawareness and ignorance. Their bulletin boards and little plays are not enough. Hold people liable for their actions and stress the importance of who to go to if something happens. By spreading awareness about Red Zone, colleges send a warning to those accountable that they will not go unnoticed.

It is time for campuses to show that they stand with victims of sexual assault and will no longer sweep it under a rug that hides other topics they have deemed too taboo to talk about.

Featured Illustration by Jaya Swetha

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Jordan Allen

Jordan Allen

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