Sexual Discourse: Spring danger

Don't forget personal safety on your spring break trip

 by Erika Wurst
 published on Thursday, March 10, 2005

Brandon Quester
Brandon Quester / State Press Magazine
ASU freshman Lindsay McIntyre says says she is not an irresponsible drinker and is usually the designated driver or the one who looks out for everyone else.

Next week, college students across the country will head to exotic locations to leave reality behind, sip on margaritas and slip out of the humdrum routine of class and work, work and class.

And while it's OK to hop on a plane without a single thought of school, it's important that regard for personal safety isn't been left behind, as well.

According to the Journal of American College Health, the average male will drink 18 alcoholic beverages per day during Spring break, while the average female throws back 10.

On a beach filled with half naked co-eds, this could be a recipe for disaster. In Florida, a popular spring break hot spot, 80 percent of reported sexual assaults occurred while the victim or perpetrator was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

In response, the Florida Department of Health is doing something to prevent rape and promote awareness this year by distributing 100,000 free 15-minute phone cards to spring breakers at hotels and universities. Each card comes with a 20-second recorded message that users listen to before they can make a call. The voice tells card users about confidential hot lines available for assault victims.

In addition, the Miami Beach Police Department is enhancing its patrol division, as well as handing out educational flyers to spring breakers to promote safety.

In this week's "Sexual discourse," SPM chats with spring breakers to see how they handle personal safety in foreign environments and how they plan on avoiding harmful situations.

Who: Justice studies sophomore Christine Flanagan

Found: Walking out of class

SPM: What's your biggest spring break concern?

Flanagan: Should I be honest? Blacking out and waking up somewhere that I didn't know where I was because I was so drunk. That, or having my drink laced or spiked.

SPM: Sounds dangerous. How have you protected yourself from assault in the past?

Flanagan: I definitely travel in groups with at least five girls or I travel with a guy if possible. They'll look out for you and protect you. That sounds so dated, but it's true, unfortunately.

SPM: Ain't nothing wrong with that. In the future, would you take further steps to help protect yourself in dangerous situations?

Flanagan: I've heard more this year than ever that people are being abducted in Mexico. I'd just watch out for my security in general. Always watch your drink, watch your friends. I would have a game plan if we get separated or if anyone gets hurt, like where we'd go to meet and who we'd call.

SPM: So do you think the calling cards being given away in Florida will benefit students?

Flanagan: Absolutely. Of any method, that would be the most valuable. Rape is such a dehumanizing experience. It's less likely that a person would come forward in person, especially on spring break, when some think guys can be more lenient with sexuality.

SPM: In general, do you think you are more aware of dangers when you're on spring break than when you're at school?

Flanagan: I would like to think so. There's so much more potential threat, but the likelihood that you will be more intoxicated is heightened.

SPM: Do you think enough is being done to promote rape awareness to students going on spring break vacations?

Flanagan: I haven't seen or heard anything about it. ASU kids are so socially blind. What do you do? Put up a poster? No one can tell you to be safe. You have to be aware of things on your own. �

Who: Early childhood education freshman Lindsay McIntyre

Found: Outside the MU

SPM: What's your biggest spring break worry?

McIntyre: Safety. Protecting myself from being raped or something like that. It's about being responsible.

SPM: How have you looked out for personal safety in the past?

McIntyre: I make sure I'm with a lot of friends who will take care of me. I drink responsibly. Actually, I don't really drink much at all.

SPM: If you were going somewhere for break this year, what would you do differently to keep yourself safe?

McIntyre: I would plan out the way things were going to go. I wouldn't go anywhere where I wouldn't know the people I was around.

SPM: Do you think an idea like the calling cards being given away to students will �promote rape awareness?

McIntyre: I think it's a good idea. A lot of girls don't have access to that info and they shouldn't have to go through it alone.

SPM: In general, do you think people are more or less aware of dangers when on vacation, as opposed to being in a normal environment?

McIntyre: I think the people who go out and do that stuff don't think about danger. They're more interested in what will happen right now and how fun it will be. Not that I really know.

SPM: So, in your opinion, what can be done to promote awareness and prevent assault? Have you seen or read anything about spring break safety lately?

McIntyre: I haven't seen anything like that. I'd say they should have commercials or articles in the paper like you're doing. I think a lot of the time, people stay away from stuff like this because they just don't want to hear about it.

For more information, call 1-888-965-RAPE.

Reach the reporter at erika.wurst@asu.edu.


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