Enjoy the freedoms of college life without sacrificing your safety.
Christina Papara checks her surroundings before entering her car. Sara Fieldman
New Orleans can be a beautiful city. From the tourist attractions to the fun nights out with friends, the college experience can be a memorable one. But if students aren't careful, all those beauties can turn into an ugly nightmare.
"It's impossible to predict what kind of person you should avoid when going out because there is no usual suspect," said a mass communication senior who has had her safety violated and feels more comfortable remaining nameless. "I'm a very private person, but woman's rights are important to me. I think it's important to talk about this and make these issues known," she said.
The mass communication senior recollected many instances where she felt verbally and physically threatened by men when she was at different bars around the city.
"One time when I was out with a group of friends, a guy came up to me and asked if his friend could touch my chest because he thought I had ‘nice tits,'" she said. "I also used to have my lip pierced, and guys would just walk up to me when I was out and grab my lip and tell me how sexy the piercing was."
The senior said these situations occurred when she was alone or had temporarily walked away from her friends to make a phone call. She eventually took the piercing out for a job, but said she was willing to do so since it drew so much negative attention.
Some students might not realize the possible dangers of New Orleans when going out to have a good time. Though the senior's incidents were not as extreme as more unfortunate ones, Loyola University Police Department says students should still be prepared at all times.
"If students choose to go out, try and go out in groups," said Lt. Angela Honora. "Students should have designated drivers if of age to drink, always observe their surroundings if walking back to campus, and should not take large items, just IDs and enough money to spend while out and for a cab if need be."
Loyola takes safety around and off campus very seriously. There are many precautions LUPD takes to make sure students are informed on the matter.
"We email BOLO(s),Be On The Look Out, to students, especially if it's areas our students frequently travel, and have handouts on safety from the New Orleans Police Department in the LUPD office," Honora said. "We put those handouts and others on tables during orientation, and students can find them at the front desks in each residence hall and on academic boards in the buildings."
Loyola goes a step further, offering a free women's self-defense class to students instructed by Honora and Cpl. Mary Boothe.
The Rape Aggression Defense System class is now being offered throughout the week at flexible times.
"We use to offer the class only on Friday and Saturday, but now we work with students' schedules," Honora said. "If students are interested in the two-week class, they can contact me or Mary."
The class is nine hours for lessons discussed out of a booklet, and a maximum of 12 hours if students choose to participate in the simulation part of the session, which Honora highly encourages.
"Simulation is where we put on the big red suit and allow students to physically attack based on what they learned," Honora said.
Malerie Thornton, mass communication junior, took the class the summer before her freshman year and said she was grateful that she did.
"I now know how to handle myself when put in various unfortunate situations," Thorton said. "I think all female students should take the class. Our campus is open, and no matter how fun New Orleans can be, the city is still dangerous."
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