Most students walking the campus of LSU will say they feel relatively safe on campus. During years that are filled with new friends, places and experiences fearing an attack is usually far from thought.
"I don't really think about it. I guess I should," said sophomore Sara Kate Lindely.
In fact, federal data suggests that college students, especially younger students, are at a high risk for sexual assault. According to federal data one in five women has been raped in her lifetime, and more than half of those before the age of 24.
According to LSU Police, reports of sexual assault vary from year to year, with only a handful of incidents filed each year. However, experts say the case load doesn't reveal the full scope of the problem.
"Less than 10 percent of students that are sexually assaulted come forward and get help," explained LSU Health Promotion Coordinator Seirra Fowler.
Reducing and prevent campus assaults has been a mission of the Lighthouse Program at LSU. This program provides free and confidential medical, mental and even academic support for past and present victims.
Fowler says they hope to stop assaults all together. Until then, she says it's important for students to take caution. Always be aware of your surroundings, stay in a group of friends, and keep an eye on friends. Most importantly, Fowler says to remember that date rape drugs are not the only way to impair someone.
"The number one predatory rape drug is alcohol," said Fowler.
Campus Police agree, saying most alcohol is involved in most assault cases.
"Anytime you have alcohol involved that increases the risk, whether that be alcohol use by the victim or the suspect," said LSU Police spokesman Capt. Cory Lalonde.
If an assault does happen, Fowler says it is important to tell someone whether it's a friend, the Student Health Center or police. By coming forward, you can find the resources you need to get help.
"The door to those opportunities does not open until you actually tell someone about it and you start that process," said Lalonde.
More information on the Lighthouse Program and its resources can be found here.
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