Healthy choices, RAINN, RAINN fundraiser, Safety Tips, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence, Spring Break, Wisdom

10 Steps to a Safer Spring Break


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Spring break is over for some colleges but is just beginning for several others. It’s a time,(and I have to go way back in my memory) when you can chuck the books relax, stay out late, and sleep in without feeling guilty for missing a class.

Whether you go out to one club or ten in a week of partying there is still a part of you that you don’t want to chuck-your safety. 

Seven of these tips are from RAINN and three are from my own experience-which I’ve handed down to my teenagers.

  1. Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you feel uncomfortable or something doesn’t feel right, leave and get to a safe place immediately. If someone is pressuring you, it’s better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse.
  2. Be wary of the “You Only Live Once” mentality. Being spontaneous and adventurous goes hand-in-hand with spring break. However, being too carefree can lead to dangerous situations. Don’t leave your normal logic at home just because you’re in a foreign place.
  3. Don’t let your guard down. A spring break destination can create a false sense of security among vacationers. Don’t assume that fellow spring breakers will look out for your best interests; remember they are essentially strangers.
  4. Protect your location on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. If someone you don’t know or trust asks you to go somewhere alone, let him or her know that you would rather stay with the group. Use any excuse you can think of to get out of a difficult situation.
  5. Get local. Know your accommodation address and the safest routes to and from your local destinations. Before leaving a hotel, ask the concierge for a business card with the hotel address or write the address down if you are staying at a rental property. Have the number for local cab companies and always keep enough cash on you to take a taxi home. Know who to contact in the event of an emergency, such as 911 or local authorities. If traveling internationally, have the contact information for the U.S. Embassy with you.
  6. Be a good friend—stick together & have a plan. Check out your surroundings before you go out and learn a well-lit route back to your hotel or rental property. Have a plan A and B.
  7. Use your cell phone as a tool If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, shoot a quick text for a “friend-assist.” Make a back-up plan before you go out just in case your phone dies. If you are traveling internationally, buy a pay-as-you-go phone or contact your cell phone provider to activate international coverage during your trip.
  8. Drink responsibly and know your limits. For every alcoholic drink, drink an equal amount of club soda, water, iced tea. Don’t be that girl that stumbles into the bathroom barfing all over the place.
  9. Shield your drinks. Keep your drink close, don’t leave it on the table. It only takes seconds to drug your drink. Likewise don’t accept drinks from strangers.
  10. Check out the club before you go there. Do they have a reputation for drugs, fights or shootings? If so, find somewhere else to go.
rainn.org
In the event of a sexual assault during spring break, seek immediate medical attention. In the U.S., call 911 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) for advice and support. If you are traveling internationally contact the State Department or the American Embassy in country, to be connected with special services for American victims of crime abroad. You can also register your international trip with the U.S. State Department, to be notified of safety status changes.

I’ve pledged a personal 30 day campaign to raise funds for RAINN. It’s not a whole lot, but it’s an effort to support victims and be part of the change to make lives better. I invite you “…to be the change you wish to see in this world.”-Gandhi

On my Facebook page I’ll have status updates, until April 19, 2013, on this fundraising effort. I’m also giving away one of the Hope, Strength, or Courage bracelets.* 

Contributions are tax deductible, safe on a secure website, and you will receive a receipt from RAINN.

Have a wonderful weekend.


*details are posted on my FB page about the giveaway.
Encouragement, Facebook Mona AlvaradoFrazier, RAINN, RAINN fundraiser, Rape, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence, Strong Women, Support for victims

How to Support Victims of Sexual Violence

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News reports over the weekend publicized the sexual violence recently perpetrated in the cases of Steubenville and New Delhi.

The fact that both these cases occurred in public with more than one perpetrator was particularly grievous, horrendous and terrifying. 
The first media reports about these two cases felt like the unnerving news of the shootings at Sandy Hook, the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and the Aurora, CO movie theater.

Is no one safe from sexual violence even on a bus, at a party, on a military base, in a church?

We know the answer. We’ve heard and read about it. One of every six women who read this has experienced sexual abuse, one in 33 men. 


This, like all cases of sexual violence I read or hear about, pains me, as a human being, a woman, and a person who has experienced sexual abuse.

The reports, images, and news talk linger in my mind much, much longer than they do in an 30 or 60 second news blurb. 

For the victims it lasts a lifetime, in one way or another.

This is an emotional laden subject and one you may click through. Not because you don’t care, but because you feel hopeless or powerless about this subject. 
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But you are not powerless to help support someone who has experienced sexual violence.

You can become more aware, volunteer with an organization that assists victims, donate money, and/or support organizations that are dedicated to stopping sexual violence.  

One of the national resources is RAIN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network). These suggestions to help emotional support someone comes directly from their site:

  • Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental.
  • Be patient. Remember, it will take your loved one some time to deal with the crime.
  • Help to empower your loved one. Rape and sexual violence are crimes that take away an individual’s power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.
  • If you are dealing with an issue involving your child, create a safe place by talking directly to them.
  • Encourage your loved one to report the rape or sexual violence to law enforcement (call 911 in most areas). If your loved one has questions about the criminal justice process, talking with someone on the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE, can help.
  • Let your loved one know that professional help is available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE, and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.
  • If your loved one is willing to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to accompany him or her wherever s/he needs to go (hospital, police station, campus security, etc.)
  • Encourage him or her to contact one of the hotlines, but realize that only your loved one can make the decision to get help.
rainn.org

To help support victims you don’t personally know, use your shopping acumen by  shopping to support RAINN. From Amazon to Urban Outfitters, and in between, anywhere from 7% to 1.5% of sales are contributed to this organization. Or buy some RAINN Gear, they have some very cool bracelets that I bought. Here’s one of them. 

Or help support my personal 30 day campaign to raise funds for RAINN. It’s not a whole lot, but it’s my pledge to support victims and be part of the change to make lives better. 

On my Facebook page I’ll have status updates for the next 30 days (until April 19, 2013). I’ll give away one of the bracelets.* 

Contributions are tax deductible, safe on a secure website, and you will receive a receipt from RAINN.

*details will  be posted on my FB page about giveaway.