The Safety Of Our Children -- No Matter How Old They Are, We Still Need To Remind Them...

I just read a post on another website about personal safety, especially on college campuses. It is such an important message.

Both of my children attend Virginia Tech. My son was a freshman at VT and on his very first day of classes, a prisoner escaped from the Blacksburg jail. If I remember correctly, this prisoner killed a guard. And my son was in the dorm right next to the dorm where the first two murders occurred on April 16, 2007. And, you may know the rest of the story -- the largest mass murder on a college campus ever happened that day. Dear friends in our community lost their children to a brutal double murder last year -- both of their children attended VT and were on a date at a place where many VT students go for picnics, dates, and such. My son called me on that horrible day and told me that he and his girlfriend had just been in the exact same spot as this other precious young couple a few days previously. It could have just as easily been my son and his girlfriend who were murdered that day.

Now, my daughter is a freshman at VT and living in the dorm where the first 2 murders occurred on April 16, 2007. Two weeks ago, my daughter began receiving prank "blocked calls" on her cell phone. In 3 days she received over 220 prank phone calls. My daughter, without any prompting from me, called the police. The police investigated and found out where the calls were coming from and who made the calls. It was not a VT student and he had nothing to do with VT. I was thankful for that!

The truth about the prank phone calls? I do not know if we will ever know the whole truth. Here is what I believe to be true, without really knowing if I am right: Some mean girls, jealous girls, talked this good boy into making these phone calls. These girls are beautiful girls who are jealous of my beautiful daughter. Why are they jealous? Who knows!?! They have no reason to be jealous. They are perfectly beautiful, smart young women themselves.

I attended and graduated from VT. So did my husband and father of my children. I was stalked on the campus of VT when I was a senior. I was also physically assaulted by my stalker and one other time previously by a different man when I was a sophomore. Thankfully, I was able to fight off my attacker when I was a sophomore. That particular assault could have ended very badly and was extremely dangerous and sinister in nature. My stalker's attacks occurred in broad daylight, were not sexual in nature -- more bully-ish than anything else, and were stopped by others who saw the attacks. My precious, tiny, sweet and petite female professor, setup a "sting" operation right outside the classroom and had the police take my stalker into custody -- caught in the act! (I had NO idea she had set up my attacker to get caught by the police.) It never occurred to me to call the police. How stupid is that?

I was so naive that I seriously thought that these "boys" (who were both really men at the time) at VT were just being stupid. When I grew up, I could trust every boy I knew. I was NEVER subjected to anything other than gentlemanly behavior from every young man I knew. Oh, some talked stupid -- trying to use smooth "lines" to "get" me but I just laughed and thought they were silly -- and they were silly. But the truth is that when I went away to VT for college, I was out in the big wide world and I had no idea that I was not perfectly safe.

I agree that college campuses are pretty safe in nature with some much more safe than others. VT is probably one of the safest college campuses in America now. And, VT has always been safe. We simply had a seriously ill student who did the absolute unthinkable. No one would have ever thought to be prepared for what happened on April 16, 2007. And, prison escapes happen all over the world, as well as random and violent acts of crime.

But, rape and muggings and such are likely to occur on any college campus. One of my dearest friend's daughter had a man come into her home that she rented with other college girls and rape one of her roommates. This one violent act has severely effected each one of the girls who lived in that home, and has horribly altered the victim's life forever.

All parents need to talk to their children about their own personal safety starting as early as possible and increasing the intensity of the conversations as age-appropriateness allows. This is no laughing matter.

VT offers classes on personal safety. I took one after my attack my sophomore year at VT and I have taught all of what I learned to my daughter. Some police friends have taught me a few other useful tips since then. The main thing I believe to be true is to fight back and to fight back hard, using everything you have. I hear of too many precious people disappearing only to be found dead later. Fight for your life, is what I say! And, don't be naive and stupid like I was. Be vigilant and watch out for yourself and each other.

When I lived on VT's campus in the early 1980s, I went anywhere and everywhere alone if I wanted to. If I needed to do something, I went alone at night to do it. If I needed to walk across campus late at night, I did it. Well, DON'T do that! Unfortunately, that was not safe when I did it and it is not safe to do it now. I was chased one time when I was leaving a classroom building alone late at night (I was using a computer lab that night -- and the lab was FULL of people but every place else on campus was empty). It turned out that the person who chased me that night was the same man who stalked me. He did not continue to chase me. He stopped and laughed as I continued to run. Like I said, his behavior was more like a bully than anything. Before he began chasing me, he popped out from behind a huge shrub and crouched down and began hissing at me. Something was wrong with this person, obviously, but I am pretty sure he was not really dangerous to me. Or, his having been caught by the police stopped him from progressing with his strange behavior. I know who he is and he is somewhat famous now and has not been caught doing anything odd over the past 25 years. But, at the time -- I did not know that this young man was not dangerous. I should have, and my own parents should have, contacted the police immediately. My parents had NO reaction to the stories I told them about this man who kept harassing me. I guess my entire family was naive.

Well, I am not naive any longer. I will get the police involved whenever someone's behavior is bizarre. We have to do this to protect our loved ones and ourselves. I hate it that our world is like this now. Back in May of this year, a precious young man whom I love to death (he is like a son to me) played a huge silly prank on me. He tied a huge recliner up in a tree in the front of my house. My neighbors saw it and called the police! And then they called me. I was on the phone with my neighbor when the police pulled into my driveway. When the police arrived, I had no idea who might have put the chair in the tree. But, I was not happy seeing the chair in the tree because my daughter and I had had a Peeping Tom sitting in the exact same spot in the exact same tree the year before. I thought the Peeping Tom was trying to leave some kind of message. Also, there had been a couple break-ins in my neighborhood just a few weeks earlier and the police said the break-ins were gang-related. The Peeping Tom was someone we know. The break-ins were gang related. And, believe it or not, we live in one of the safest places in America. You have to know the young man who did this prank to know that when he does something, he does it right! He meant no harm at all -- he was simply having some fun and it completely got ruined. I think it is a shame that we have to live like this today but we do. So much silly fun can no longer be taken as silly fun anymore. It makes me sad.

Talk to your children! You will be so glad you did!

To coping well...
Robin
http://www.womencopingwell.com
http://www.robin-takes-juiceplus.com
http://www.marykay.com/rmeritt


The original post from The Succulent Wife may be read here: http://http://tinyurl.com/37sn6p2. It includes excellent practical safety tips.

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Tags: alone, campus, college, living, muggings, personal, rape, safety

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Comment by Audreyvp on September 20, 2010 at 6:04pm
Thank you Robin for including our article on keeping our teens safe when they are away from home. As they say 'It takes a village to raise our children' but let us add 'and to also keep them safe'. Let's all do our part.

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