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What Good Does a Whistle Do? Fight For Your Right to Carry on Campus

by Kelvey Vander Hart |  |  Published on October 25, 2016

Emily Schwab, a University of South Florida student, wears an empty holster in protest for campus carry.

College campuses are breeding grounds for sexual violence.

A woman who is 18-24 years old is already the most likely victim for a sexual crime, but according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), the likelihood of becoming a victim of a sexual crime is three times as likely for that specific demographic. RAINN also reports that 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students); among graduate and professional students, the numbers are 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males, and among undergraduate students, the numbers are 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males.

College campuses are a hunting ground, and what do university administrations provide for self-defense? Maybe some awareness training, possibly a self-defense training course, but most commonly…a whistle. I had to laugh when I walked by the information desk on my campus, just to see a giant basket of whistles with the number for our Public Safety department written on them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that my university decided to provide some semblance of self-defense, but I had one question that has continued to run through my brain ever since…

What good does a whistle do?

Say a woman was out late at night, walking across campus to her car, and out of nowhere, a much larger man approached her and tried to assault her. If she even HAD her rape whistle with her, what is the likelihood that she would even be heard, or that she would have that whistle for very long before it got taken away from her? The same goes for pepper spray, which is the other common self-defense mechanism that is legal to carry on college campuses. Pepper spray can oftentimes be worse for the victim than it can be for the assailant; all it takes is a shift in the wind or a misfiring for it to spray back onto the victim, further incapacitating her. Furthermore, the canisters frequently have safeties that are difficult to get undone, and it can also be taken away easily.

So, if it is twice as likely that you’ll be sexually assaulted on campus as it is that you’ll be raped, and the two most common self-defense mechanisms are incapable, what is the answer? Simple. A gun.

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