Volume 95, Issue 47

Friday, November 23, 2001
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Western talks booze policy

Chretien rallies the troops

Muslim prof discusses jihad and holy war

Big shot media guy talks federal politics

Brescia student: "As a woman, I don't feel safe"

PC club donation creates controversy

Harvard dude talks 'disequilibrium'

News Briefs

Brescia student: "As a woman, I don't feel safe"

By Emmett Macfarlane
Gazette Staff

Students attending a personal safety presentation yesterday in the McKellar room received a look inside the mind of attackers, while at least one student in attendance said she does not feel safe at Western.

John McDonald and Stephanie Shreve from the London Police Department warned against complacency when it comes to personal security.

"Some of you believe [Western] is a different world," McDonald said, stressing students need to be aware of where they are and who is around them.

"Trust your instincts," he said.

"As a woman on-campus, I don't feel safe," said Katharine Wallace, a fourth-year women's studies student at Brescia College. "I like presentations like this because I wouldn't [have] necessarily looked at it that way."

While the vast majority of assaults are committed by people acquainted with the victim, the focus of the presentation was on attacks by strangers, due to the recent assaults near Fanshawe College, he said.

McDonald presented scenarios from the perspective of a perpetrator and warned many attackers survey a target's environment and daily travel patterns.

"In my opinion, [your environment] is the area you control the most," he said. "Home is not safe, we have to make it safe."

Most of the presentation focused on an assailant's methods, which often involve hiding in the shadows and watching or waiting for a victim.

McDonald cautioned students against relying on a weapon to defend themselves.

"Almost 100 per cent of attackers are on drugs or alcohol – pepper spray or keys to the face aren't going to bug them. Frankly, it's just going to piss them off, he said. "Unless you're trained and willing to use [a weapon], trust your feet and run."

The presenters also warned against going anywhere with an attacker, even if the perpetrator has a weapon. "Secondary locations are worse, never go," Shreve said.

Sera Vavala, University Students' Council VP-campus issues, said the USC works closely with the University Police Department to address student safety on campus and encouraged students to approach her or campus police if they have any safety concerns.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001