April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Mizzou freshmen Maddie Abell and Emily Lackey went to Panama City, Florida for spring break with 12 other girls. They used the buddy system to keep themselves safe.
Abell said, â??We made sure than no one was alone at all times. If you wanted to go and get some food or anything, one person always went with you.â??
Abell and Lackey also use the buddy system on campus.
Lackey said, â??We just stay in a group of people. We never leave someone by themselves. If we ever see anything going on, we go over and help the person and reel them back into the group.â??
Throughout April, Mizzouâ??s Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center, or RSVP, is hosting several free sexual assault awareness events to educate people about these violent crimes.
Mizzou counselors said the best way to help someone who was sexually assaulted is listening. They say itâ??s important to believe them because people are more likely to fake their own death than lie about a sexual assault.
MU Police said itâ??s rare when a stranger attacks someone by jumping out from behind a bush. They said sexual assaults are more likely to happen on a first date or by someone you know.
MUPD Captain Brian Weimer said, â??For your first few dates, make sure that you drive and meet them in a public place. That gives you the ability to leave when you want to. It also doesnâ??t show them where you live. Be very cautious about the amount of alcohol that you are drinking.â??
Captain Weimer said if youâ??re going out as a group with a designated driver, have that sober person keep an eye on everyone. Your designated driver can help make sure no one wanders off with a stranger so everyone gets home safely.