September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month and in conversations of campus safety one must consider the importance of sexual assault prevention efforts. According the RAINN organization, women ages 18-24 are at an elevated risk of sexual violence. There are many ways that college campuses can help prevent sexual assault, and there are even ways that campus bookstores can help as well.
For many campuses, the bookstore is a central space where all students will be in at some point in the semester. Whether it is purchasing textbooks, school supplies, or electronics, most if not all students will come into the store at some point. This provides an opportunity to provide educational materials to almost all students about preventing sexual assault.
RAINN offers a variety of print materials and handouts that can be placed around the store for students to take. It may be smart to have materials such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline, Hotline Info Card, or RAINN’s info cards or toolkits. The CDC also has materials regarding sexual violence that may be helpful.
You can also provide handouts for students who may know someone who was assaulted and won’t know what to do. RAINN provides great materials such as How To Help Someone You Care About and Self-Care After Trauma.
The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault has a bystander intervention program called Speak Up, Speak Out that can be a great resource to provide for students. This program focuses on engaging bystanders in preventing sexual violence on college campuses statewide.
Another prevention method your store can help with is selling personal safety products. The Douglas Stewart Company offers several products you can sell in your store such as a personal safety horn, or a safety siren.