CSUN helps keep students safe from assault

Marla Schevker

The world seems safe in the middle of the day. With the sun shining, we feel safe no matter where we are. However, the harsh reality of the world is, day or night, no one is truly safe. Although the sun’s warm rays may lead us into a false sense of security, the truth of the matter is sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. The only thing any individual can do to combat this is to be prepared.

CSUN offers students programs like the Matador Patrol and the Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) training to help keep students safe. R.A.D. gives people the chance to be trained in practical self-defense. Students also have the Matador Patrol is trained to be big and scary, giving people walks to their cars or to the dorms; anything to make them feel safe and assist them if they think they will be in danger.

Both of these programs are great ideas. CSUN does a good job of offering programs that not only protect students but teaches students how to protect themselves. While it is important to depend on things like campus security, it’s also important to be able to defend themselves. R.A.D. gives hands on training to anyone who wants help learning how to protect themselves. It’s put on by the CSUN Department of Public Safety, giving hands on training to anyone willing to learn and pay the $10.

Hands-on training is important. An individual can study from a manual, which is given as part of the training, all they want, but in the end practice is the only way anyone can know what to do.

Sometimes training isn’t enough, though. The Matador Patrol is available week days from dusk until 11 p.m. to accompany students to their destinations when they feel uncomfortable walking alone. The patrol also guards the dorm parking lots on Thursdays through Saturdays. While the Matador Patrol is a great thing for CSUN students, it also has its disadvantages.

People who work for the Matador Patrol are not always the most personable people. Sometimes, it is easier to walk quickly and paranoid to wherever you intend to go rather than try to go through the hassle and awkwardness of calling and the walking with the Matador Patrol. Although this is one feeling about the Matador Patrol, ultimately it is a useful thing.

In addition to education and accompaniment, awareness of sexual assault is essential to dealing with it. March 8, Violent Acts Grounded (VAG), V-DAY, the Women’s Studies Department and the Women’s Center held an event at CSUN based on bringing awareness to the issue. The fourth annual Take Back the Night rally and march brought both men and women together to discuss sexual assault. There night began with an opening ceremony at the Plaza del Sol and then moved from the University Student Union to the Women’s Center where people talked about sexual assault and shared experiences with each other.

The rally not only brought awareness to the issue of sexual assault, but also brought many people with similar experiences together to share. It gave an opportunity to discuss a sensitive topic and created a forum where individuals who had an experience with sexual assault could share in a low-pressure environment. Those who shared gave strength to others and everyone had the opportunity to become closer with each other and with themselves. The rally gave a renewed meaning to all that CSUN does to try to keep its students safe.

Without events like the Taking Back the Night Rally, people would not understand the need for programs like R.A.D. and the Matador Patrol. But both CSUN and its students recognize the need for safety and that is how programs that CSUN offers are put to good use. While the world may be dangerous or unsafe, it’s still important to enjoy everyday without too much fear. In the end, there isn’t much anyone can do to prepare for what may happen to them, At least CSUN offers programs to help educate, prepare and aware people of sexual assault. With any luck, in the end that will be helpful for everyone.