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Police talk about student safety

Police talk about student safety Scott Teague The Union-Recorder Lt. Joe Grant from Georgia College & State University Public Safety shared frightening statistics of rape and assault with female high school students from Georgia Military College Prep school Friday afternoon. Women aged 12 years old to 19 years old are the most victimized group in the United States, and two-thirds of imprisoned sex offenders said their victims were under the age of 18, Grant told the gathered students. “It doesn’t matter whether you live in Milledgeville or in Los Angeles or New York, it’s happening everywhere in the country,” Grant said. Grant’s presentation is part of the college’s reconstituted Crime Prevention Unit. The prep school invited Grant and Sgt. Brian English with the unit to teach its female students the importance of being alert, GMC Prep Assistant Principal Pam Grant said. “You can’t open a newspaper or turn on the television without reading about a female who has been abducted or raped, and we felt like our girls needed to be aware that this is a real possibility,” the assistant principal said. The statistics are scary. About 61 percent of rape victims were under the age of 18 and 1.9 million women are physically assaulted or raped annually, Grant said. The 30-minute presentation included many safety tips for young women, such as making eye contact with suspicious people and traveling in groups when going out. “If a man feels he can be identified, he may move on for an easier target,” Grant said. Grant told the young women to be careful when going outdoors to exercise, and avoid dark or unpopulated areas if running. “We have a lot of people exercising around GCSU, and that’s why you’ll see our patrol cars all around the area,” he said. Some of Grant’s tips came straight from the experiences of a serial rapist who was arrested in Athens after committing sexual assaults in the area. And if worse comes to worst, Grant said, use chemical spray on an attacker, target the eyes and groin with punches and kicks if being physically assaulted and hit an attacker in the nose. Grant shares many of these simple safety tips with his own daughter, who attends college out of town. The lieutenant encouraged any girl interested in learning self defense techniques to consider GCSU’s self defense course operated out of the Department of Continuing Education. But the young women may not need to defend themselves if they keep in mind just one thing, Grant said. “Always use your brain. Be very aware of what’s going on around you. Don’t allow yourself to be put into a bad situation,” Grant said.