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Have a safe break: See Top 10 safety tips

(March 7, 2007)--The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization, last week announced helpful tips for students traveling on spring break vacations. Being aware of possible risks is often the first step in staying safe, especially when in an unfamiliar environment.

"College women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than any other age group," said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN president and founder. "Increased exposure to strangers and new surroundings can amplify these risks, particularly on spring break."

There are some very basic steps students can take to maximize safety. Knowing how to reduce risk can help prevent possible sexual assaults, both during and after spring break.

Sexual assault is a crime of motive and opportunity. Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to prevent an attack. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, know that the assault is not your fault and that you are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE.

RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with 1,102 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotline has helped more than one million people since its start in 1994. The organization soon will launch the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, a secure Web hotline offering live help. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

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RAINN's Top 10 Spring Break Tips

  1. Get to know your surroundings before you go out, and learn a well-lit route back to your hotel or rental property.
  2. Always carry emergency cash, and keep phone numbers for local cab companies handy.
  3. Form a buddy system with close friends and agree on a secret "butt-in" signal for uncomfortable situations.
  4. Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut.
  5. Avoid being alone or isolated with someone you don't know and trust.
  6. Don't accept drinks from people you don't know and trust.
  7. Never leave your drink unattended, and if you do lose sight of it, get a new one.
  8. Always watch your drink being prepared.
  9. Try to buy drinks in bottles, which are harder to tamper with than cups or glasses.
  10. Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.

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