More than half of students here said they carry protection against possible physical attack when walking around campus at night, according to a recent informal survey.
In the unscientific survey of 20 University of La Verne undergraduates taken last week, eight women said that they typically carry pepper spray, while four men said that when they do carry carry protection, it is usually a pocket knife.
The remaining seven students surveyed said they carried no form of protection, while another said knowing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was his protection.
More than half of the students said that it is women who are typically told to always carry a form of protection on their bodies.
“My dad is a probation officer and has always emphasized being careful when I’m by myself,” said Tatiana Peregrina, senior criminology major.
“I keep pepper spray in my car, and when I’m walking alone at night, I’ll hold my keys between my knuckles.”
Peregrina said she believes it is necessary to know how to defend yourself because vulnerable people, such as women, children, the LGBT community and people of color, are easily preyed upon – especially at night.
Peregrina’s father taught her basic self-defense strategies, such as using her palm to strike an assailant’s nose.
According to Gallup, a professional analytics organization, 45 percent of all women do not feel safe while walking alone, especially at night.
Gallup has also found that 48 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, regardless of gender, do not feel safe while walking alone at night.
Those who make less than $30,000 a year are 40 percent more likely to feel less safe, compared to those who make more annually, according to Gallup.
Ethan Fulsher, senior biology major, said that although he does carry a knife on him for protection, he feels that women are more inclined to carry protection than men are.
“Females get told more, due to biological differences, such as males tending to be more physically able to protect themselves,” Fulsher said.
Sunny Blake, junior political science major, said that his family gave him both pepper spray and an alarm to keep on his keychain.
“It’s super discreet and all I have to do is pull off the keychain and it’ll make this loud, annoying high-pitched screech.”
Katia Ramos, junior business major, said that she has a fear of something happening to her when she is alone. Because of this she carries things such as pepper spray and always has her phone ready.
“I’ve always been told by my parents and my friends that I can’t be walking around at night, or anytime really, by myself,” Ramos said. “I have to be careful carrying these things around.”
Five of the men surveyed, including Ivan Fernandez, senior criminology major, and Eddie Barrera, senior kinesiology major, carry pocket knives.
“I carry protection because I grew up in a neighborhood where you should always be protecting yourself,” Barrera said.
Noah Whitney, senior business administration major, carries a pocket knife. Although he has never been told to carry it while on campus, he still feels it is useful to carry some form of protection.
He also acknowledges that these precautions are more important for women because they are more vulnerable to an attack, especially at night, he said.
It seems as though it is typically women who carry mace or pepper spray because they are more vulnerable to attack, Fernandez said.
Results of the informal survey suggest that although women are more likely to be advised to take extra precautions when walking outside, the precautions should be applied to men as well.
Being cautious and aware of surroundings should be applied to all – regardless of gender.
Jocelyn Arceo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.