Emily Schwab, a University of South Florida student, wears an empty holster in protest for campus carry.
Photo: Jim Reed/The Tampa Tribune

Emily Schwab, a University of South Florida student, wears an empty holster in protest for campus carry.
Photo: Jim Reed/The Tampa Tribune

College campuses are breeding grounds for sexual violence.

A woman who is 18-24 years old is already the most likely victim for a sexual crime, but according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), the likelihood of becoming a victim of a sexual crime is three times as likely for that specific demographic. RAINN also reports that 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students);  among graduate and professional students, the numbers are 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males, and among undergraduate students, the numbers are 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males.

College campuses are a hunting ground, and what do university administrations provide for self-defense? Maybe some awareness training, possibly a self-defense training course, but most commonly…a whistle. I had to laugh when I walked by the information desk on my campus, just to see a giant basket of whistles with the number for our Public Safety department written on them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that my university decided to provide some semblance of self-defense, but I had one question that has continued to run through my brain ever since…

What good does a whistle do?

Say a woman was out late at night, walking across campus to her car, and out of nowhere, a much larger man approached her and tried to assault her. If she even HAD her rape whistle with her, what is the likelihood that she would even be heard, or that she would have that whistle for very long before it got taken away from her? The same goes for pepper spray, which is the other common self-defense mechanism that is legal to carry on college campuses. Pepper spray can oftentimes be worse for the victim than it can be for the assailant; all it takes is a shift in the wind or a misfiring for it to spray back onto the victim, further incapacitating her. Furthermore, the canisters frequently have safeties that are difficult to get undone, and it can also be taken away easily.

So, if it is twice as likely that you’ll be sexually assaulted on campus as it is that you’ll be raped, and the two most common self-defense mechanisms are incapable, what is the answer? Simple. A gun.

Currently, only eight states allow campus carry on public institutions: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. However, even though the campus carry initiative is still small, it is one that should be fought for and pursued at every opportunity.

Guns are the best equalizer between men and women; it’s astonishing that you, as a general rule, never see radical feminists who want ‘equality’ advocating for equality in defending yourself. If you are carrying, it doesn’t matter how much physical strength you have or the size difference between you and your assailant. If you pull out a gun, you are automatically on higher ground.

Based on a study done by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, if you are about to be attacked and you point a gun at the perpetrator, they will retreat 55% of the time. Folks, that means that if you simply pull your gun out, the criminal will retreat over HALF of the time without you ever having to fire the weapon. That is a giant decrease of crime simply based around the presence, rather than the use, of a weapon.

States that allow private citizens to carry concealed weapons are also seeing lower crime rates. In the 31 right-to-carry states, compared to the average crime rates in states where there is no right-to-carry, you see a 24% lower violent crime rate, a 19% lower murder rate and a 39% lower robbery rate. The CATO Institute also reports that weapons are used in self defense over two million times a year, over three to five times that of being used for a violent crime.

I could continue providing more and more research and statistics that provide evidence of the effectiveness campus carry would have. However, I think my point has been made. If we were to see campus carry legalized in all fifty states and see both public and private institutions let students with carry permits carry concealed on campuses, we would see a drop in sexual violence.

I highly encourage you to become informed about the work being done by Students for Concealed Carry and to join them in their efforts. Women, you had the right to carry a weapon before you had the right to vote-why would you stand by and allow that right to be taken away simply because you are on a college campus? We must fight for the right to campus carry for safer campuses and for protected women and men alike.

I urge you to fight for your right to carry on your campus, because, after all, in the event of a sexual assault, what good does a whistle do?

Cross-posted from Hypeline.

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