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The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

G.I.V.E Grant Column: A Guide for College Students on Safety, Awareness and Support

As the semester comes to an end, college students find themselves returning home, excited for a well-deserved break. However, amidst the joy of reuniting with family and friends, it’s crucial to be aware of potential challenges that may arise. This article aims to provide guidance on safety, awareness and support related to personal self-care as well as any issues such as dating, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, offering resources and strategies for maintaining resilience. 

Be sure to stay informed. Before heading home, familiarize yourself with local resources and support networks available in your hometown. Research community organizations, hotlines and counseling services that specialize in issues like domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Having this information at your fingertips can be invaluable in your time of need. 

Create an open line of communication with friends and family. Share your experiences, concerns and any changes in your life. Discussing these topics may be uncomfortable, but a supportive network is essential. Ensure that loved ones are aware of your whereabouts and plan, fostering an environment of trust. 

Establish clear boundaries with your family and friends. While spending time together is important, it’s equally crucial to communicate your need for personal space and independence. Establishing boundaries helps maintain a healthy balance and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings or conflicts. 

Be vigilant for red flags in relationships. If you notice controlling behavior, emotional manipulation or any signs of abuse, take them seriously. Trust your instincts and seek support from friends, family or professionals who can provide guidance on navigating any harmful, difficult or stressful situations. 

Utilize online platforms and educational resources that provide information and support on topics like healthy relationships, consent and personal safety. There are numerous websites and forums dedicated to empowering you with knowledge and resources to navigate various challenges. 

Create a personalized safety plan that includes steps to take in case of an emergency or discomfort. Share this plan with a trusted friend or family member, ensuring that someone is aware of your strategies for staying safe. 

As you return home for the semester break, awareness and support is essential. By staying informed, fostering open communication and utilizing available resources, individuals can navigate potential challenges with resilience and strength. Remember, you are not alone and there is a network of support, even when away from campus. Your student support services at Iona are there for you. Be sure to reach out to contacts here that can support you for information on how to access resources while you’re at home or provide support in strategizing ways to be safe and happy. Have a wonderful holiday season and I wish you all a very Happy New Year. 

Be sure to pay attention to your emails throughout the semester break for upcoming events for the G.I.V.E Grant programs for January, which is Stalking Awareness Month. This year marks the twentieth annual National Stalking Awareness Month, NSAM, an annual call to action to recognize and respond to the serious crime of stalking. Too often, the issue of stalking fades into the background. Join us to raise awareness for this prevalent and traumatic crime for the first ever Stalking Awareness Day of Action on Jan. 18, 2024.

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Jocelyn Arroyo-Ariza, News Editor

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