Ralph Hingson, former associate dean at BU’s School of PublicHealth, published estimates in 2001 that showed more than 600,000physical assaults on American college campuses each year were directlyrelated to alcohol, while some 97,000 students experienced analcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
At BU, Student Health Services (SHS) has two crisis coordinators available 24 hours a day and works closely with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.Because, for criminal and legal purposes, rape exams are involved and methodical, they are not conducted at SHS. But SHS counselors can directvictims, and accompany them if desired, to an appropriate facility, suchas Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center or Boston Medical Center.
“Idon’t live in a fantasy world,” says David McBride, SHS director. “I believe many students will choose to drink alcohol.What we try and impart is that students should use things we call personalprotective behaviors to hopefully keep themselves out of trouble.”
Those behaviors include:
• Eat before drinking
• Go out with friends and stick with them
• Keep track of your drink
• Limit yourself to one drink per hour
• Intersperse nonalcoholic drinks with alcoholic ones
“One thing a student said to me not long ago was, ‘When you go to a houseparty where you don’t know anyone, you’re potentially more likely toget dangerously intoxicated because you’re trying to fit in or feelless uncomfortable,’” McBride says. “That’s something to keep in mind —that going to places that are unfamiliar might potentially put you atrisk. Do not go upstairs at a house party.”
If you’ve been physically or sexually assaulted, here are some important phone numbers:
• SHS crisis intervention counselors can be reached 24/7 during the academic year at 617-353-3569 (3-3569 on campus).
• BU Police: 617-353-2121.
• Boston Area Rape Crisis Center has a 24 hour hotline at 1-617-492-RAPE or 1-800-841-8371.