The infamous as well as beloved Isla Vista is the ultimate party destination for UCSB students. IV’s weekend mayhem can certainly be fun, but it is important that all students know how to stay safe in the jungle that is IV.
IV—a college version of Sin City—can be a dangerous place if students are not aware of their surroundings. Active awareness on an individual basis is the key to safety.
Kari Mansager, the Women’s Center and Men Against Rape Advisor, stresses the importance of primary prevention. It is the responsibility of new students at UCSB to discourage a passive attitude regarding sexual assault or other violent crimes as well as it is a continuing responsibility for all students to proactively speak out against perpetrators.
Mansager additionally emphasizes the importance of safety awareness for all genders. She states that it is important “to trust your intuition in uncomfortable situations. Leave, or tell the person making you uncomfortable to leave.” She suggests that students should “try to choose friends who are respectful to you and others.”
Although primary prevention is the ideal form of safety, it is also important for all individuals to maintain awareness in order to avoid becoming potential crime victims. Mansager states that “being aware of one’s surroundings and then speaking up in an assertive manner can be effective tools for self-defense.”
For those who feel that they need help developing self-defense skills, the Women’s Center offers several self-defense classes. Mansager says that these classes “are split into three sections- awareness, assertiveness and then physical techniques.” These classes can help boost self-confidence as well as provide a sense of security.
The Community Service Officers provide yet another safety service. If for any reason a student needs to leave a situation alone and feels unsafe, he or she may call the CSO phone line and an escort will arrive at the student’s destination in order to walk him or her home. The CSO phone number is 805-893-2000.
There are also simple safety measures that do not require attendance in a class to learn. It is not advisable to walk alone at night. However, if for some reason a student should choose to walk alone, an easy safety precaution can be to carry pepper spray.
Sexual assault and violence are not the only potential dangers in IV: drugs and alcohol can create hazardous situations. Yes, drinking alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal, but it still occurs, and it is important for all students to know some basic facts about alcohol and its consumption.
It is vital that all students know what constitutes one alcoholic drink as well as their personal limits. One drink is a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5-ounce shot. And, for the record, a Dixie cup is the equivalent of two shots.
It is also important to never drink on an empty stomach, and it is equally important to hydrate throughout the night. A common misconception is that water kills a person’s drunkenness, but it will not sober a person up. Drinking water before, between, and after alcoholic drinks is highly beneficial: it helps prevent dangerous black-outs and horrible hangovers.
In addition, some students may be concerned about being slipped a roofie—such as the drugs GHB or Rohypnol—in their drinks at parties. The best way to avoid being a victim is for a student to pour his or her own drink straight from the bottle, and under no circumstances should anyone accept an open drink from another person.
Being aware that sexual assault, violence, and alcohol are all present in IV is the vital first step to keeping oneself safe. Knowing what to expect in worst-case scenarios is what keeps students on their guard against and what prevents potential danger.
Photo By: Danielle Phan, Senior Layout Editor