The Red Zone

The Red Zone: Sexual Violence on College Campuses

The beginning of the fall semester is a busy and exciting time, filled with starting new classes, learning independence and building new relationships. However, occurring among all of this newness is also what experts and academics have come to refer to as “The Red Zone.” The Red Zone is the period of time between mid-August and Thanksgiving Break where, according to RAINN,  more than 50% of sexual assault incidents occur. This time period coincides with parties to celebrate the return to campus. This is when younger students are entering a campus culture that they have never experienced before. 

Read on to learn more and help you or your college-bound loved one have an informed start to the school year. 

Ways to Stay Safe 

  • Before going out, agree with friends to check-in with one another throughout the night and agree that each of you will make sure the other is safe before leaving a party, bar or other social situation.

  • Agree ahead of time on safety norms for if a person seems too intoxicated or is “out of it." Be proactive on when they may need to go home with a support person, even if they would like to stay or go home with someone they just met.

  • Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before going out and that you have the campus safe-ride number as a contact or be sure that you have Uber or Lyft set up on your phone with a payment method saved prior to going out.

  • Trust your gut. If you’re feeling unsure or unsafe, lean into those feelings. 

  • Identify campus resources. Make time to familiarize yourself with the campus safety and security office. Ask the staff what safety measures the university has put in place.

    - Are there campus shuttles? Where are the stops and what are the days and hours of operation?

    - Is there a counseling center on campus? Does it have a 24-hour helpline? Do they employ an assault advocate?

Additional Resources

Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. This is a safe and confidential service offered 24/7: 800-656-HOPE

To learn more about medical forensic exams, visit the DC Forensic Nurses website.

End Rape on Campus (EROC) works to end campus sexual violence through direct support for survivors and their communities; prevention through education; and policy reform at the campus, local, state, and federal levels.

Know Your IX is a national advocacy group that provides information to students about their Title IX rights.