The Red Zone: Part 1

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Right now, universities all over the country are in the zone, the Red Zone. A term used to describe the first 13 weeks of the fall semester. This is the period when students are at higher risk of being sexually assaulted or raped.

Red Zone article from UAA's newspaper.

"I tend to keep an eye out on weird stuff happening, but normally i just go on," said UAA student Mireya Baez.

Dr Lindsey Blumenstein is an Assistant Professor and Researcher with the Justice Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She's constantly teaching and hearing from her students on the topic of sexual assault and domestic violence.

"When a student sits down and tells you their personal story, your first thought, at least from my perspective is 'i just want to fix it.' Every time I've taught it, without fail, students come to me and tell me their experiences," said Blumenstein.

While not a victim herself, Blumentstein still remembers what it was like to be a young, impressionable female college student.

"A college freshmen who witnessed things and didn't know what to do or have people touching me unwantedly in a bar and not knowing what to do and it's not okay," she said.

UAA is referred to as more of a commuter campus, meaning students are also community members. Alaska has some of the highest rates in the country when it comes to sexual violence against women. So, now we're not just talking students, we're also talking about an entire community.

"When I teach my intro class which often are made up of mostly freshmen, you know, they hear these statistics and think, oh my goodness," said Blumenstein.

To put some of those statistics in perspective, the latest Campus Climate Survey says one in ten UAA students has been a victim of sexual violence. Here in Anchorage, one in 28 women have experienced sexual violence in the past year. Then there's this number, three in 10. Three women will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetimes and most likely by someone they know.

"I think the idea that it's always going to be this stranger is a bad idea to put into a person's head because it's actually more likely to be somebody you're in a relationship with or somebody you were in a relationship with," said Blumenstein.

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