Whether or not you just gained admission to a tertiary institution, security is fundamental to have your peace of mind and your overall success as a student. A healthy mind can only thrive in a healthy body. This article will guide you on security tips for tertiary students in Ghana and help you achieve your dreams in the future.
5 basic security tips for tertiary students in Ghana
Consider these 5 security tips to stay safe on campus.
Lock your doors and windows
This is one of the simplest things you can do to avoid theft. If your door is locked, then the burglar either has to try kicking the door open to your car and room which will create noise and draw the attention of others; when the robber tries to jimmy or pick the lock this can be time-consuming and can require tools which he may not have or find a different way in. All this can also prove to be so time-consuming that the police may be called to the scene before he or she escapes.
If you still feel insecure about your items being left out in your locked room when you are out you can find a carpenter to help you make a secret compartment hidden somewhere in your room or you could consider installing a portable battery-powered security camera to ensure room security after obtaining the consent of your roommate (if you have one); also avoid storing valuables in open sight.
2. Avoid drinking in excess
There’s a difference between drinking and drinking to excess, since consuming large amounts of alcohol can make you an easier target for a criminal. Not all university students choose to drink on campus. However, if you do choose to drink once you’ve hit that monumental age of 18, there are some things for you to keep in mind so you can stay safe while still having fun.
Security tips for tertiary students in Ghana, on drinking: if you do choose to drink we have a couple of tips for you.
- keep a close eye on your drink (someone can try to spike your drink), always have a plan to get to your room, eat something before or while drinking, track how much you consume, know where that drink comes from, never leave your drinks unattended if you need to leave the bar, drink everything before leaving ( if you can handle your alcohol), or if you do leave your drink unattended don’t drink it when you get back, “Rule of thumb – one drink per hour”, do not guzzle your alcohol, and one more tip, Don’t drive after drinking.
3. Use the buddy system
Know that there is safety in numbers, so consider walking with a friend or a group, especially at night. Being in groups of two or more can significantly decrease the odds of you being targeted or at least, ensure you have someone with you should something happen.
Security tips for tertiary students in Ghana on walking alone: if you find yourself walking alone at night always use well light up paths, pay attention to your surroundings, walk quickly and with confidence, make sure you are familiar with the path you are using, make sure someone else knows your plans ( call or text them especially if you feel unsafe), keep your hands free (do not be on your phone), avoid suspicious people; you can also wear reflective clothing to prevent accidents (or carry a reflective item).
4. Remain calm and do not resist
There can be unfortunate cases where you get accosted by robbers outside or in your hostel like the students in the Kumasi Technical University students whose hostels were raided by robbers. If you should find yourself getting robbed remember the acronym “RAFM”
“R”- Remain calm. We know being in such a situation can stress you out and make you nervous but try as much as possible to calm yourself (if praying in your mind can help, do that).
“A”- Assure the robber in a calm tone that you will cooperate and take no action that may jeopardize your safety. Don’t make any quick or unexpected movements.
“F”- Follow the robber’s directions, but do not offer more than what they ask for. Don’t argue. If you have to move or reach into your pockets to give the robber what they want, tell them what you are going to do and why.
“M”- Make mental notes of the robber’s appearance. So that you can use it to fill out a police report. Take note of their features including skin colour, age, height, hair and eye colour, clothing, etc Is there anything unusual about their appearances such as scars or tattoos? Carefully listen to any communication they may have with each other; strange sounds, coded names, sign language, nicknames and locations. Immediately relocate to a safe environment and report the incident.
What to do after an attack
This can happen in the form of robbery, injury or sexual assault, in either case, remember that there are laws and these laws are there to help you.
If you have been robbed and or injured, this is what you should do
Immediately find a safe location, then report the crime (if you are close to the university security booth go there for safety). If you were injured in the attack but still conscious and in an isolated area, move to an area with people and ask someone to stay with you while you wait for help. If there are any witnesses, ask them to remain with you until the officers arrive. If they must leave, write down their name, address and telephone number if possible.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, consider these:
Sexual abuse is traumatizing and as such perpetrators should be dealt with. There is no excuse for this, no matter the circumstance. Rapists usually try to instil fear by making victims believe that if they report, they will die or that their family members will be in grave danger. Don’t let this be your story, report them to get the necessary help and protect future victims.
Consider the following tips:
1. Ensure your own safety and well-being
This should be the most important factor as most people record that the aftermath of the assault left them feeling shocked, in a state of derealization, and a sense of being overwhelmed. If you’re in an isolated area, move to an area with people and ask someone for help if you feel comfortable telling them what happened.
Call either someone you trust or the right authorities (The Police, campus security). You can ask the person to stay with you while you wait for help. Try not to panic, and remember that what happened was not your fault. Rapists usually try to instil fear by telling them that if they report, they will die or that they will kill their family members; this leads to so many cases not being reported.
FACT: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows: a neighbour, friend, acquaintance, co-worker, classmate, spouse, partner or ex-partner. According to the Inside Southern Journal, approximately 80% of women reporting sexual assaults knew their assailants.
MYTH: Sexual assault only happens in dark, secluded places. It can happen in broad daylight like the unfortunate incident that happened to Amina on the Legon campus when she was assaulted by thirteen students who were arrested and prosecuted.
2. Consider your medical options
Many survivors of assault may be reluctant to pursue medical attention in the immediate wake of a sexual assault. It is ultimately up to you to decide what to do in accordance with your own physical, psychological and emotional needs. If you can find a hospital or get a rape testing kit.
In cases where the Police Station where the case was reported does not have a Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), the victim will be given an extract to the nearest station where a unit can be found.
The victim will also be given a medical request form, which you will have to take to a public hospital to be examined. Unfortunately, the medical examinations are not free; victims have to pay GHC300.00 to GHC1000.00, depending on the severity of the case.
Did you know: According to a study done by the World Health Organisation, 1 out of every 3 women counted have faced some form of sexual violence, especially women aged between 15 to 49 years. Sexual abuse affects the mental, physical and psychological well-being of women.
3. Consider your legal options
In as much as reporting to get justice served does not undo the trauma of being sexually abused, perpetrators have to suffer some form of punishment, even death. You could save other innocent people from the grasp of such people. If each survivor does this, many more women and children will be safer. Let’s be each other’s keepers whether or not we’ve been victims. If you are in need of legal defence check out the scales of approved fees by the Ghana Bar Association (GBA)
5. Attend safety classes and review training videos
Some tertiary universities offer free safety courses and training videos to students, staff and faculty; so look into it if your school offers such classes. If your campus does not have one try reviewing online training videos on what to do if you find yourself in case of emergency.
Check out this video: 5 Self-Defense Moves Every Woman Should Know | HER Network
Security tips for tertiary students in Ghana: If you really need a safety class on campus you could write to your school administration or your church (explaining why there is a dire need for one) or you and your friends could come together and organize one.
The University experience can be incredible and rewarding. But as busy as you’ll be with adjusting to independence, lectures, and new friends, don’t forget to stay safe and maintain awareness and above all trust your intuition. Following these 5 simple security tips for tertiary students in Ghana can significantly increase your chances of having a safe and successful student life.