The year 2020 was weird in a lot of ways. With the influx of and fear surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries issued stay-at-home orders, requiring all citizens who didn’t work jobs that were considered “essential” to only leave their houses for specific reasons, like shopping for food. Given this, it would be assumed that overall, the crime rates would drop, considering there were fewer people interacting with each other and more people at home to safeguard their belongings. However, the crime data collected from 2020 shows the opposite; compared to 2019, crime in most larger cities actually increased. Frighteningly, this trend hasn’t reversed just yet, and so far crime continues to rise. One city that was affected by the growing crime rate is the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. The District of Columbia has always had a reputation as a dangerous city. In the 1990s, it was known as the nation’s “murder capital” when the homicide rate peaked at 80.6 murders per 100,000 residents.
Events like those that occurred at Columbine High School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are so frightening because they show how vulnerable students in America can be. The shootings at these schools, two of the bloodiest in twenty-five years, show that schools are no longer the safe havens they once were. There is an epidemic of violence across the country, and it seems almost daily, the news is reporting on yet another school shooting and naming the lives cut down far too early.
While it’s impossible to predict who may be the next school shooter, there are a number of warning signs that could point to a potential future threat. An article from 2018 in Psychology Today, written by George S. Everly, Jr. PhD, outlined seven factors of psychology that could point to a school shooter.
Leigh had been waiting for Mr. Right for what seemed like her entire life. Sure, she had gotten close in the past – she had her high school sweetheart, Sean, and a few serious relationships in college, but she hadn’t met “the one” yet and decided to change things up. Her friends had tried all of the different dating apps and gone out with a few guys, and while their expectations varied date to date, they seemed to be having a good time doing it and the guys they would meet were typically genuinely nice.
“Why not?” Leigh asked herself. She had gone the traditional route in the past but no one was fully compatible with her – maybe a “pre-screening” of their dating profile prior to meeting them would yield better results, so she downloaded a few dating apps to try them out.
Many adults can remember a time when they were picked on growing up. Whether they were made fun of for the clothes they wore, the games they liked, or the way they spoke, almost everyone has an example from their youth of being teased in some way or another. Though it didn’t feel like it at the time, these are all examples of bullying, and if left unchecked, it can get worse and worse.
But just as technology has advanced, so too has bullying. With the rise of sites like Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat, young kids are facing bullies and harassers even when they are home.
According to DoSomething.org, an organization that encourages youth to involve themselves in social change, roughly 37% of children aged 12 to 17 have suffered some sort of bullying online. This stat is made worse with that fact that young people who are the targets of cyberbullying are more likely to commit self-harm and contemplate suicide than those who are not.
A survey conducted in 2014 on the topic of street harassment discovered that 65% of women in the United States have been victimized by street harassment in some way. Of those, upwards of 23% had been sexually assaulted or been physically threatened in some manner. A similar study found that 90% of women in Britain had experienced street harassment before the age of 17.
What is Street Harassment?
What constitutes street harassment? Most street harassment is verbal, coming in the form of lewd or other unwelcome comments, whistling or kissing noises, or claims that someone doesn’t belong in a public space. Sometimes, though, street harassment escalates to the physical, with blocking someone’s path, making vulgar gestures, and grabbing or groping.
Safety was the last thing on most people’s minds before the dangers of the cyber world emerged. During the days of dial-up, online chat rooms equaled significant anonymity. Chat rooms made catfishing the most common internet scam. Most scams were new to people, and shows like “To Catch a Predator” and “Catfish” had exposed internet predators’ minds and typical actions.
People have learned through the exploration of social media that people can pretend to be whoever they want. A celebrity, a friend, a family member, or a potential mate. Since then, the games haven’t changed, but the players are smarter. Predators must be more creative and funnel through victims, mostly older people, children, and young adults. The things we do on social media and the internet often blend into our physical realities. It is imperative to take internet safety seriously and teach children the importance of privacy and ways to protect themselves from scammers and predators that lurk on every digital platform imaginable.
When most people hear the phrase “sexual assault,” they think of a woman being attacked in dark alley by a stranger in a ski mask. Or it might bring to mind a subway groper or a wild-haired man on a bus who presses himself against a woman. The reality, though, is much different. Most sexual assaults or rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, roughly 80% of all sexual assault victims are attacked by an acquaintance. That could be someone they know in passing, someone they’d consider a friend, or someone that would be labeled an intimate partner. The numbers on acquaintance rape varies, and some organizations list a lower percentage of victims. For example, the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) states that roughly 70% of rape victims know their attacker, while New Hope, a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts that serves victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse, show that acquaintance rape makes up roughly two-thirds of sexual assault.
Dating apps were fun and exciting for Cara. She was newly single and only wanted attention and someone to hang out with when her friends were busy. She took time to scroll through all of the eligible bachelors in the area. Cara matched with a man who was slightly older than her but not too old. Mike Jameson was thirty-three, enjoyed hiking, and loved to visit rooftop bars on the weekends. Mike looked warm, friendly, and interesting. After a week of surface questions and light jokes, Mike asked Cara to meet him at a coffee shop twenty minutes from her. Cara agreed and was excited to see if he was just as funny and charming in person as he was over the app. This wasn’t the first time Cara met someone offline, so she wasn’t too concerned with safety since they were meeting in a busy space during the day. Cara and Mike continued their conversations through text which made her feel even more comfortable. Mike mentioned that he also contributed to a local park by creating a graffiti piece.
Just as technology evolves, so too do scammers and their tricks. Sometimes, something as simple as an email from a loved one can be a nefarious ruse to part you from your hard-earned money. Many people can easily fall victim to online scams, such as our fictitious example, whom we’ll call Margaret. The most important thing in Margaret’s life was her family. She was a single mother, and often worked two jobs to raise her son and daughter. She struggled throughout their young lives when money was a necessity to keep them occupied. When the children were born, Margaret had no idea enriching the lives of young ones could be so expensive, but as they grew up, she learned a hard lesson: that everything in life came with a price tag.
Vacationing is exciting. Visiting different places and seeing exotic locales is a thrill that many people save for years to be able to experience. However, in any new place you visit, there are always dangers lurking around every corner. Being able to spot those dangers and avoid them is the best way to ensure your vacation is a fun and fulfilling one. Here are ten tips to keep you safe on your next getaway. There’s probably an area of your hometown that you avoid because it’s “not the safest neighborhood.” Most cities have areas like this. They’re run down, rampant with crime, and nowhere for a vacationer to be visiting. Before you board that plane, research the city or country you’re going to so that you can know where not to visit while away.
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