TYLER (KYTX) - College student orientations are happening all over east Texas, and they are giving students a preview of what college life is like. For many, going out to parties is often a major part of it. Experts say once students are on college campuses -- they're more at risk for experiencing -- or witnessing a sexual assault.
CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey explains how students can work to keep themselves and their friends safe.
Aside from the daily routine of going to class, a major part of being a college student involves meeting new people and experiencing new things...
UT Tyler student Taylor Hernandez is approaching her senior year of college. Since freshman year, she's learned a few things about all those social events.
"Going in groups is really important, because you don't want to encounters someone who would take advantage of you in anyway," she said.
Sexual assault prevention experts say her way of thinking is the way to go. Representatives from the New Jersey based non-profit "One in Four" travel the country to educate the public --particularly college students-- on rape prevention.
President John Foubert said nearly five percent of college women experience rape or attempted rape.
"Once you're on a college campus, you're at much higher risk for experiencing things like sexual assault," he said.
In addition to keeping friends close by, it's also important for students to operate as bystanders -- who can safely intervene and prevent a rape from happening.
"Just step up and say 'oh so you're taking care of her, let me help you less of a confrontational way."
Foubert said most sexual assault involve alcohol. And in many cases drinks are tainted with date rape drugs like Rohypnol. A new company is working to distribute a lighter size reusable date rape drug detector called PD. ID or personal drink id. If funding for the product stays on schedule, it's expected to be released in April.
Hernandez said if she happens to leave her drink unattended, she tosses it, saying it's not worth the risk.