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Students attend safety screenings

Terrie Antico of the Center for Women's Safety Education (CWSE) conducted two public prescreenings last week of a safety education program intended to teach students how to protect themselves against assault.

The program is a condition of a $1000 grant from the MIT Community Service Fund to the CWSE, a branch of the Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women, according to Campus Police Lieutenant Anne P. Glavin.

Antico said the CWSE allocated $500 of the grant for ten presentations of the safety education program to MIT students, staff and faculty.

The purpose of the prescreenings was to interest MIT groups in sponsoring the remaining eight lectures by providing a location and an audience, Antico explained. The Campus Police sponsored the two prescreenings, held in the Julius A. Stratton '23 Student Center.

Antico based her hour-long lecture on a five-step safety cycle she formulated to guide people through events that make them uncomfortable or afraid.

The first step of the cycle is awareness. Antico recommends looking up every once in a while in any public situation and paying attention to one's environment as ways of increasing awareness. "What we need to do is make a conscious effort to look up," she said.

Antico cited trusting one's own feelings about a person or situation as the second step of the safety cycle. People can be swayed by friends to discount a sense of discomfort, Antico said. But "I don't question that sense. I accept it," she added.

"Look for safety resources available in the situation" as the third step, she continued. The last two steps of the safety cycle involve using the safety resources and completing a follow-up so that the dangerous situation will not recur.

Antico emphasized that the program is not only for women and that men are just as vulnerable to crime.

Campus Police Officer Cheryl Vossmer, who was also present at the prescreening, discussed the relevance of Antico's advice to MIT students. She outlined precautions students can take to reduce their chances of becoming victims of crime. For example, students should not read while walking in public places because this diminishes awareness.