By Anna Chiaradonna || Staff Writer

The first semester of college is a thrilling experience filled with budding friendships, boundless learning opportunities, and an expanded sense of individuality. What runs concurrently with this emerging stage of independence, however, is what researchers refer to as “The Red Zone,” a time of statistically heightened instances of sexual assault that happens during the first semester of college. 

Research has found that 50% of college sexual assault cases occur during The Red Zone, especially for students who are new to campus and aren’t thoroughly taught the definition of consent. Education on consent is crucial to preventing sexual assault. A study conducted by the CDC found that consent education reduced sexual violence, yet still only 58% of colleges provide holistic consent education. 

Comprehensive consent education goes beyond what consensual sex is and is not; it ventures into realms of power imbalances, gendered stereotypes, coercion, and more. While critical before students arrive on campus, this education should not halt after November. During this period of time, rather, campus officials and students should be aware of specific risk factors. Certainly, The Red Zone is not the only time people should be concerned about sexual assault. 13% of all college students are raped or sexually assaulted by physical force, violence or incapacitation, according to statistics gathered by RAINN.

F&M has multiple education opportunities for students and staff: bystander education workshops to teach bystander intervention skills to safely prevent violent situations before they happen, sexual violence prevention and response workshops, healthy relationships workshops, and consent 101 workshops

You are not alone. Please consult the available resources below: 

Resources available year-round: 

  • F&M Public Safety: (717) 358-3939 
  • YWCA 24-Hour Sexual Assault Hotline (confidential): (717) 392-7273 
  • 911 

Resources available during the academic year: 

  • F&M Public Safety: (717) 358-3939 25 
  • F&M Counseling Services (confidential): (717) 544-9051 
  • F&M Health Services (confidential): (717) 544-9051 
  • YWCA 24-Hour Sexual Assault Hotline (confidential): (717) 392-7273
  • Office of Student Accessibility Services (717) 358-3989

Sophomore Anna Chiaradonna is a Staff Writer. Her email is