Huntsville police say mental preparedness and practice are the best way to take precautions against sexual assault

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.-- Sexual assaults can happen anywhere, but we seem to see a lot of them on college campuses. WHNT News 19 took action and spoke with Huntsville police about some safety precautions you can put into practice that might make a big difference should this ever happen to you.

On average, a sexual assault happens in America every two minutes. The worst thing you can do is think it will never happen to you. Huntsville police said mental preparedness and practice are key ways to be ready so that it becomes instinct if you find yourself in this situation.

"No matter what you're gonna carry, whether it be a whistle, whether it be a weapon, whether it be some type of pepper spray, the best thing you can do is know how to use it," said Lt. Stacy Bates.

Lt. Stacy Bates said being aware of your surroundings is key.

"On college campuses, especially after hours when there's not a lot of people around, definitely think about taking someone with you, don't be in places you're not familiar with by yourself, try to stay in well-lit areas," he said.

He also said taking advantage of campus programs and security, like police escorts, are great precautions to take.

"When you're walking out to your car alone at night, in a secluded area, have your keys in your hand, you know use your car alarm if you need to draw attention to yourself if you feel like someone's approaching you and its making you uncomfortable," said Lt. Bates.

No matter where you go to school, or what your campus is like, this could happen to you. Police want you to be prepared and they say the best way to do that is to reach out and be proactive about your own safety.

Lt. Bates also encourages students to look into what their campus protocols are like, and be familiar with what safety measures are available to them. He also said if you still don't feel prepared to handle an attack, self-defense classes are a great resource. UAH and the Madison Police Department both offer self-defense classes.