nonoThe latest report on sexual assault on campus tells us that one in four female students will experience a sexual assault.

Every time I read these statistics I wonder if the colleges have taught these young women how to physically defend themselves. I know many women who take boxing or other how-to-fight lessons. One isn’t safe with this kind of protection against a gun or knife, but college boys are unlikely to have either. A few strategic blows or kicks will make most young men go away.

Observers point out that when attacked, many young women have had so much alcohol they can’t box or even stand up. If this is the case, they should be fully informed on what alcohol is doing to them. Maybe some will stop binging on alcohol. Obviously, alcohol users are more likely to be victims of dating violence than non-drinkers.

When women and men drink at the same rate, women are at higher risk than men for liver, brain and heart damage. Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption increases their risk for breast cancer. Women become more impaired than males drinking the equivalent amount. Choosing to drink heavily is dangerous. When I learned how bad alcohol was for me, I gave up drinking.

Many women of my generation did not know for a long time that smoking was dangerous. When we found out, most of us stopped. Many younger women today know how dangerous smoking is, but still smoke. Those same women may also ignore the dangers of drinking. It’s hard to understand why. If the possibility of assault doesn’t persuade one to give up drinking alcohol, the probability of severe illness should. Abandoning cigarettes and alcohol at one time can lengthen their lives and make them healthier. I know. I did it.