The “Red Zone” is a term used to identify a period of vulnerability for sexual assault involving new, incoming students. Some sources have identified the period as being the first six weeks of fall semester while others have identified the time frame as the first day that new fall students come to campus until Thanksgiving.
Several studies have supported this concept. Most notably, a 2008 study published in the Journal of American College Health found there were increased reports of unwanted sexual experiences in the first year of school, especially occurring early in the freshman year (Kimble, Neacsiu, Flack & Horner, 2008).
There is speculation as to why this phenomenon occurs. Among the reasons cited are:
- Freshmen are trying to fit in to the social scene on campus. As such, they may engage in new, risky behaviors at a time when they have not established a trusting support group.
- New students do not have full knowledge of local areas and groups with unfavorable safety records.
- With separation from parental supervision, freshmen may also experiment with alcohol and drugs. 97,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape (Hingson, Zha & Weitzman, 2009).
Monmouth University has multiple resources on campus to provide students with tips on adjusting to college life, finding friends that fit your interests, and safely having fun both on and off-campus.
Hingson, Zha & Weitzman. (2009). Magnitude of and trends in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18-24. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (Suppl. 16), 12-20.
Kimble, Neacsiu, Flack & Horner. (2008). Risk of unwanted sex for college women. Journal of American College Health, (57)3, 331-7.