The murders of Iowa State University Student Celia Barquin Arozamena last week and of University of Iowa Student Mollie Tibbetts last July has more women thinking of personal safety. Elizabeth Power is with the Women’s Center for Advancement in Omaha and is seeing more people walk through their doors wanting to talk about ways to keep themselves safe.
Power says, “People are feeling more comfortable talking about it. it is less taboo and then we do start to see these very violent crimes become national news. People are going to stop to think, wait a second. That could be me next. How do I keep myself safe? This is going to be a record breaking year in the number of people that we serve.”
Power says safety is a difficult thing to address. Women can do everything possible to keep them safe but there are also people out there that do terrible and awful things. Their advice is to do what you feel comfortable with. That could include taking a self-defense class or carry pepper spray. They also recommend jogging or walk with a partner and avoid going out alone. If you have to make sure that someone knows of your whereabouts at all times.
Power says there is something a bit unusual about the two Iowa murders. Both of women were victims of “stranger crimes” meaning they didn’t know their attacker. Power says, “We know you are much more likely to be assaulted by someone you know than by a stranger. While those crimes absolutely do happen like we’ve seen, the chance of chances of being assaulted by someone you know is so much greater.”
The Women’s Center for Advancement is located at 3801 Harney Street in Omaha. Those wanting more information can call (402) 345-6555.