Raising “Red Zone” Awareness for College Students

September 11, 2023
General News & Announcements
5 min read


The beginning of the fall semester for college students is an exciting time, but it can also be a dangerous time. Known as the ‘Red Zone,’ the time from late August until Thanksgiving break sees an increase in sexual assaults against college students. During this time, students are particularly vulnerable to sexual misconduct due to social gatherings, unfamiliar environments, and transitions.

Nikki Olson, RN at Mount Nittany Medical Center recently spoke with two local media outlets about the role Mount Nittany Health plays in caring for sexual assault victims during the Red Zone and throughout the year.

In an interview with WTAJ, Nicki explained the rigorous training the Mount Nittany Medical Center Emergency Department nurses complete so they can provide compassionate care to the victims. “We go through a 40-hour didactic class that teaches how to perform an exam, and how to collect evidence,” Olson said. “Also, how to testify in court and the importance of documentation.”

The Red Zone was also featured on StateCollege.com.  They highlighted that Mount Nittany Medical Center is a safe place for sexual assault survivors to report such incidents without judgment. “We don’t judge. We just want to make sure that you’re OK,” said Nicki, “That is our number one concern - that you’re OK.”

“Mount Nittany Health wants to do everything we can to make what is the worst day of the patient’s life a little less painful,” said Nicki.

Nikki is the Sexual Assault Program Coordinator at Mount Nittany Medical Center and has more than two decades of experience caring for sexual assault patients. She provides care for survivors in the emergency department, and teaches the program to other nurses to become certified as sexual assault forensic examiners. Every nurse in Mount Nittany Health's emergency department is trained as a sexual assault forensic examiner, ready to serve the community when needed.

Read the full stories:

WTAJ: RED ZONE: Why college students are at a higher risk of sexual assault during the fall semester: https://www.wtaj.com/news/local-news/red-zone-why-college-students-are-at-a-higher-risk-of-sexual-assault-during-the-fall-semester/

StateCollege.com: During ‘Red Zone’ and Year-Round, Mount Nittany ER Nurses Help Sexual Assault Survivors: https://www.statecollege.com/articles/local-news/during-red-zone-and-year-round-mount-nittany-er-nurses-help-sexual-assault-survivors/

If you or someone you know has experienced dating or domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please call Centre Safe at 814.234.5050 or toll-free at 1.877.234.5050.

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