There have been seven rapes reported in Isla Vista since the start of the school year.

The real number is probably higher. Rape victims often do not report the crime, especially if the victim knows the rapist. No one knows how many acquaintance rapes happen in I.V.

Besides rapes, there are also assaults and the senseless destruction of just about anything that isn’t nailed down – and a great deal that is.

To live in I.V. is to grow tired of defending it. Friends and relatives don’t know why this town can be a wonderful place to live. They do not think of a small town built for pedestrians, a place of familiar faces and strangers throwing Frisbees to each other. They think of parties and violence.

People who live here are sick of hearing I.V. criticized – but there is something wrong with this town.

Isla Vista has a reputation as a party town, a place where there are no rules. The reputation attracts some indifferent students but most of the crime is committed by out-of-towners, high school and college-aged people who want to party without consequences and trash someone else’s home.

It’s Candyland. For morons.

There is very little the university or the county can do without ruining the things that make I.V. special. The people who live here, however, can do something. They can act like the adults they are and expect others to do the same.

Anyone who is in Isla Vista to go to college has enough touching neurons to act like an adult. Even if you don’t act like an adult, you can still suffer adult consequences: beatings, rape and death[DN1].

Victims are not to blame; careless behavior does not justify violence. A rapist is a rapist no matter who had what to drink or who led whom on.

No woman should feel threatened by strangers or by her friends. This should go without saying, but until it does, there are a few things women can do to keep themselves safe. Women can watch how much they drink and never accept unsafe drinks. Women can make sure they don’t walk alone. Women can carry pepper spray and take self-defense courses. Women can and should yell loudly as soon as anyone does anything unwelcome. And if something happens, they must report the crime, so the criminals can be stopped.

More importantly, there are things every person in Isla Vista should do.

Look after your friends. Don’t let them drink too much or get into unsafe situations. While you are not their parent, you are their friend. Act accordingly.

Look after strangers in need, too. You may be one someday, and they are all human beings besides.

Call the cops, yell for the cops and get the cops involved. People who get arrested for public drunkenness are not victims of the police. They are potential victims and criminals.

If you alert the police to a stumbling drunk woman, you are not narcing her out to The Man. You are protecting her. The only other moral choice is to see her home safely yourself.

If you call the cops on some primitive screwhead, you are not killing the party vibe. You are protecting everyone. Brickwits who run down the street yelling, lighting couches on fire or starting fights need to be taken out of circulation for a little while.

If you care about the things that are right with this town, do your part to stop the things that are wrong[DN2].