PREVENTING SEXUAL VIOLENCE
There are some practical steps you can take that may decrease the risk of sexual assault.
- Express your expectations and limits clearly before you get into a sexual situation.
- Limit alcohol and drug use. They make it more difficult for you to be in control. Never ride with someone who has used alcohol or drugs.
- Avoid meeting in secluded places and walking alone. If you are concerned, ask campus security to escort you.
- Try to be aware of attitudes that your date expresses concerning women or men: hostility, unrealistic views of women or men and/or viewing people as "sex objects."
- Use assertive language such as, "I feel uncomfortable when you don’t listen to me or when you touch me like that."
- Scream "fire" (rather than "rape" or "help"), if you need assistance.
- Be alert to what is happening around you.
These suggestions may help you to reduce risk for being accused of sexual misconduct.
- Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
- Understand and respect personal boundaries.
- DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent; about someone’s sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.
- Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
- Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if they did it to themselves.
- Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don’t abuse that power.
- Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.
- Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.
Bystander intervention means safe and positive options that may be carried out by an individual(s) to prevent harm or intervene. There are four types of bystander intervention we can choose to act out to assist a person who is at risk of an unsafe situation:
- Direct - Directly taking action to intervene in a situation.
- Stepping in to take an intoxicated friend home.
- Watching a friend's drink while they are in the bathroom.
- Asking questions such as: “Hey, are you OK? Do you need help?”
- Delegate - Getting another person to intervene in a situation.
- Calling Public Safety or local police.
- Asking a friend to assist you in finding a ride for someone.
- Asking the host of the party, or a bouncer at a bar, to ask someone to leave.
- Distract - Creating a situation to distract to interrupt precursors to violence to prevent harmful situations from occurring.
- “Hey, I think your car is getting towed!”
- Spilling a drink.
- Delay - Creating an opportunity to check in with someone to prevent a harmful situation from occurring.
- Use a distracting technique, then ask the person to go to the bathroom with you or to get another drink so you can check in “Are you OK? Do you need any help?”
- Sending a friend a text when you see them leave with someone to ask if they are OK or if they need help getting out of a situation.