Risk reduction for being sexually assaulted:
Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault! All students can play a role in combating sexual assault by holding perpetrators accountable for their actions, supporting the rights and choices of those who have been assaulted, and making full use of campus resources to educate themselves on this serious problem. However, there are some actions one can take to help reduce the risk of being assaulted.
- Be aware you can be a victim! Sexual assault shows no bias for gender, socioeconomic status, race, physical characteristics, etc. It CAN happen to you!
- Be assertive and confident. Confrontational words and behaviors can effectively deter some assailants.
- Trust your instincts!
- Communicate your boundaries clearly and firmly. If you sense a conflict between your sexual expectations and someone else’s, then discuss it. But, remember, you do not need to change your expectations just to please someone else.
- Alcohol and drugs affect your behaviors and limit your ability to make smart decisions. Know your limits! If you know you will be drinking, plan ahead and make arrangements to get home safely.
- Be aware of your surroundings—especially public places in which you have no control over who is there (i.e Laundromat, parking lot, elevator, etc.) Also be aware in new or unfamiliar situations.
- Be willing to scream or yell if someone attempts to assault you. Do not be afraid of “making waves” or calling attention to your situation.
- Never leave your beverage unattended or accept a drink from an open container.
- When you go to a party or club, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, watch out for each other; and leave together.
Risk reduction for committing a sexual offense:
Because sexual misconduct can have serious social, academic, and legal consequences for the perpetrator as well as the victim, reduce your risk of committing a sexual offense by following these simple rules:
- Avoid use of substances that may cloud your judgment. Also, avoid sexual activity with someone whose judgment is impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- Be aware of others’ limits and expectations. Respect their boundaries
- If someone says NO to your sexual advances, recognize that it is not a rejection of you as a person.
- Make sure you have a person’s complete consent before engaging in sexual activity. Never pressure, plead, or force a person to have sex.
- If you feel you are getting “mixed messages” from a potential sex partner, ask for clarification.
- Pay attention to verbal indicators, tone of voice, body language, etc. If any one of these things indicates reluctance or uncertainty, STOP and walk away.
- Know that a person who initially desires sex has the right to change their mind at any time, and you are obligated to respect that decision. While you may not be able to control your sexual desires, you CAN control your actions.
- Don’t assume that a person wants to have sex with you just because of the way they dress or that they may flirt with you. Also, don’t assume that just because a person has had sex with you before, they are willing to have sex again.
- Realize that a person can consent to kissing or other sexual activity WITHOUT consenting to intercourse and/or oral sex.