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Risk Reduction Strategies:

  • Limit your use of alcohol. (link to alcohol and sexual assault)  Know your limits and stick to them.  Excessive use of alcohol poses the greatest risk factor for being a victim of sexual violence and makes it more difficult to avoid or escape an assault.
  • Be aware of “date rape drugs”.  Do not leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from someone you do not know. “Dosing” drink happens in bars and at parties; it involved alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and even water.
  •  Go out in groups and come home in groups.  Do not leave friends behind.
  • Use a “sober buddy system”; agree that one person will stay sober and watch out for others and actively step in when someone is putting themselves at risk.
  • Stay in public places; do not wander off with someone you have just met.
  • Trust your feelings.  If you feel threatened, intimidated or afraid, get out of the situation.  Put your safety first; do not be concerned with what others may think of you. If you need help, ask for help.
  • If someone tries to force you to do something you do not want to do, actively resist – hit, kick, scream, and run away.  Actively resisting greatly reduces the chance of your being sexually assaulted.
  •  Walk in well-traveled and well lit pathways.
  • Make use of available public transportation  and escort service– available free of charge to students with a student ID:
  • Make sure you have active sober consent for all sexual activity.  Communicate clearly; state your sexual desires and limits. Know before going out what your sexual limits are.
  • Ask for clarification if you are getting mixed messages.  Don’t guess about what your partner may or may not want.
  • Know that having sex with someone who is drunk is sexual assault/rape
  • Be prepared to clarify any misperceptions based on gestures, postures, tone of voice or style of dress.
  • Pay attention to criticism, humiliation, loss of temper, threats and any controlling or possessive behavior.  These characteristics are often associated with violence in a relationship.

Bystander intervention  

Making a difference – your role in sexual violence prevention.

Every day we witness situations in which someone makes an inappropriate sexual comment or perpetrates sexual harassment or sexual violence.  Sometimes we say or do something, but sometimes we don’t.  Sexual violence impacts our entire community and we all play a role in making this a safe, accepting and supportive campus community.  We all have a broad range of opportunities to intervene that can be as simple as a word here or there, or more involved behaviors that let people know that you will take action.

Questions to ask before taking action:

  • Is there a problem or is this a high risk situation?
    • High risk situations often involve excessive use of alcohol, unwanted touching, attempts to isolate someone from their friends/others, pressuring someone to drink
  • Is there someone who needs help?
    • Is someone asking for help?  Does someone look like they could be harmed?
  • Am I, and others, part of the solution?          
    • Is there something I can do that can change this situation?
  • Can I keep myself safe?  Can I intervene without being hurt?  Would group intervention be safer?
    • If the answer is “no”; call someone who can intervene safely – the police, a university staff person, the party host.
  • What are my options?
    • We often think of major heroic acts, but often something simple can make a difference.
    • Ask – are you OK?  Do you need help:?
    • Interrupt the actions with distractions: Where’s the bathroom?  Aren’t you in my Communication class?  Have you seen Joe? 
    • Use you cell phone – call the individual; call their friends and let them know what is happening.
    • Confront the individual who is potentially doing harm, let them know “that’s not cool”; get the host to ask them to leave.
    • Simply draw attention to what is happening.
  • Are there others I can get to join me, or that I can call on for help?
    • Can your friends help, can the potential victim’s friends help;  are there others who notice what is happening.  Typically if you act, others will follow.
  • What are the benefits/costs for taking action/not taking action?
    • Can I life with the regrets of doing nothing if something happens?
    • Will I feel good about taking some action and making a difference.

We all play a role in preventing sexual violence. There are many opportunities to make a difference in small ways. There are many ways to speak up or take action, not just one “right” way.

Always consider the consequences; if there is immediate danger to you or others, call 911.

2018-01-30T10:32:55.397-06:00 2018