The Public Safety Department offers safety tips on how to prevent sexual assault.
Don’t Be a Victim of Sexual Assault
- When you’re preparing for a date or a party, take care of yourself first. Have enough money to pay for your meal and transportation home, if necessary. Have your cell phone charged and with you.
- At parties and bars, keep a friend in sight. Watch out for each other, and check in from time to time to make sure you’re both comfortable with how things are going.
- Trust your instincts. If you find yourself in a situation where something feels wrong, look for a way out of the situation—move closer to other people or seek out a safe way to get home.
- Don’t ignore sudden feelings of mistrust just because you have known someone for a long time. You can’t tell if a person has the potential to rape based on past behaviors.
- Never leave a drink unattended or accept a drink that you did not see poured. Date-rape drugs can leave you unable to protect yourself, or even know what is happening to you.
- If you’re going to drink, stop when you begin to feel the effects of alcohol. The more you drink, the harder it is to know when to stop. When you’re drunk, you are more vulnerable.
- Take assertiveness training and self-defense classes. Passive and submissive behaviors can be dangerous. If you become frightened, do your best to be assertive. Speak loudly and firmly or yell.
- If you are sexually assaulted, go to a clinic or emergency room immediately. You can decide later whether or not to press charges, but it is critical that you receive medical attention and caring support as soon as possible.
Don’t Be Accused of Sexual Assault
- First, be respectful. Anytime you are uncertain whether your partner is comfortable with your behavior, ask! You can simply say, “Are you okay with this?” “No” means no. What’s more, assume that “I’m not sure” also means no.
- Understand that a person who is drunk is not legally capable of giving consent. If the other person is not capable of making an informed decision, do not have sex.
- Recognize that your sexual needs do not give you the right to do whatever you want. Any sexual activity should be mutually desired.
- If you’re going to drink, do so responsibly. Most sexual assaults on college campuses follow drinking by one or both individuals. In addition, be aware of how alcohol affects you. If drinking makes you more aggressive, you could be in danger of sexually assaulting someone. Being drunk is not a defense for committing sexual assault.
- If your friend or roommate is sexually assaulting someone, do what you can to stop the assault. You can be charged with complicity if you know about an assault and fail to intervene.
- Be aware that committing rape has severe consequences. For your victim, there can be years of emotional trauma, unwarranted guilt, and fear. For you, sexual assault can lead to criminal charges, attorney expenses, and prison. For both of you, a sexual assault can result in disease, pregnancy, and social stigma. An act of non consensual sex is not worth years of regret.