The best and most effective way to prevent interpersonal violence around you is to stand up against a culture that trivializes rape and other forms of interpersonal violence. For more information on taking steps to make a positive impact on your campus culture, visit the sites linked at the bottom of the page.
There are also actions we can take to assist us in lessening the chance for direct interpersonal violence:
- Always be alert and aware of your surroundings, especially at night.
- Walk in well lighted areas.
- Avoid walking close to alleys, doorways and bushes.
- If possible, walk in pairs or a group.
- If you must walk at night, wear clothes and shoes that don’t restrict movement.
- If possible, avoid carrying bulky items.
- Always have your key in hand when approaching your parked vehicle.
- Before opening a car door, look into the vehicle.
- Check out both the front and back seat areas.
- Once in the car, lock the doors.
- Drive with the windows up or slightly open until you are safely on the open road.
All new students, newly hired employees and existing employees will be trained in primary prevention and awareness programs relating to sexual misconduct, domestic violence, stalking, dating violence, and related offenses.
At a minimum, that training will inform on the nature of prohibited conduct, the definitions of various prohibited behaviors, the definition of “consent” as applied by the institution, safe and positive options for bystander intervention in risky situations, means of recognizing signs of domestic violence and abusive behavior and ongoing prevention and awareness related issues.
In addition, that training will inform attendees of the relevant provisions of this rule for purpose of recognizing reporting instances of prohibited conduct.
The institution will provide ongoing training, programs, and preventions campaigns throughout the academic year. Programs and campaigns will include and are not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, bystander intervention, consent, and other related interpersonal violence topics. Educational information will be made available regarding risk reduction and recognizing warning signs of abusive behavior and how to avoid potential attacks.
Tips for Preventing Sexual Assault
Be Informed: While rape or sexual assault can happen to anyone, woman or man, and it is NEVER the victim’s fault, it is important to know that…
- Alcohol is a factor in almost all sexual assaults on college campuses.
- Many perpetrators of sexual assault are someone the victim knows.
- Sexual assaults can happen on a date or at a party.
Here are a few strategies that you can employ to minimize the risk of sexual assault:
1. Be aware of controlling behavior in your date or relationship. Rape or sexual assault is a crime of power and control. Most survivors recall feeling “uncomfortable” about some of their partner’s behaviors including:
- Intimidating stares.
- Degrading jokes or language.
- Refusal to respond to stated physical limits.
- Refusal to accept “no” as an answer, whether in a sexual context or otherwise.
- Insistence on making all of the “important” decisions about the relationship or date.
- An unwillingness to interact with you as a person rather than a sexual object.
- Extreme jealousy, possessiveness.
- Strong belief in sex role stereotypes.
- A history of violent behavior.
2. Define yourself and your sexual limits. Your sexual limits are yours alone to define. The first step in preventing abuse is to define your limits clearly to yourself and then to act quickly when a date or partner intentionally or unintentionally crosses your stated boundaries.
3. Set clear limits and be firm. It is your body, and no one has the right to force you to do anything you don’t want to do. Many people have difficulty confronting coercive behavior because they have been socialized to be “polite”. If you do not want to be touched, you can say, “Don’t touch me,” or “Stop it, I’m not enjoying this.” Tell your partner, “If you do not respect my wishes right now, I’m leaving” and then do it if your partner won’t listen.
4. Do not give mixed messages. Say “yes” when you mean “yes” and “no” when you mean “no.” Be sure that your words do not conflict with other signals such as eye contact, voice tone, posture or gestures. If you are unsure of whether your partner is giving you mixed messages, always err on the side of “no.”
5. Be independent and aware on your dates. Do not be totally passive. Have opinions about where to go. Think about appropriate places to meet, (not necessarily your room or your date’s; these are the most likely places for acquaintance rapes to occur).
6. Examine attitudes about money and power in the relationship. If your partner pays for the date, does it affect your ability to say “no?” Does your date have a sense of sexual entitlement attached to spending money on your relationship? If so, then you may consider paying your own way, or suggesting dates that do not involve money.
7. Avoid secluded places where could be vulnerable. If you are unsure of a new person in your life or if this person has exhibited some of the controlling behaviors listed above, suggest a group or double date. Meet in public places, where there are other people and where you feel comfortable. This is especially important at the beginning of a relationship until you feel you know the person better.
8. Trust your gut feelings. If you feel you are in a dangerous situation, or that you are being pressured, you’re probably right, and you need to respond. Many rape survivors report having had a “bad feeling” about the situation that led to their victimization. If a situation feels bad or you start to get nervous about your date’s behavior, confront the person immediately or leave as soon as possible.
9. If you feel pressured, coerced or fearful: protest loudly, leave and, go for help. Make a scene! Your best defense is to attract attention to the situation if you feel you are in trouble. In an attempt to be nice or avoid embarrassment, you may be reluctant to yell or run away to escape being attacked. If you are worried about hurting the aggressors’ feelings, remember, the aggressor is attempting to hurt you physically and psychologically.
10. Be aware that alcohol and drugs are often related to acquaintance rape. They compromise your ability (and your partner’s ability) to make responsible decisions. If you choose to drink alcohol, drink responsibly. Be able to get yourself home, and do not rely on others to “take care” of you.
11. Be aware of inequalities in the relationship. Rape is a violent display of power. Does your partner perceive differences in terms of money, experience and age as entitling them to power over you in the relationship? Someone who rapes chooses to enforce such power imbalances in a sexual context.
12. Practice self-defense. Knowing in advance how you would respond to a physical threat greatly increases your chances of escape. Anyone can learn self-defense and classes are often available free or at a low cost through schools and community context.
13. Challenge sexist attitudes that make rape acceptable. People often deny the assailant’s responsibility in a rape by blaming the victim. People may do this to convince themselves that only “bad” people are at risk for rape and that as long as they live their lives by certain moral standards, they are safe. The truth is that as long as one person is at risk for rape, everyone is a potential target of violence. People can resist rape by challenging the attitude that those who are raped “deserve” to be victimized, and by intervening on behalf of those in danger.
REMEMBER: If your prevention strategies do not work, and even if you have not employed any of these prevention resources, it is NEVER your fault if you are raped or sexually assaulted.