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Sexual Assault Risk Reduction

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The Public Health Model:

Primary Prevention: Change our culture to make sexual misconduct and discrimination not acceptable.

Secondary Prevention:  Risk Reduction – in an emergency call 911


  • Confirm positive and ongoing consent with your partner
  • Know your personal limits with sexual behavior and make them known. Know where your phone is at all times
  • Ask someone for help if you are concerned
  • You have the right to say no and to stop any sexual activity at any time

Situational Awareness

  • Social settings
    • Know where you are going and speak up if you are uncomfortable with the plans
    • Drinking and drug use can impair your judgment – legally you cannot give or obtain consent if you are impaired
    • If you drink, drink responsibly:  eat a full meal before going out, have a glass of water between each drink, stick to one type of alcoholic beverage, know your limits and do not go beyond them, have a designated driver and do not let anyone else make the decision of how much you will drink
    • Do not tamper with anyone’s drink or food
    • Only drink something you poured yourself or that comes in a pre-sealed container
    • Never drink something that has been left unattended
    • Use the buddy system to look out for each other.  Help each other to act respectfully and to honor others’ boundaries.  Do not put pressure on others to engage in activities to which they do not consent
    • If you leave a party, tell the people you came with where you are going and when you are coming back.
    • If you are worried about a friend’s behavior, tell them. Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you.
    • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe about a person or situation, trust your gut and remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.
  • Sexual settings
    • You have the obligation to confirm positive and ongoing consent for all sexual activity
    • Know your sexual intentions and limits.  You have the right to stop sexual activity at any point.  If you are uncertain of what you want, ask your partner to respect your feelings.
    • How someone dresses, whether they are drinking, and one’s previous sexual activity DOES NOT allow another to engage in sexual activity.  Doing so, without positive and ongoing consent, is rape.
    • Listen to your gut feelings.  If you feel uncomfortable or think you might be at risk, leave the situation immediately and go to a safe place.
    • If you feel you are being pressured or coerced into sexual activity, you have a right to state your feelings and/or leave the situation. If you are concerned about the other person becoming angry, it is okay to make up an excuse to leave or create time to get help.
    • Attend large parties with friends you trust. Agree to “look out” for one another.  Leave with the group, not alone.  Avoid leaving with people you don’t know very well.
  • Walking and vehicular settings
    • Let friends or family members know when you are afraid or need help.
    • Be aware of your surroundings, for example, avoid putting headphones in both ears
    • Identify resources (i.e. emergency phones)
    • Avoid isolated areas.
    • Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, remove yourself.
    • When you go out, tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
  • General recommendations
    • Be respectful of others
    • Do not violate others’ personal space
      • Know your resources: Where can you go for help?
      • Who can you call?
      • Who will help you?
      • How will you escape a violent situation?
    • Memorize the phone numbers of people to contact or places to go in an emergency.
    • Keep your cell phone handy; check to see that you have reception and that your cell phone is charged.
    • Have money for a cab or other transportation.

Tertiary Prevention:  Reducing trauma and holding offenders accountable.