Victims should never be made to feel they are at fault or that they assumed the risk of being assaulted. However, there are several strategies you can adopt to minimize your risk of being a victim-or even a perpetrator-of a sexual assault.
- Have first dates in public places and in groups. If you are at a party or other group function, don't leave with a person you don't know well. Be aware that certain activities, such as excessive drinking or drug use, increase your risk of sexual assault.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about a person or situation, remove yourself from the situation immediately.
- Since most acquaintance rapes involve alcohol or drugs, avoid both in a dating situation. Don't allow your judgment to become impaired.
- Make sure you have a safe way of getting home before you go out.
- Stay in groups. Go to parties together, stay together and leave together. Don't be alone with someone you don't know or trust.
- Let others know where you are going and when you expect to return. Look out for friends. Share your class and social schedule with them, and be sure your family has their contact info also.
- When out, use drink safety. Pour it yourself or watch it being poured. Don't leave your drink unattended (it could be spiked). Some substances used to spike drinks may leave you not only under the influence but many times unable to remember events. This goes for non-alcoholic drinks as well. Consider assigning not only a designated driver, but also a designated drink monitor.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Walk with confidence and alertness. Assailants are less likely to target a person who appears assertive and difficult to intimidate.
- Don't have sex with anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol even if they give verbal consent. Be aware that having intercourse with someone under the influence or is physically helpless is rape.
- Never force, pressure or coerce anyone to have sex.
- Communicate your sexual limits clearly.
- Don't take silence as consent. Respect the word NO.
- Know where the blue cap phones are on campus. Report suspicious persons immediately to Campus Security.
- Consider calling for a security escort when traveling around campus at night.
- Become educated on sexual assault awareness and prevention. Self-defense programs, including basic self-defense and Rape Aggression Defense (RAD), are offered on campus throughout the year. Contact Student Services for more information on these and other awareness and training programs.
Some of this information has been adapted from a publication by the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (2000)