Counseling Center- Self Help
- To reduce your risk of becoming a victim
- Observe your feelings and behaviors
- Observe the behaviors of those around you
- Communicate your feelings and needs
- Use your power to be in control
- To reduce the risk of perpetrating a crime ...
- Observe your behavior
- Observe the behavior of those around you
- Know the facts
T o reduce your risk of becoming a victim (TOP)
T he following tips are intended to assist you in reducing your risk of being a victim or perpetrator of sexual assault. Unfortunately, there are no guaranteed strategies in the prevention of sexual assault. While anyone can sexually assault another person, male or female, be aware that most sexual assaults are perpetrated by men, and most victims are women. Use your knowledge to raise awareness among potential perpetrators and end sexual assault.
Observe your feelings and behaviors (TOP)
Trust your own instincts at all times. If you feel uneasy, there is a reason for it. Listen to the voice inside you and act on it. Ask yourself: "Am I able to say no if I am uncomfortable with what is happening?"
Observe the behaviors of those around you (TOP)
Be aware when others attempt to violate your personal space. Do not assume that someone who has been nonviolent in the past will be nonviolent in the future.
Communicate your feelings and needs (TOP)
Before you find yourself alone with a date, clarify your intentions with each other. Men who consciously or subconsciously believe in the myth of endless female sexual desire (i.e., girls really want it even when they say no) are dangerous. Behaving passively or submissively can foster that myth. Always be direct and assertive in all communications throughout an evening, from what you choose to eat at dinner to what you are interested in sexually. Be verbally assertive. Assertive responses are direct, honest, appropriate and spontaneous. Speak in a calm, controlled manner while looking directly at the harasser. Examples include, "I don't want you to touch me like that. I want you to stop now." Be physically assertive. Do not "shrink physically. Look confident and competent. It's important that your words and actions be consistent. Be prepared for men to react to assertiveness. Oftentimes, men are not prepared for women to demand respect and do not know how to deal with it. Some men may react nastily, others may be sheepish and shrink away, while some may critically examine their behavior for the first time, and move toward change.
Use your power to be in control (TOP)
Maintain your boundaries and rules of conduct at all times, regardless of how well you know someone. If you feel uncomfortable, threatened, or do not like how you are being treated emotionally or physically, then leave the situation immediately. Emotional abuse escalates to physical abuse. Be aware of the amount of alcohol consumed by you or by an acquaintance. Sexual assaults are more likely to occur after one or both individuals have consumed alcohol. Be aware of your environment and escape routes within your environment. Be prepared to provide yourself with the means of leaving a dangerous situation. Have a back-up plan in place, including access to a phone, cab fare, a friend with a car, Campus Escort Service, etc. Because there is an unfortunate desire by some of our society to resist intervening in an abusive situation--particularly when the conflict involves a couple--yell "Fire!" rather than "Rape!" or "Help!" if you need help in getting out of a dangerous situation. Do not give out personal information. Many times, women are asked to disclose a lot of personal information, i.e., their name, residence, place of employment, etc. Always ask a repair or delivery person for identification before opening the door. Rely on your own resources. Maximize and develop your strength, power, and control. Take self defense classes and be prepared to protect yourself.
To reduce the risk of perpetrating a crime ... (TOP)
It is a crime to force another person to have unwanted sexual contact. And, it is a crime to have sex with someone who is passed out due to drug or alcohol use and is unable to express consent.
Observe your behavior (TOP)
If you find yourself being manipulative towards others, emotionally or sexually, STOP. Do not exploit others. Do not feel as if you always have to initiate sexual contact. Do not initiate if you do not want to. Sustain your integrity. Take responsibility for your behavior.
Observe the behavior of those around you (TOP)
Pay attention to all messages, verbal and nonverbal. "NO" means no. "STOP" means stop what you are doing immediately! Use peer pressure positively to stop abusive behaviors which may lead to acquaintance assaults. Condemn, rather than condone, the behavior of a peer who has taken advantage of a sexual partner.
Know the facts (TOP)
Most sexual assaults occur between people who know each other. Acquaintance rape and other sexual assaults are crimes. It is a crime to have intercourse with someone against their will. Are you willing to g o to jail for a nonconsensual sexual act?
(Several of the above suggestions were developed by Women Against Rape in Columbus, Ohio and have been taken from their Confrontation Training brochure)