Risk Reduction Tips

Sexual Violence Risk Reduction Tips Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. With no intention to victim-blame, and with recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk of experiencing a non-consensual sexual act:

 If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.

 Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.

 Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.

 Find someone nearby and ask for help.

 Take proactive responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your inhibitions, including your sexual inhibitions, and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.

 Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. Attend events and parties in a group, and stay with those friends until you leave. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do.

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe your potential partner a high level of sexual respect. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:

 Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.

 Understand and respect personal boundaries.

 DO NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent, someone’s sexual availability, whether they are attracted to you, how far you can go, or whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.

 Understand that consent to one form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior. Consenting to kissing a partner does not constitute consenting to intercourse, for example.

 Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension, and communicate better. You may be misreading your partner’s signs. For example, they may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.

 Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if they put themselves in that state.

 Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don’t abuse that power.

 Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.

Additional Resources

There are a multitude of resources and supports on campus and in the area that any student can utilize. There is also additional information and support available online and off campus.

Not Alone: Together Against Sexual Assault

Know Your IX: Empowering Students to Stop Sexual Violence

US Department of Education: Title IX and Sex Discrimination

Faculty and Staff Title IX Training

National Sexual Assault Hotline
Phone: 800-656-4673

Love is Respect
Phone: 866-331-9474
Text “campus” to 22522

National Domestic Violence Hotline
Phone: 800-799-7233

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