Education, Prevention, Helping a Friend
- Not Alone: NotAlone was launched in connection with the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, which was established in January 2014. Scripps College Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students, Charlotte Johnson, was a member of this task force. The site contains information for anyone interested in learning more about sexual violence in education and finding resources on how to respond to and prevent sexual assault on college and university campuses and in our schools.
- RAINN National Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline: This site contains extensive information on the issue of sexual violence, including types of sexual violence, effects of sexual assault, recovering from sexual assault, and risk reduction.
- 7C Sexual Misconduct Resources website
If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner and yourself. These suggestions may help you avoid committing a nonconsensual sexual act and reduce your risk of being accused of sexual misconduct:
- Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly communicate their intentions to you.
- Understand and respect personal boundaries. Do not pressure a potential partner.
- DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent; about someone’s sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent and you should stop.
- If you think you are receiving unclear or conflicting messages from your partner, this is a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better.
- Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness, drugged, or otherwise incapacitated state, even if they did it to themselves.
- 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.
- Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically equal consent to any other form of sexual behavior.
- Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non‐verbal communication and body language. If you are not sure, stop.
Risk reduction tips can, unintentionally, take victim-blaming tone. With no intention to victim-blame, and with recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for such conduct, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk of experiencing a non-consensual sexual act.
- If you have sexual limits, make them known as early as possible.
- If you do not want to engage in a particular activity, tell the other person “NO” clearly and firmly.
- Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor, if you can do so safely.
- If someone is nearby, ask for help or if it is safe to do so, text or call someone.
- Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower 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. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do.
Helping a friend who has been violated is difficult. You may experience sadness, anger, fear, frustration, helplessness, and confusion about what happened to your friend and it may bring up feelings from your own experiences. You may want to do things out of care and concern for your friend that may or may not be helpful for them. Most importantly listen to and support them in their decision making and recovery. Below are some suggestions of things to do and not to do when helping a friend.
- Be supportive and listen. Believe your friend.
- Express empathy and share your concern for your friend.
- Be patient. Healing takes time, so continue to offer your support.
- Communicate to your friend that they are not responsible for the violation.
- Make sure your friend has a safe place to stay.
- Allow your friend to regain control by empowering them to make their own decisions on how to respond. Respect their decisions.
- Help them understand their options by reviewing this web site with them, including the available support resources.
- Make yourself available to accompany your friend to a helping resource (e.g., hospital, Student Health Services, Monsour Counseling Center).
- Understand there is no one way to react to sexual misconduct and that your friend may go through a range of emotions and responses.
- Not avoid your friend or the subject; doing so may reinforce any shame or fear they are feeling.
- Remember to take care of yourself while you are taking care of others. Seek support if you need it.
- Force your friend to talk and/or take control from them or ask your friend how they could “let this happen”.
- Assume you understand how your friend feels.
- Assume the gender of the people involved. Sexual misconduct can occur among all genders and sexual orientations.
- Discuss the incident with others unless you have permission from your friend.
- Attempt to seek revenge.
- Make jokes.
- Be angry with your friend.