– Prevention Techniques
Sexual Assault like many other crimes is a crime of opportunity and motive. There are no hard and fast rules to guarantee your safety. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of being assaulted. Remember our instincts are rarely wrong. If a situation or person makes you feel uncomfortable, it's perfectly o.k. to leave. Do not feel that you have to do something or hang out with someone if you don't want to. Always remember that as a victim of sexual assault, the crime was not your fault.
THERE can be safety in numbers. When you go partying with your friends, stick together. Look out for each other and always leave the party together. If a friend seems overly intoxicated or is 'acting wierd', immediately get them to safe place.
NEVER leave your drink unattended. Unfortunately, there are date rape drugs which can be slipped into your drink unnoticed. They carry no odor or taste and by the time you discover what happened it could be too late. If you've left your drink unattended, it's a lot safer to get a new one.
DON'T accept drinks from strangers or people you don't trust. If you do decide to accept a drink from someone, make sure that it is in a sealed container you open yourself or accompany them to the bar, watch it being prepared and carry it yourself. This includes non-alcoholic drinks as well.
AVOID drinking from punch bowls, or other large, shared containers. These containers can be easily tampered with.
HAVE plenty of food and try to limit drinks to one or two per hour to help you stay sober.
KNOW your limit or level of tolerance for alcohol and stick with it. Ask friends to take care of you and take you home if you appear to be too intoxicated.
BE aware of your surroundings. Knowing who is around you and where you are can help you to get out of a bad situation.
HAVE your cell phone with you, charged and ready in case you need to make an emergency call. There are also call boxes around the UTM campus that go directly to Campus Police. Use these if you have to.
WHILE on campus, realize that Campus Police are willing to escort you if you find you need to be in an empty building after nightfall or if you feel unsafe walking to your car or dorm.
WHEN walking alone, avoid putting both headphones in your ears so you may hear the approach of others.
KNOW how far and how fast you want a date or relationship to progress and be clear about it from the beginning. If you feel these limits are being pushed or passed, speak up. Be firm. Saying nothing or letting things you are uncomfortable with slide, can be taken as permission.
IF you suspect someone has been assaulted or drugged, get that person to a safe place and call the police. Explain to the police and medical staff clearly what you saw happening so they may help that person in the best way possible. Even if you do not know the victim, you can help them avoid or get help in a bad situation.
SOMETIMES perpetrators are people we know. If you feel a friend is pressuring or taking advantage of another friend, speak up, step in and offer assistance.
ESTABLISH a code when in a social setting with friends. Find a phrase or way of letting your friends know (could be a text message) when you feel uncomfortable and want to leave. Having a good exit strategy can help you avoid bad situations.
LIE if you have to. If you feel that the truth will offend the perpetrator or escalate the situation, make up a lie. Say something like, "My roommates expected me 20 minutes ago so I need to go home." or, "I don't feel well right now." or "My friends and I made plans to go to ___________. I should get a move on so I'm not late."
ENROLL in a UTM Campus Police Women's Self-Defense Program. There is no cost to UTM students, faculty or staff. Contact PSEPP or Campus Police for enrollment information.
How to help a friend who has been the victim of sexual assault or domestic violence.
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Educate yourself about sexual assault, the resources available to survivors and the healing process. PSEPP can provide any information you need to better help your friend.