What is Sexual Assault?

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What you need to know

Sexual assault is a crime. It is a crime of violence, power, and control. It occurs when a person is forced, threatened, or coerced into sexual contact against her or his will. Sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age, race, religion, economic status, or social status. Individuals who are sexually assaulted are victims of the crime. However, through the process of recovery, many victims become survivors.

Reducing the Risks of Sexual Assault

Psychological Preparedness:
The best way to protect yourself is to use your head. Be assertive. Make sure you communicate your desires and limits clearly.

  • You always have the right to set sexual limits in any relationship.
  • Be wary of behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Trust your instincts: If the behavior persists, LEAVE.
  • Avoid excessive use of alcohol and other drugs.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Do not assume that you are always safe.
  • Vary your routines whenever possible.
  • Try not to walk alone at night. If you must do so, walk in lighted areas only. Walk at a steady pace and look confident. If you’re on campus, call campus police for an escort.
  • Keep your doors and windows (both home and car) locked.
  • Educate yourself concerning sexual assault prevention tactics and strategies.

Avoidance Strategies/Indirect Prevention:

  • Talk your way out of the situation.
  • Use gimmicks.
  • Blow your whistle.
  • Practice screaming.
  • Use noise and any attention-getter you can think of.

Confrontational Strategies/Direct Prevention:

  • If you do something, mean it, and be prepared to follow up.
  • Do only what you need to do to get away safely.

Helpful Resources