More than two out of three sexual
assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim. This
indicates that although it is important to use strategies to protect
yourself from "stranger danger," it is also very important
to consider ways of protecting yourself from people that you know
that could be potential perpetrators.
Learn what consent means, how to
give it, and how to know when it has been given for all sexual
activities. Address consent in every intimate situation.
Develop a healthy mistrust. You cannot
distinguish a person who rapes from one who does not based on
physical appearance, profession, income level, ethnic background,
education, religion, or sexual preference. Get to know people slowly
and in group situations.
Avoid excessive alcohol use. One half
of sexual assault victims report drinking alcohol at the time of the
Drugs and/or other substances can be
slipped into a person’s drink to make a victim more vulnerable.
Prepare your own beverage.
Develop a buddy system to avoid being
isolated. Drive to gatherings with a friend. Leave together. Keep an
eye out for each other.
Trust your instincts – if a situation
doesn’t feel right, get away.
Set sexual limits that are comfortable
for you. If you feel you are being isolated, pressured or "talked
into" unwanted sex, you are probably right.
Be aware of your surroundings. Keep
your head up and look around. If you walk or jog alone, do so against
traffic. If someone follows you in a car, turn and run in the
opposite direction. Go to a well-lit, well-populated area.
Keep your door locked at all times. If
you live in a dorm, keep outside doors locked and closed. Do not
allow people you don't know to enter the building.
Ten things men can do to prevent gender violence
- Approach gender violence as a men’s issue involving men of all
ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. View men not
only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered
bystanders who can confront abusive peers.
- If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female
partner -- or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in
general -- don't look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing
so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you
don't know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a
counselor. Don’t remain silent.
- Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don't
be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone
else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions
might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward
- If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been
sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help.
- If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually
abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help
- Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender
violence. Support the work of campus-based women's centers. Attend
"Take Back the Night" rallies and other public events.
Raise money for community-based rape crisis centers and battered
women's shelters. If you belong to a team, fraternity, or other
student group, organize a fundraiser.
- Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing.
Discrimination and violence against lesbians and gays is wrong. This
abuse also has direct links to sexism (e.g., the sexual orientation
of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious
or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key
reason few men do so).
- Attend programs, take courses, watch films, and read articles and
books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the
root causes of gender violence. Educate yourself and others about
how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men
- Don't fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video,
subscribe to any Web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or
women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Protest sexism in
- Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don't
involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Volunteer to work with
gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men's
programs. Lead by example.