Creating a Haven The Facts about Sexual Assault and What You Can Do to Prevent it

Set the Scene: Getting into the mindset of how easily and often rapes occur

It is early September, and the freedom that college fosters in the incoming freshmen and returning students is palpable. Instead of strict midnight curfews, girls and boys alike stay out until the sky is a dark blanket over campus. Stumbling bodies race through campus to find anything to do, often ending up at a party, typically surrounded by alcohol.

According to Rainn (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the largest anti-sexual violence organization in America, "More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November." The first semester at college ignites feelings of freedom and independence, which puts incoming first year students at a much higher risk for becoming a victim of sexual assault.

It's a fact: college women, aged 18-24, are three times more likely to experience sexual assault. Additionally, over 23% of women aged 18-24 are victims of sexual assault.

Sexual assault has developed into a national epidemic that has received an abundance of public attention. Vice President Joe Biden developed a campaign called It's On Us. It's On Us strives to create an environment where, "be it a dorm, a fraternity or sorority, a club or a bar, a locker room or an entire college campus—sexual assault is unacceptable."

Public figures often create a platform for difficult topics to be discussed on a mass scale. Joe Biden, alongside his campaign, utilized social media, public speeches, and informational videos to educate and advocate for this cause.



verb | con * sent | \kən-ˈsent\

1: to give assent or approval : agree consent to being tested Her father consented to the marriage.

2 archaic : to be in concord in opinion or sentiment

So, what is consent?

Consent is the continual agreement to engage in sexual acts by all parties involved. Consent can never be given while intoxicated or inebriated, and can be taken away at any point during the encounter.

Consent should always be referred to as a "yes means yes" policy rather than "no means no" policy. The difference between this is that under the "yes means yes" policy, explicit affirmation has to be given, either verbally or physically.

Well, how do I get consent?

Consent can be given either verbally or physically. Verbal affirmation follows the "yes means yes" policy, and is when one member of the party specifically asks if it is okay for the sexual acts to continue. Physical consent can be a little tricker, but can be evident if the other party is reciprocating similar actions. Just remember: consent doesn't have to be a mood killer!

Victim Blaming

What is victim blaming?

Victim blaming is when, after a sexual offense has occurred, outsiders begin to put the responsibility of the crime on the victim. This happens when others question things about the situation to justify the perpetrators actions.

What were you wearing? WHy were you alone with him? How much had you had to drink? WHy didn't you just say no?

What do I do if a victim/survivor confides in me?

If someone comes and confides in you about a sexual assault, listen to them. Do not doubt them because they are surely already doubting themselves, the situation, and the entire interaction. Listen to them; tell them you believe them; be there for them.

Bystander Intervention

According to the Office of Student Affairs at Indiana University, bystander intervention "involves developing the awareness, skills, and courage needed to intervene in a situation when another individual needs help."

Bystander Intervention: The Basics

In a case of sexual assault, bystander intervention can be the difference between a completed rape and an attempted rape. There are a few very simple actions that anyone at anytime can do in order to step in to a situation where a perpetrator may be trying to take advantage of a victim.

On a personal level, stepping into a particularly harmful situation can be scary and overwhelming and it is important to note that those feelings are okay. But, by utilizing whatever position you are in, you can really help out someone in danger.

The Aurora Center, at the University of Minnesota has extremely relevant information on how to intervene as a bystander.

The University of Minnesota is home to The Aurora Center (TAC), a sexual abuse treatment center. TAC is an active part of the campus environment and provides resources for victims of sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence.

What is the Aurora Center?

TAC provides a safe place for victims of sexual assault works throughout the university to educate students, faculty, and staff members on sexual assault and how to prevent it. One of the most integral parts of their advocacy on bystander intervention are the 3 D's.

The 3 D's

According to The Aurora Center

So, how can I use the three D's in real life?

There are some easy ways to implement the three D's. Usually the distract method is the most useful and easiest to use. For example, when using that method, you can go up to the girl, who you may or may not know, and pretend like you know her. Start the conversation with, "Oh my gosh (insert name)! I can't believe you're here too! I haven't seen you in so long. Let's head over here and catch up!"

An adrenaline rush inducing method can also be to go up to the perpetrator and spill your drink on them. When you do this, the perpetrator's attention goes to their wet clothing and you can remove the victim from the situation. This method can be very powerful for the distractor.

The document linked below has invaluable information about prevention and resources for victim/survivors

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