Sexual Violence Risk Reduction Tips
(taken from atixa.org)
The information below is provided as suggestions to assist individuals with communication regarding sexual permission. This content was developed by atixa.org and used here with ATIXA permission.
- If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.
- Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.
- Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of the sexual aggressor.
- Find someone nearby and ask for help.
- Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol and other drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you more 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.
If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk of being accused of sexual violence.
Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
Understand and respect personal boundaries.
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.
Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged 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 imply consent to any other forms 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.
General Safety Tips
At a Social Event
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about a person, place or situation, leave immediately and go to a safe place or find a safe person.
- Learn to be assertive. If the way someone is touching you or talking to you is unnerving or uncomfortable, say so, strongly and convincingly, and immediately leave that situation.
- Park in well-lit, familiar areas and have your car/house keys ready before you reach the door.
- Travel on familiar roadways. If you think you are being followed turn around and travel to a well-lit area.
- Let someone know where you will be and who you are with at all times. Also give them a time frame of your expected destination arrival.
- Don't put your name or address or any other revealing information in your keys. Know where your keys are at all times and don't let others borrow them.
- Never let anybody know if you will be home alone. Make sure your car has gas and is in good working condition.
- Always carry extra money around for cab fare or to make a phone call.
- Be a good friend to one another and step in if you feel like your friend is in a concerning or unsafe situation.
At Your Residence
Visitors, Suspicious Persons and Stalkers
- Be alert for any suspicious persons.
- Positively identify visitors before opening doors.
- Require identification of all repairmen and salesmen prior to permitting entry into your residence.
- Inform trusted neighbors regarding a stalking situation. Provide the neighbor with a photo or description of the suspect and any possible vehicles he/she may be driving.
- If residing in an apartment with an on-site manager, provide the manager with a picture of the suspected stalker. If in a secured condominium, provide information to the doorman or valet.
Lights, Locks and Alarms
- Install a porch light at a height that would discourage removal.
- Install adequate outside lighting. Attach motion-sensor lights outside of the home.
- Install dead bolts on all outside doors. If you cannot account for all keys, change door locks. Secure spare keys.
- Lock your doors and your windows when you are at home and even if you leave for just a few minutes. Also, do not prop open self-locking doors.
- Place a dowel in sliding glass doors and all sliding windows. Keep garage doors locked at all times.
- Trim shrubbery and bushes outside windows and doors to reduce hiding spots. Install locks on fence gates.
- Keep fuse box locked. Have battery lanterns in residence.
- Install a loud exterior alarm bell that can be manually activated in more than one location.
- Consider additional safety measures including a pet. A family dog is one of the least expensive but most effective alarm systems.
Phones and Other Safety Measures
- Keep a cell phone inside the house (make sure it is charged at all times).
- Maintain an unlisted phone number.
- Be alert for any unusual packages, boxes, or devices on the premises. Do not disturb such objects.
- Keep an "escape bag" containing necessary daily items with trusted friends and/or family members.
Individuals who believe that they have experienced sex or gender-based harassment may contact the Baylor College of Medicine Title IX coordinator or one of the deputy coordinators for assistance and support.