Protecting yourself 

  • Determine what you want and what you don’t want and communicate your limits clearly to your partner. No one should pressure you into unwanted sexual activity. If you are uncertain about what you want, ask your partner to respect your feelings.
  • Know that you have the right and power to say “No” and the right and power to defend yourself against someone who won’t listen to you. If you say “No”, say it firmly and directly. However, a person may express a lack of consent through words or conduct. A person need only resist, either verbally or physically, so as to make the person’s refusal to consent genuine and real and so as to reasonably make known to the actor the person’s refusal to consent. A person need not resist verbally or physically where it would be useless or futile to do so.
  • Trust your intuition. If you feel something is wrong, it likely is. Remove yourself from the situation and get to a safe space as quickly as you can.
  • Practice caution with alcohol and drugs. Some people think that a drunk or stoned companion has automatically consented to sex, which is not correct. A person who is giving consent cannot be incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, unconscious, passed out, coming in and out of consciousness, under the threat of violence, injury or other forms of coercion, and cannot have a disorder, illness, or disability that would impair his/her understanding of the act or his/her ability to make decisions. A person who is giving consent cannot be forced, coerced or deceived into providing consent.
  • Attend parties with friends you can trust. Agree to ‘look out’ for one another. Try to leave with a group, rather than alone or with someone you don’t know very well.
  • Look for danger signals in a dating relationship. If your partner restricts your activities, isolates you from friends, and displays jealous behavior, these are all signs of a potentially abusive relationship.
  • Avoid leaving drinks unattended at social gatherings. This presents an opportunity for your drink to be drugged.
  • Stay in public areas around other individuals. Avoid being alone with individuals you do not know and always remain within hearing/sight distance of others to avoid being trapped.
  • Talk with your friends about ways you’ve learned to prevent sexual violence.

Protecting your partner and friends 

  • Respect your partner’s feelings and needs. Don’t pressure anyone to go beyond the limits she or he has set. Listen carefully to your partner and ask for clarification if your partner seems unclear or is giving you a ‘mixed message’.
  • Respect the person when she or he says “No” to sexual activity and comply. “No” does not mean “Yes”; “No” means “No”.
  • Seek multiple signs of consent (verbal and non-verbal) during sexual activity throughout the entire activity. If at any time your partner does not appear to be giving consent or changes their mind, respect their decision and stop the activity.
  • If you see someone in a vulnerable position, find a non-threatening way to help. Don’t ignore a potential case of sexual violence — get involved if you believe someone is at risk. You would want someone to intervene if you were in this situation.
  • With alcohol and drugs, remember that they can interfere with your ability to assess situations and to communicate effectively. If you have sexual relations with a person under the influence or you yourself are under the influence of a substance, the situation could be reported as sexual violence, meaning trauma and legal consequences could result.
  • Be careful in group situations- resist pressure from friends to participate in or be subjected to violent or criminal acts.
  • Don’t make assumptions about an individual’s behavior. Don’t automatically assume an individual wants to have sex just because they drink heavily, dress provocatively, or agree to go back to your room.  You should always seek consent multiple times during and throughout any sexual activity.
  • Don’t assume that just because a person has had sex with you previously she or he is willing to have sex with you again. Don’t assume that just because your partner consents to kissing or other sexual intimacies that she or he is willing to have sexual intercourse. Gain consent for each progression of sexual intimacy.
  • If you notice an individual adding something to another person’s drink, say something.  You could be preventing the use of a date rape drug. Report the behavior to a campus authority or law enforcement.