Risk Reduction Strategies

Although the responsibility of prevention truly lies with the offender, there are things that all individuals can be aware of and do that may help reduce their risk of being a victim of a crime. These are not guarantees of safety, nor does failure to do one of these things mean that someone is at fault for being sexually assaulted, stalked, or otherwise victimized:

  • You have the right to your own values, attitudes and beliefs about sexual behavior and relationships in general. Therefore you have the right to determine the type of interactions and activities you feel comfortable with and to end those activities at any time.
  • While there is no perfect profile of someone who will be sexually violent, there are some common warning signs. These include:

    o   Domineering, overly controlling actions

    o   A tendency to disregard your feelings and desires

    o   The expression of hostility or dominance toward potential partners

    o   The belief that certain actions entitle one to sex with another person

    o   Intrusion into your personal physical space

    o   Touching you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable

  • No one is ever entitled to sex. You are not obligated to perform sexual acts as payment, as a favor, or in order to be a “real man” or a “good woman.”
  • Alcohol is a frequently used and highly effective rape facilitating drug. It affect’s each person’s ability to make decisions, set boundaries, and engage in sexual activities differently. Keep track of how much you drink, and consider some of these tips in relation to alcohol consumption:

o   You have the right not to drink alcohol at any time.

o   If you feel pressure to drink, you can keep a beer can in your hand without drinking from it frequently.

o   Alternate water with each alcoholic beverage and eat prior to and while drinking.

  • You have the right to say no to any sexual activity at any time for any reason. When you feel that your personal rights are being threatened, you have every right to take a stand and let the offending party know that what he/she is doing is unwelcome. This includes if you have started activities and you no longer wish to pursue them.
  • If you go to larger parties, bring friends with you and check in regularly. Make plans ahead of time for how to get home, and who will remain sober throughout the night in case any emergency arises.
  • Having your own transportation gives you a degree of power to leave a situation, if you see the need to.
  • While using social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, be mindful of the type of information you provide, including your address or phone number, and whether you are at home or away. Review and update your privacy settings regularly.
  • If you wish to pursue sexual activity with someone, consider discussing your boundaries prior to engaging in physical activity together so you have a clearer understanding of each other’s preferences. If you decide to engage in sexual activity shortly after meeting someone, you may not have as great of an understanding of each other yet, which means you both may need to seek further clarification as you communicate.

(Source: Adapted from Bowling Green State University’s 2014-2015 Student Handbook)