Risk Reduction, Warning Signs of Abusive Behavior and Future Attacks


If you become a victim of a crime, it is not your fault. Perpetrators, not victims, are responsible for dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other crimes.

There are some actions that may increase your safety and decrease the chances you will be targeted or victimized.

Trust your instincts. Listen to your inner voice and act on it.

You can’t tell if someone has the potential to rape based on how they look or because they have been nonviolent in the past.

Ask yourself, “Am I able to say ‘no’?” and, “Am I comfortable with what is happening?” If not, leave. Know and set your boundaries.

Remember you can reject what someone is doing without rejecting them.

Get out of the situation as soon as you sense danger or feel afraid.

Take assertiveness training and self-defense courses.

Remember that no ALWAYS means no. Ask your partner if you are uncertain about what they want you to do. Do not give mixed messages; be clear.

Set limits for yourself and your partner (e.g. “I will be home by 12:00,” or, “Keep your hands above my waist.”)

Know that you have the right to say no at any point in any sexual act regardless of whether you have had sex with that person before.

Have a safety plan. Use the on-campus escort program (Safewalk).

Avoid walking alone at night.

Don’t leave your drink unattended. Rape-facilitated drugs are tasteless, colorless, and odorless. Until the effects are well under way, victims don’t know they have ingested drugs.

Attend and leave parties with friends you know and trust.

Look out for each other. If you see someone who could be in trouble, speak up or call authorities. 

At the first sign of danger, call 911.

Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.

Sexual Assault Prevention tips:

First, be respectful. Anytime you are uncertain whether your partner is comfortable with your behavior, ask! You can simply say, “Are you okay with this?”

 Assume that “no” means no. What’s more, assume that “I’m not sure” means no and silent means no.

Understand that a person who is incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol or due to a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition is not legally capable of giving consent. If the other person is not capable of making an informed decision, do not have sex.

Recognize that your sexual needs do not give you the right to do whatever you want. Any sexual activity should be mutually desired.

Be aware that committing rape has severe consequences. For your victim, there can be years of emotional trauma, unwarranted guilt, fear, and health risks. For the person committing the offense, sexual assault can lead to University judicial sanctioning, criminal charges, attorney expenses, and/or prison. 



Page last modified June 9, 2017