RISK REDUCTION TIPS
If a student finds him/herself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, sexual respect is owed to the potential partner. These suggestions may help reduce the risk for being accused of Sexual Misconduct:
- DO NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent, about someone’s sexual availability, about whether they are attracted to you, about how far you can go, about whether they are physically and mentally able to give valid consent to sexual activity.
- Clearly communicate your interests and desired intentions to your sexual partner and give him/her a chance to clearly articulate interests and intentions to you.
- Mixed messages from your partner should be a clear indication that you should step back, defuse the sexual tension, and communicate better. Perhaps you are misreading him/her. Perhaps he/she hasn’t figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You need to respect the timeline with which they are comfortable.
- Do not take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if they did it to themselves. If you know they have been drinking or using drugs, do not assume that they can give valid consent to sexual activity. If you anticipate sexual activity, stop the use of alcohol or drugs well in advance so that consent can be valid and clear.
- 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. Do not abuse that power.
- Understand that consent to some forms of sexual behavior does not necessarily imply consent to other forms of sexual behavior.
- In this community, silence and passivity cannot be interpreted by you as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non‐verbal communication and body language.
- “No” always means “No,” and “Yes” may not always mean “Yes.”
If a student finds him/herself in an uncomfortable sexual situation, these suggestions may help reduce the risk. While these tips may reduce risk, failure to use these tips does not make you ineligible to use the Student Rights and Responsibilities System to resolve the matter.
- Make sexual limits known before things go too far.
- Tell the other person “NO” clearly and loudly.
- Try to leave the physical presence of the other person.
- Grab someone nearby and ask for help.
- Be responsible for alcohol intake and/or drug use and realize that alcohol and drugs lower sexual inhibitions and may increase vulnerability to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
- Take care of friends and ask that they watch out for you. A real friend will get in your face if you are about to be in a high risk situation. Respect them if they do.