Sexual violence on campus is pervasive.
- 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students)
- Among graduate and professional students, 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation
- Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation
- 4.2% of students have experienced stalking since entering college
- Student or not, college-age adults are at high risk for sexual violence.
Male college-aged students (18-24) are 78% more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault
- Female college-aged students (18-24) are 20% less likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault
- About 1 in 6 college-aged female survivors received assistance from a victim services agency
- 21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females, and 4% of non-TGQN males
Colleges and universities around the country are taking steps to prevent incidents of sexual violence on campus. By increasing the presence of security officers, initiating bystander intervention programs, and educating students on the meaning of “consent,” schools are working to ensure the safety of their students, faculty, and staff on campus. Although responsibility for an attack lies solely with the perpetrator, there are ways you can reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Check out our list of basic safety guidelines below for things you can do to help protect yourself from sexual assault.
BASIC SAFETY GUIDELINES
Know your limits: Alcohol intoxication can make you significantly more vulnerable to assault by impairing your judgment or inhibiting your ability to physically fight off an attacker. Binge drinkers are at a particularly high risk of suffering from incapacitation, a blackout, or unconsciousness.
Watch your drinks: Take your drink to the restroom with you, or pour it out before you step outside. Never drink a beverage that has been given to you by someone else or taken from a communal alcohol source (like a punch bowl). Drugs used to incapacitate sexual assault victims can be odorless, colorless, and tasteless, so you can’t rely on your senses to tell you that someone slipped something into your drink. Various products are now available to help you discover if your drink has been tampered with, like color-changing nail polish and drink coasters.
Trust your gut: If you get a bad feeling about a location or a person, leave immediately. We often subconsciously process body language and other danger indicators without realizing it. If something feels very wrong or you feel unsafe, start walking in the direction of the nearest crowd, well-lit area, or building. Start talking loudly on your phone. Many attackers are unwilling to pursue victims who are aggressive or loud because it draws attention to the crime.
Stick with your friends: Attend social gatherings with a group of friends whom you know and trust. Look out for each other and make sure everyone gets home safely. If you do go out alone, always tell someone where you are going and avoid walking in unlit or unfrequented areas.