Steps to take to protect yourself from sexual assault on a college campus

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Sexual assault on college campuses is a common problem that often goes unreported. It includes any unwanted sexual activity, from unwanted touching to rape. Alcohol and drugs often play a role in a sexual assault on campuses. If you have been sexually assaulted, it is not your fault. You are not alone, and you can get help.

SEE Key Health Issues College Students Face.

You cannot prevent sexual assault because a violent or abusive behavior is always the responsibility of the person who is violent or abusive. However, you can take steps to be safer around others and help keep others safe from potential perpetrators:

Get to know someone well before spending time alone with him or her. 

College is often about meeting new people and making new friends. But do not rely only on someone you just met to keep you safe.

Go to parties or hangouts with friends. 

Arrive together, check in with each other, and leave together. Talk about your plans for the evening so that everyone knows what to expect.

Meet first dates or new people in a public place.

Listen to your instincts or “gut feelings.”

 Most women who are sexually assaulted know the person who assaults them. If you find yourself alone with someone you don’t trust, leave. If you feel uncomfortable in any situation for any reason, leave. You are the only person who gets to say whether you feel safe.

Be aware of your alcohol or drug intake. 

Research shows that about half of sexual assault victims had been drinking when the attack happened. Drinking alcohol does not make the attack your fault, but using alcohol and drugs can lead to being unaware of what is happening around you or to you. ALWAYS Keep control of your own drink, because someone could put drugs or alcohol in it without you knowing.


Get help right away if you feel drunk and haven’t drunk any alcohol or if the effects of alcohol feel stronger than usual. 

This can happen if someone put a date rape drug into your drink. Date rape drugs have no smell or taste and can cause you to pass out and not remember what happened.

Be aware of your surroundings. 

Especially if walking alone, avoid talking on your phone or listening to music with headphones. Know where you are as you move around the campus. At night, stay in lighted areas, or ask a friend or campus security to go with you.

Know your resources. 

You need to know where you can get help if you need it. Know where the campus sexual assault center, the campus police, and the campus health center are. Find the campus emergency phones and put the campus security number into your cell phone.
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