Sexual Assault Can Happen to Anyone
First-year college students can be particularly vulnerable to sexual assault. You are likely away from your family for the first time and you are bound to experience new social settings, different from what you have been a part of before. You will be faced with an array of personal choices that you may have never experienced in the past. Peer cultures in college often condone or encourage underage drinking or the excessive use of alcohol or other drugs. While having the freedom to make your own decisions is a positive step ahead in your life, it is important that you understand the risks involved in your years as a college student. College should be a positive experience for everyone, and while this is not meant to frighten you, it is necessary for you to be aware of the possibility of sexual assault and rape, a serious epidemic in our country.
An especially risky time for sexual assault/date rape to occur is the period between the beginning of school until November. This is a time that universities in our country consider “The Red Zone”. The statistics of the Red Zone often demonstrate an increase in party activities, relationship “get togethers” and break ups, sexual activity, and sexual assault- particularly date rape. It might be easy to separate yourself from the idea of date rape, because we hear this term frequently without connecting it to our own lives. However, statistics show that between 20 and 25 percent of college women experience complete or attempted rape. It is likely that you will know someone that has been raped or you will experience a situation like this yourself. When an individual is sexually assaulted or raped, 84 percent of the time the perpetrator is someone that s/he knows. If you experience sexual assault, chances are that the individual who commits this act will be a friend of yours, possibly someone that you just met.
There are ways for you to reduce the risk of being sexually assaulted or raped, but, ultimately, there is no way to positively prevent it. Know that you are worth being in relationship with and that you never have to “settle” for a situation that is not good for you out of fear that it might be your only or best chance. There are many faculty and staff members at EOU that care about your well being and want to help you through these transitions. Eastern Oregon University does not condone sexual assault and there are a number of resources available to you should you experience it.
Responsibilities for Both Men and Women: Although no single method will make you immune from rape or assault, there are steps you can take to avoid potentially damaging situations.
- Get to know your partner and discuss sexual expectations before you find yourself in an intimate situation- don’t let sex “just happen”.
- Clearly communicate your desires and limits. Don’t make assumptions.
- Drink alcohol responsibly.
- Listen- and hear. Being told “no” is not just a rejection of you as a person. You can also say “no”.
- Be assertive. If you say “no”, say it clearly.
- Pay attention to your non-verbal actions.
- Accept your partner’s decision. Don’t try to coerce or manipulate.
- Understand and accept that you are responsible for your behavior and choices.
- Trust your instincts. If you think something is wrong, you are probably right. Get out of the situation immediately.
- If you choose to drink, the likelihood that you will remember these responsibilities is greatly reduced. Thus, you run the risk of impaired thinking and communication. Some individuals get themselves and their partners drunk enough to let sex “just happen”. Being drunk is NEVER an excuse for raping or assaulting someone.
- Be Careful.
- Do not accept drinks that you are not completely sure of the contents.
- Do not leave drinks unattended.
- Keep an eye on yourself and your friends, for any suspicious activity.
- Remember that alcohol is the number one rape drug.