Steps You Can Take
If you're starting a relationship (or in one now):
- Trust your instincts. If you have concerns about a relationship, take time to get to know someone before you decide to be alone with this person.
- Communicate your expectations from the beginning. Decide your personal boundaries and explain them to your partner. If you’re going to hook up with someone new, talk about what each of you wants, and be clear about your limits. If your partner expresses personal limits to you, honor those limits.
- Talk to your friends at length about how to have safe, completely consensual sexual relationships.
- When you are going out, plan your date; know where you’re going and how you can safely return. When going out with someone new always tell a friend your plans, go somewhere public, carry cash and bring a cell phone. When going to a party, bring friends!
- If you decide to drink, maintain a buddy system for a designated sober person to check in with you, and plan for a safe way to get home.
- Keep in regular touch with your friends, classmates, family and support system outside the relationship.
- Look into available resources and awareness and education opportunities on campus
- Look into self-defense classes to learn basic techniques for defending your physical boundaries.
- Make use of the night escort service available to students on campus.
- Carry local taxi contact information when you go out for events or parties.
- Finally, understand that none of these actions can prevent you from being abused. They can help you to have more control over your college life, and help you watch out for yourself and your friends.
If you are (or suspect you are) being victimized:
- Don’t blame yourself – violence is not your fault
- Understand that there is no excuse for violence, whether you are abusing or being abused.
- Talk to a friend, family member or resource person.
- If you think you’re being stalked, document what is going on, tell all of your friends and contact us for more information. Identify and report stalking as soon as possible: it gets you protection, and may even save your life.
- Don’t take matters into your own hands – there are resources available to help.
- Have a friend support you and help you contact us for confidential advice, support and legal protection.
If you are (or think you may be) acting abusively:
- Take responsibility for your words and actions; admit that you may be abusing your partner. Don’t blame your behavior on your partner, drugs, alcohol, stress, etc.
- Separatefrom your partner for now, to sort out your emotions and behaviors with a counselor. Contact us to talk to someone who can help you to find alternatives to violence in your relationship.
Helping a friend:
If a friend or someone you know is being abused, stalked, or has been assaulted, there are ways for you to help him or her:
- Believe and support the survivor
- Listen to their story- don’t make assumptions or judgments
- Encourage the victim to get out the situation and report it to the police or university advisor
- Encourage the survivor to see a counselor or therapist
- Contact us to find out more information on how to help
If a friend or someone you know is abusing, stalking, or sexually abusing, take the abuse very seriously:
- Tell the person directly that you see their abusive actions, focusing on the behavior rather than the person.
- Supportively firmly interrupt any excuses that the person gives
- Hold him or her accountable for the abuse, making it clear that it has to stop now.
- Explain that this person is violating the legal and student conduct codes, putting his or her education at risk.
- Encourage the abuser to see a counselor or therapist.
- Contact us to find out more information on how to help, even if you’re not sure whether abuse has happened and just want to ask questions. If abuse is happening, tell us.
The university is committed to supporting all students to build a safe learning environment; get us involved.