In This Section...
TO REDUCE THE RISK OF BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED
- Be aware of what is happening around you. Stay alert. Don't become drunk or drugged.
- Decide what you do and do not want to do before getting together with a potential sexual partner. Be ready to communicate this to your partner.
- Communicate your limits firmly and directly. Don't assume that your partner will automatically know how you feel, or will eventually "get the message" without you having to tell them. If you say "NO", say it like you mean it. Don't give mixed messages.
- Act in a way that shows you value yourself. Respond assertively to any, even minor, acts of sexual harassment or disrespect.
- Guard your drink at all times.
- Do not allow yourself to be taken into secluded settings. Always arrange alternate transportation home in case you need it. Let others know where you are going.
- Trust your instincts and get out of any situation that feels wrong.
- Do not assume that someone who has been non-violent in the past will never be violent.
- Don't be afraid of not being liked by someone who won't respect your feelings.
- Use a buddy system to watch out for each other. Go home with the friends you went out with.
TO AVOID BEING ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
- Talk to your partner openly so you can both communicate your wishes and have no misunderstanding. If you aren't comfortable talking openly about your sexual desires and limits, you are not ready to be sexual.
- Always ask for consent before you touch someone sexually.
- Assume that "no" means NO. If you are right you have not offended your partner. If you are not, your partner can initiate more sexual contact.
- Listen Carefully. Take the time to hear what your partner is saying. Be sensitive to that person's feelings. If you feel your partner is not being direct or is giving you a "mixed message", ask for a clarification.
- Don't make assumptions about your partner's behavior. Don't automatically assume that someone wants to have sex just because they drink heavily, dress provocatively, or agree to go to your room. Don't assume that just because someone has had sex with you previously they are willing to have sex with you again. Also don't assume that just because your partner consents to kissing or other sexual intimacies, they are willing to have sexual intercourse.
- Don't feel as if you always have to initiate sexual activity. Don't initiate if you don't want to. You don't have to prove your sexuality.
- Remember that sexual coercion is a crime whether it happens on a partner or at a party or in a dark alley. Getting them drunk is not the same as getting permission. Be aware that having sex with someone who is mentally or physically incapable of giving consent is sexual assault. If you have sex with someone who is drugged, intoxicated, passed out, incapable of saying "NO", or unaware of what is happening around them, that is sexual assault.
- If you have to pressure your partner or get your partner intoxicated to do it, don't do it. Submission is not consent. Consent is active not passive. Any sexual contact without consent is against the law in Wisconsin.
- Do not exploit or sexually harass others with humor, threats or embarrassing comments.
- Be especially careful in group situations. Be prepared to resist pressure from friends to participate in violent or non consensual sexual acts, or gang up on an individual.
Remember that just because someone doesn't want to have sex with you, that doesn't mean there is something wrong with you. There can be many reasons for not wanting to have sex. Sex is a very intimate act that can involve medical and emotional risk taking.