Guidelines for Risk Reduction in a Social Setting

Bystander Intervention

What College Students Can Do to Prevent Sexual Violence

The Role of Alcohol

Residential, Driving, and Walking Risk Reduction

Drug Faciliated Sexaul Assault

Pledge for Action

Guidelines To Avoid Being Accused of Sexual Assault

Hold perpetrators responsible for their crimes! This is not an invitation to rape me

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1. Be aware of what is happening around you. Stay alert. Don't become drunk or drugged.

2. Decide what you do and do not want to do before get together with a potential sexual partner. Think about how to communicate this to your date.

3. Communicate your limits firmly and directly. Don't assume that your date will automatically know how you feel, or will eventually "get the message" without you having to tell him/her. If you say "NO", say it like you mean it. Don't give mixed messages.

4. Act in a way that shows you value yourself. Respond assertively to any even minor acts of sexual harassment or disrespect. Do not allow others to violate your personal space.

5. Guard your drink at all times.

6. 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.

7. Trust your instincts and get out of any situation that feels wrong.

8. Do not assume that someone who has been non-violent in the past will never be violent.

9. Don't be afraid of not being liked by someone who won't respect your feelings.

10. Use a buddy system to watch out for each other. Go home with the friends you went out with.


Use peer pressure positively. Condemn rather than condone the behavior of a peer who is planning to or has tricked. pressured or forced someone into sex. Speak up.

Don’t excuse what people do when they are drunk or high. If it is wrong when they’re sober, then it is wrong when they’re drunk.

Get involved if you believe someone is at risk. If you see a person in a vulnerable situation at a party or a friend sexually coercing someone, don't be afraid to say something. You may save one friend from the trauma of sexual assault and another friend from the ordeal of criminal prosecution. Here are some tips for how to intervene safely

Hold the perpetrator accountable for his or her actions. Never blame the victim for the perpetrator’s decision to commit sexual assault . Don't excuse or minimize the perpetrator's actions.

Remember that any form of sexual contact without consent is against the law.


Alcohol use does not cause sexual assault. Most of us would never have sex without consent not matter how much alcohol we drank. Alcohol is used as a device to make people vulnerable and as an excuse for abusive behavior.

Drinking alcohol does not give someone the right to sexually assault you!

Drinking alcohol does not excuse you from sexual assaulting someone else!

Alcohol does put you at greater risk to be victimized. You are less able to assess risk and you react less quickly to danger. To protect yourself, keep alcohol use to a minimum, if at all.

If you have sex with someone who is too drunk to give consent it is a felony. If you have sex with someone without her/his clear consent, it is sexual assualt. Being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs does not excuse your behavior. You are legally and morally responsible for your behavior at all times.

Be aware of gender differences in the metabolism of alcohol. Women become more intoxicated than men on the same amount of alcohol, even when they weigh the same. This is because women have less muscle tissue which contains the body fluid that dilutes alcohol and because women's bodies more quickly process alcohol through the stomach and into the bloodstream.

Research has shown that women lack a stomach enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase, which usually acts as a protective barrier and acts to break down the alcohol before it is absorbed. Without this enzyme, alcohol enters women's bloodstreams in a higher concentration. Alcoholic women have virtually none of this enzyme.

Women are less able to predict the effects of consuming a given amount of alcohol. Day-to-day variability in response to alcohol occurs due to the effects of the menstrual cycle. Greater susceptibility to alcohol's influence occurs just before menstruation.

The less a woman weighs, the longer it takes her body to be clear of alcohol.
The presence of birth control pills has also been shown to slow metabolism of alcohol.

As with many crimes and criminals, the perpetrator will base his attack on the element of opportunity, generally selecting a victim who appears to be vulnerable and alone at a given time and place. Most perpetrators are known by the victim and may even be an intimate partner. Many assaults are not spur-of-the-moment decisions but have been planned ahead of time.


  1. Have the locks on all exterior doors re-keyed when you move into a new apartment or house. If in a residence hall room and your key is lost or stolen, UW-W maintenance can re-key your door.
  2. If you have combination locks on your Residence Hall room, do not give it out to anyone.
  3. Sliding glass doors and windows usually come equipped with inadequate locks. They may be secured by the installation of inexpensive key locks, anti-slide blocks or poles, or pinned with a nail or screw.
  4. Don't automatically open the door to a stranger and don't rely on a chain lock. Chain locks can be broken easily. Lock your doors at all times, even if you plan only to be gone for a few seconds.
  5. If someone comes to the door asking to use the phone for an emergency, offer to make the call for them, but don't let them come in.
  6. Request identification from all service repair staff and maintenance personnel. Check their credentials by calling the company they represent. In an apartment, call the manager. In a residence hall, contact your Residence Hall Director or RA.
  7. When showering in a residence hall or public type shower facility, have someone monitor the shower area or entrance.
  8. Good lighting is a deterrent to crime. If lighting is inadequate in an apartment or residence hall setting, report it to appropriate personnel.
  9. Be alert for suspicious phone calls! Do not give descriptive information about yourself, your family, or your neighbors.
  10. Never mention or advertise that you may be alone or live alone. List your last name and first initial only on your mailbox, front door and telephone book. Consider adding a fictitious name or names on your mailbox in addition to your own.
  11. When home alone, or even when gone from your residence, make it appear occupied. Leave a radio and light on.
  12. Do not hide an extra key outside. Criminals already know the best hiding places!
  13. Be wary of acquaintances who make a habit of "dropping in" when you're alone.
  14. Do not enter your residence if there are any signs of forced entry. Go to a safe place and call the police.
  15. If you plan on returning home after dark, keep an entry light on.


  1. Whenever possible, park in a well-lit area.
  2. Always keep the car locked when driving and when parked.
  3. Have your keys ready in your hand when approaching your car or residence. It saves time when you need it.
  4. When possible, have a friend accompany you to your car.
  5. Before getting in your car, always check the back seat or storage areas and the floors.
  6. If you think you are being followed, do not drive home. Drive to a police or fire station, or a nearby, well-lit area with people.
  7. If you have trouble on the road, raise the hood and then wait inside the car with doors locked and windows raised. If a motorist stops to help, open your window slightly and request that he or she call a service facility or the police.
  8. Do not pick up hitchhikers under any circumstances.
  9. Be wary of suspicious vehicles which signal for you to pull over and stop. In Wisconsin, fire and rescue vehicles will have red or red and white emergency lighting. Police vehicles will have red or red and blue emergency lighting.
  10. Avoid isolated roads and shortcuts.
  11. Be sure your car is in good operating condition and that you have enough fuel.


  1. A perpetrator may be looking for a person who appears vulnerable and inattentive to their surroundings. Keep alert and walk with a purpose.
  2. Avoid walking alone, especially if you're depressed, exhausted, or intoxicated. You need to be alert.
  3. If you are being harassed from a vehicle, turn and walk in the opposite direction.
  4. Stay in well-lit areas, away from alleys, bushes, and entryways.
  5. If someone asks directions, maintain your distance from that person or vehicle.
  6. When walking or jogging on a regular basis, change your route occasionally. Always walk or jog on the side of the street facing traffic.
  7. Wear clothing and footwear that offer you freedom of movement. Don't overburden yourself with books, packs, etc.
  8. If you feel someone is following you, change your route--walk faster, slower, or cross the street and see what happens. If you sense danger, go to a public area and draw attention to yourself. An open store or lighted private residence are also good choices.
  9. In an elevator, stand next to the control panel so that you have access to the alarm or emergency button or telephone.
  10. Never hitchhike or accept a ride from a stranger. It is more than a risk; it's dangerous. Once you've done this, you've lost control over your environment.
  11. If you carry a purse, choose a larger one with a substantial shoulder strap. Keep the purse close to your body and the strap over the shoulder.
  12. Try to keep your keys separate from your identification.


Always get consent and give respect.

1. 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.

2. Always ask before you touch someone sexually.

3. 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.

4. Listen Carefully. Take the time to hear what your date is saying. Be sensitive to that person's feelings. If you feel your date is not being direct or is giving you a "mixed message", ask for a clarification.

5. Don't make assumptions about your date's behavior. Don't automatically assume that someone wants to have sex just because she/he drinks heavily, dresses provocatively, or agrees to go to your room. Don't assume that just because someone has had sex with you previously she/he is willing to have sex with you again. Also don't assume that just because your date consents to kissing or other sexual intimacies, she/he is willing to have sexual intercourse.

6. 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.

7. Don’t have sex with someone who is drugged, intoxicated, passed out, incapable of saying "NO", or unaware of what is happening around her/him. That is sexual assault. Getting someone drunk is not the same as getting her/his permission. Be aware that having sex with someone who is mentally or physically incapable of giving consent is against the law.

8. If you have to pressure your date or get your date intoxicated to do it, don’t do it. Submission is not consent. Consent is active and not passive. Any sexual contact without consent is considered sexual assault in Wisconsin.

9. Do not exploit or sexually harass others with humor, threats or embarrassing comments.

10. Be especially careful in group situations. Be prepared to resist pressure from friends to participate in violent 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 or that the other person isn’t attracted to 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.

This site is not meant to replace the advice of health care, counseling or legal professionals. You should not rely on any information on these pages, or information generated for you by this site, to replace consultations with qualified professionals regarding your own specific situation.

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