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Prevent Sexual Assault

Sexual assaults do not only occur in dark alleys, perpetrators are usually not strangers. In fact, the majority of rape charges involve incidents between people who know each other. Such coerced or uninvited sexual contacts is a potential threat to the safety and security of all students. The Office of the Dean of Students is aware of students' concerns about possible exposure to various forms of sexual assault, including the risk of such assaults by acquaintances, ranging from unwelcome advances to date rape.

It is the policy of Purdue University to maintain the campus as a place of work and study for faculty, staff, and students, free of sexual assault and other forms of assault or harassment. Physical abuse is a violation of University Regulations. Working together, we can ensure a safer campus. This page will inform you about:

  • date rape and other forms of sexual assault;
  • prevention strategies; and
  • how to report an incident.

How Can You Help Prevent Sexual Assault?

Communicate: Discuss your expectations about sex early in a relationship, on a date, or at a party. Making assumptions in a dating relationship can lead to date rape. Communication is critical to establish mutual consent; without mutual consent, sexual intercourse becomes date rape and may constitute criminal rape as well.

Trust your feelings: Pay attention to your intuitive sense of what is right for you....if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't.

Respect each other's feelings: It is not necessary to agree with or fully understand what someone says in order to respect his or her feelings as real or true. If either person does not want sexual activity to take place, the other person must accept and respect that decision. In some ways, disregard for others' feelings contributes to date or acquaintance rape.

Get involved: Talk with women and men about issues of sexual assault and harassment. Join groups fighting sexual assault and speak out against attitudes that condone or promote sexual assault or harassment.

Recognize the danger of alcohol and other drugs: The use of alcohol and other drugs is a significant factor in acquaintance rape and date rape on college campuses. People who are intoxicated or high may not express themselves clearly or hear others clearly. If you choose to drink alcohol, know your limit. If your partner is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, recognize that submission or participation in sexual conduct may not necessarily be voluntary consent.

Report: Report any incident or threat of sexual assault to the Office of the Dean of Students or to the Police, even if you are unsure about how to define what happened to you. Report the incident even if the offender is not a student. Call (765) 494-1747 or come directly to Schleman Hall, Room 207 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You will be able to speak with a staff member. If you wish, bring a friend with you for support.

As a Woman, What Can You Do?

Speak directly: Talk to your date about your feelings. Express clearly your expectations so that you do not appear passive. Do not worry about being polite.

Trust your feelings and take action: If the situation feel uncomfortable, confront the person immediately or leave. If things start to get out of hand, be loud, protest, leave, or go for help. When out socializing, especially in a drinking situation, be able to get yourself home. Do not leave a party with someone you don't know very well.

Avoid falling for lines: Don't accept statements such as, "You would have sex if you cared about me." If he cares for you, he will respect your feelings.

Recognize that rape is not by strangers only: You can't always avoid potential date rape situations. A seemingly nice person can be a date rapist. Some men are more likely to be sexually aggressive than others. Watch out for:

  • Individuals who try to make you feel guilty or accuse you of being uptight if you resist their sexual overtures;
  • Individuals who ignore personal space boundaries;
  • Individuals who do not listen to you, ignore what you say, talk over you, or pretend not to hear you;
  • Individuals who do what they want regardless of what you want.

As a Man, What Can You Do?

Communicate: Talk about expectations for the date with your partner. Asking questions may be awkward at first, but it helps avoid misunderstanding.

Take "no" for an answer: "No" means "no" whenever it is said. Without clearly establishing consent, what some people call seduction is certainly date rape and may actually be criminal rape. A woman means what she says, especially when it comes to her own body. She has the right to change her mind, even after consenting to some type of sexual activity, including intercourse.

Recognize that submission is not consent: Men often assume that if a woman doesn't say "no" she means "yes." A woman may feel pressured to submit because of fears of physical violence, malicious gossip, and rejection. These fears can make submission seem like the only alternative. If you use force or threats or if a woman is drunk or passed out and unable to give consent, having sex with her makes you guilty of criminal rape.

Other Resources:

The Unabridged Student Counseling Virtual Pamphlet Collection