How to keep yourself and your community safe
Remember, it is never your fault if you have experienced sexual violence.
The only reason sexual violence happens is because there is someone present who is willing to commit an act of sexual violence.
Until we live in a community that is free from sexual violence, we must think of ways to keep each other safe.
Be an intervener
If you see someone might be in an uncomfortable or a potentially dangerous situation, and you feel it is safe to do something about it:
- Ask to talk with them for a minute, and check in with them.
- Ask the person they’re with to leave them alone.
- Find someone else who can help intervene if you’re not comfortable.
- Call for help -- your residence don, campus security on campus (705-748-1333), staff at a bar, or police wherever you are (911).
A note about barriers to intervening: We all hesitate to jump into a situation between other people. There are concerns about safety, embarrassment, or a sense that it’s none of our business. It helps to ask ourselves: “How will I feel if I don't do anything?”.
A note about safety: Your own personal safety is extremely important. Trust your instincts. If there is anything about a situation that you think is dangerous, call for help.
Talk to your friends about sex, communication, and safety
- Come up with plans if you’re going out together, including how you will get home. We can prevent drunk driving too!
- Talk about how to ask for and give consent. Make this a normal conversation.
- Discuss how to communicate boundaries. You don't have to have sex because of peer pressure or out of obligation.
- Offer to be the person a friend can call or text if they’re on a date and want to check in, or want an excuse to leave.
- Work out signals you can use with friends on your floor in residence or in your apartment if you’re uncomfortable with a date or sexual situation.
Watch out for yourself and others when partying
- Make choices about how much alcohol or drugs you are going to consume.
- Remember that alcohol is the most common date-rape drug.
- Don’t accept, and keep an eye out for open drinks, and don’t leave drinks unattended.
- Arrive together and leave together; keep an eye out on your friends and if they seem too intoxicated, make sure they get home safely.
- If you feel dizzy, confused or have unexplained symptoms, get help and get to a safe place. Call a sober friend, family member, or the Police (if off campus) or Security (if on campus). If you’re in a bar or a club, ask staff to help.
- If your friend is drunk, avoid letting them be taken away or brought to a private place by someone else.
- If you see someone who looks fairly sober hitting on someone who looks drunk, intervene. Get the drunk person away from the situation, ask for help from others, or call for help.
Be aware of building security
- Propping open or unlocking doors compromises everyone’s safety, in residence or in an apartment. Don't let anyone trail in behind you at a locked entrance.
- If you see someone suspicious on campus, call Security at 705-748-1333. If you see someone suspicious off campus, call police at 911. Trust your instincts.
- Don’t leave your residence room door unlocked when you are asleep or when you are not home.
It’s never your fault if you’re sexually assaulted.
Remember that sexual assault can happen regardless of precautions.
As a community, we can ALL work together to help prevent it from happening.
Materials adapted from/further information:
- The Trent Campus Security website offers safety tips to counter a variety of safety concerns
- Yes Means Yes Project Respect
- Who Are You? Video on how to intervene
- Step Up Sexual Assault Prevention
- Stanford University