Sexual Assault Prevention Tips

Safety tip to help avoid sexual assault:

 

No action or inaction by a crime survivor makes that person responsible for his or her victimization. Perpetrators are responsible for crimes and their effects. The following suggestions may help reduce the possibility of experiencing a crime, or may improve opportunities to receive prompt assistance.

  • Rape and sexual assault are never the fault of the survivor. It is the behavior of the perpetrator that is wrong.
  • 80% of sexual assault and rapes are perpetrated by someone known to the survivor, and on college campuses 90% of survivors know their attacker.
  • Sexual assault and rape can happen to people in all contexts, including marriage, dating relationships, friendships, child-parent interactions, employer-attendant relationships and stranger interactions.
  • Date rape drugs are extremely potent drugs that are used to make victims unaware of sexual attacks. When under the influence of date rape drugs, the victim will be unable to fight off an attack and generally have no idea that they have been drugged. Often the details of the attack will also be quite fuzzy, making it difficult to catch criminals that use them.
  • If a friend starts to exhibit symptoms of a date rape drug, seek medical help immediately.  Signs to look for include:  dizziness and /or nausea, memory loss, breathing or motion difficulties, and acting disproportionately intoxicated relative to the amount of alcohol consumed.
  • Date rape drugs can be a small pill, liquid or powder. It completely dissolves in any liquid, so it is easy to slip into an unattended drink. Once administered and the victim has completely succumbed to the effects of the drug, the victim is defenseless against unwanted advances.
  • Get verbal consent from your partner.  Consent at its most basic level means everyone involved wants to participate.  Consent Cannot be Given:

-       If someone is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs

-       If someone is passed out, unconscious, asleep, or coming in or out of consciousness

-       Under direct or implied threat of bodily harm or other forms of coercion

-       If any party is under 18 years of age

-       If someone has a physical, developmental or mental disability that impairs their ability to understand the act

  • Consent at its most basic level means everyone involved wants to participate.  Consent cannot be given if someone is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs; if someone is passed out, unconscious, asleep, or coming in or out of consciousness; under direct or implied threat of bodily harm or other forms of coercion; or if any party is under 18 years of age.
  • Always seek consent. Don't assume you know what the other person wants.  Stop your sexual advances if the other person indicates no interest or if they say "no".  Engaging in any type of sexual activity without the explicit consent of your partner is sexual assault.   If either party is under the influence of alcohol, consent cannot be given.
  • Don't feel obligated to do anything you don't want to. "I don't want to" is always a good enough reason.
  • Listen to your partner. If you're receiving unclear messages, stop.
  • Sexual assault is a felony in the state of CA. Sentencing can include up to 10 years in prison, fines, registration as a sex offender and expulsion from the University.
  • Always have a plan for how you will get home.  If you are near the UC Berkeley campus, you can utilize the free Night Safety Services, as described at http://nightsafety.berkeley.edu
  • A wide range of victimizations, separate from rape or attempted rape are considered sexual assaults. These crimes include attacks or attempted attacks generally involving unwanted sexual contact between victim and offender. Sexual assaults may or may not involve force and include such things as grabbing or fondling.
  • Do not accept rides or walking accompaniment from people you don’t know well and trust.
  • If you feel you are being followed, cross the street, yell, run and look for a well-lit area or occupied building.
  • Make sure your cell phone is charged and that you have money for a taxi.
  • Talk to your friends.  Agree to look out for each other.  Let them know if you plan on leaving with someone, where you’re going, and when you’ll be back.
  • If you think someone is at risk for a sexual assault, consider it an emergency and get involved.  Don’t wait for someone else to act.
  • Report incidents that affect your community even though you may not be the victim.
  • Tell someone where you are going, who you will be with and when you will be back.
  • If you start to feel concerns about a person or a situation, trust your feelings and try to remove yourself from the potential threat, even if it is someone whom you know. 
  • If someone approaches you or touches you in an inappropriate manner, try to get away and call out for help.  Dial 911, call 510-642-3333 or activate a blue light emergency phone.
  • When you go to a party, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other frequently and leave together.
  • Have a buddy system. Don’t be afraid to let a friend know if you are worried about her/his safety.
  • Sexual violence is never the fault of the victim. 
  • To protect yourself, do not leave drinks unattended and be wary of accepting drinks from people you do not know well. To be even more careful, make sure that you open and pour your own drink and don’t share drinks with others.
  • Know your sexual boundaries and that you have a right to say “No” no matter the circumstances.  Communicate your limits firmly and directly. The absence of a "no" is not a "yes."
  • Listen to your gut feelings.  If a situation seems suspicious or you sense you might be in danger, leave immediately and to a safe place.
  • Be aware that alcohol and drugs can impair your judgment and ability to make clear decisions.  Consent cannot be given if someone is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, is passed out, unconscious, asleep, or coming in or out of consciousness
  • Use alcohol/intoxicants sparingly, set your limits for consumption and if you see someone who is intoxicated, offer to call him or her a cab.
  • Don’t be afraid to intervene if you see a friend leaving a party with a stranger.
  • Utilize the free Night Safety Services located at http://nightsafety.berkeley.edu 
  • Avoid engaging in, supporting, or encouraging sexual harassment.
  • Do NOT use threats or coercion to engage in sexual activity.
  • If you have been the victim of a  violent crime the following resources are available to you:

-       Confidential Care Advocate - (510) 642-1988

-       Tang Social Services (510) 642-6074

-       Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) -  24-hr line (510) 845-RAPE (7273)

-       The Survivor Support Website - http://survivorsupport.berkeley.edu/

-       Gender Equity Resource Center - (510) 643-5727

-       CARE Services for Faculty and Staff – (510) - 643-7754

  • If you are the victim of a sexual assault and are not ready to speak to the police, call the UHS Advice Nurse (510) 643-7197 to determine the best plan for taking care of yourself. (When Tang is closed, call Bay Area Women Against Rape: (510) 845-7273.)
  • If you are the victim of a sexual assault and wish to file a police report do not shower or wash your clothing worn during the assault.
  • Do not take advantage of someone who is passed out, incoherent or otherwise incapacitated.
  • Be respectful of yourself and others.  Make sure that any sexual act is okay with your partner, and remember that consent is an active process, not the absence of no.
  • Stay alert and if you feel uneasy, go to a safe location and call a friend or the police.
  • If you notice a situation that seems unsafe for another student, intervene if it is safe to do so or call for support.
  • Perpetrators choose victims for their vulnerability, not by how they look or act.  Rape is not a crime of sexual desire.  It is a crime of hostility and violence toward the victim.  Rape is never the victim’s fault.  Only the perpetrator chooses to commit a sexual assault.
  • All individuals are potential rape victims, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender or educational background.  Both males and females can be the victim of rape.
  • Being drunk does not mean a person is asking to be raped.  Forcing sexual contact on another person without consent is against the law.  Someone who is incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol is unable to give consent.  Sex without consent is sexual assault.
  • There is a difference between not wanting to stop and not being physically able.  People are physically capable of controlling their sexual actions.
  • Statistics show that on college campuses 90% of rape victims know their attackers.  The rapist may be a classmate, friend, co-worker, date or other acquaintance.

Resources for victims of crime

If you are an affiliate of UC Berkeley, whether a student or employee, these resources are available to you. We encourage you to reach out and learn about ways you might get further assistance.

  • UCPD Berkeleypolice.berkeley.edu
    1 Sproul Hall (basement, on Bancroft at Telegraph)
    • Non-emergency 24/7 (510) 642-6760
  • University Health Servicesuhs.berkeley.edu
    2222 Bancroft Way (The Tang Center)
    • Urgent Care Clinic (510) 643-7197
    • Social Services (student) (510) 642-6074
    • Be Well at Work (staff) (510) 643-7754
  • Gender Equity Resource Center, Sexual Harassment/Sexual Assault Resource Specialist
  • Center for Student Conduct, studentconduct.berkeley.edu (510) 643-9069
  • Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, (510) 643-7985
  • Student Legal Services, (510) 642-3916
  • Student Advocateadvocate.berkeley.edu (510) 642-6912
  • Ombudsperson for Students and Postdoctoral Appointees, (510) 642-5754
  • Ombuds Office for Faculty (510) 642-4226
  • The Staff Ombuds Office (510) 642-7823