Risk Reduction Strategies for Men & Women

Strategies to Reduce the Risk of Stranger Rape

Thought Questions

  1. Students sometimes sabotage security devices provided by their colleges. Do students in your residence hall prop security doors open?
  2. Intruders sometimes find it easy to enter locked residence halls by waiting for a student with a key to enter and asking the student to let them in on some pretext. Do students in your residence hall let such individuals in? How would you say "No" to a person approaching you with a seemingly plausible reason for needing to enter?
  3. How many of you use a friend or security to escort you? For those who don't, why are you reluctant to call for an escort?

Risk Reduction

Walking on Campus:

  1. Always be aware of what is going on around you. Stay alert to your surroundings.
  2. Walk with confidence. Hold your head up and shoulders straight.
  3. At night, stick to well-lighted, populated areas and walk with another person. Avoid walking alone or in isolated areas.
  4. Use campus escort services.
  5. Take special precautions in parking structures, stairwells, elevators, bathrooms, and dark areas with shrubbery. Studies show that many assaults by strangers occur in these places.
  6. If you suspect that you are being followed, go to a place where there are other people as soon as possible. If you choose to run, run as fast as you are able and scream to attract attention or summon help.
  7. Follow your gut instincts. If you sense that you may be at risk or in danger, try to get out of the situation. For example, if you see a suspicious looking person or someone who makes you feel uncomfortable in a parking lot, leave the area. Report your suspicions to the authorities.

In Residence Halls:

  1. Lock your door at all times, even if you run down the hall for just a few minutes to visit a friend.
  2. Do not prop security doors open.
  3. In residence halls accessed only by a special key or card, do not let anyone without such a key enter, no matter how presentable their appearance of how plausible their request seems. Simply tell them "I would like to help you out, but we are very concerned about security in this residence," and direct them to campus security for assistance.
  4. Be especially aware of security during vacation periods, when there are fewer people on campus.

Do's and Don'ts of Dating, Alcohol, and Date Rape

When you're on a date:

  1. Communicate with your date: "no" means "no"
  2. Know where you are going and speak up if you are uncomfortable with the plans
  3. Make sure someone knows where you are going
  4. Know directions so you can get home on your own if you need to
  5. Plan to go where there are a lot of people around, or on a group date if you feel uncomfortable going out as a couple
  6. Avoid use of drugs or alcohol, which can alter thinking or behavior
  7. DON'T go out without money of your own
  8. DON'T have sex because you feel guilty or that you owe the other person something

When you're at a party:

  1. Talk with your friends beforehand about who will be the designated driver, an estimate of how long you will stay, and what to do if you get separated
  2. Stay with a group of friends and people you know rather than going off by yourself, especially with someone you don't know
  3. If you leave the party, tell someone you know where you are going (preferably one of the people you came with)
  4. Make sure to eat a good meal if you plan to drink, and when at the party drink at least one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. Keep track of the amount of alcohol you drink, and don't go beyond the point of being aware of your surroundings
  5. DON'T go anywhere with a person you do not know well, and make sure you are clear with that person of your expectations if you plan to "hook up"
  6. Bring condoms with you if you plan to "hook up"
  7. DON'T let anyone else make decisions for you about sexual contact or how much you will drink

What to do if someone tries to force sexual activity on you:

  1. Stay CALM and THINK.
  2. Say "NO" strongly. Do not smile; do not act friendly or polite.
  3. Say something like "STOP IT. THIS IS RAPE." This might shock the rapist into stopping.
  4. Assess the situation. Figure out if you can escape. Are there many other people around?
  5. Look for an escape route. If you can figure out a way to distract him, you can sometimes escape.
  6. Act quickly, if possible. The longer you stay in the situation, the fewer your options.
  7. Ask yourself if it is safe to resist. This is a critical question. Women who fight back initially, who hit and scream, have a much higher chance of avoiding the completion of an assault than women who plead or try to talk their way out of the situation.
  8. Fight back physically: punch him in the Adam's apple, poke your finger in his eye, hit him with a lamp, kick him. Fight so that you can escape, as it is difficult for most women to incapacitate a man.