Skip to main content

Prevention of Sexual Offenses

Sexual offenses cross the boundaries of gender, age, class, race, and sexual orientation. While the majority of victims are presumably female (an estimated one in four women will be sexually abused, and one in eight will be raped in their lifetime), there is a high prevalence of sexual assault among men as well. Men are increasingly coming forward with sexual abuse histories.

Therefore, all students should be aware of behaviors that constitute a sexual offense, steps to protect themselves, and procedures to report an incident. The following section provides prevention information along with descriptions of gang, acquaintance, and substance-related rape.

 • Trust Your Instincts: Honor your gut reaction even if you don’t know why you feel unsafe. If you are uncomfortable in a situation, leave immediately and seek help.

 • Be Alert: Being aware of people, surroundings, and situations is the first step in preventing a sexual offense. Become familiar with your surroundings. Know how to contact police or campus public safety, and learn locations of public telephones and campus emergency phones.

 • Think Ahead: Become familiar with safety and prevention techniques, the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures, and the procedure for reporting these incidents.

Reduce Your Risk: Review the prevention techniques in this brochure. For example:

  • Become familiar with the neighborhood.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and plan with friends to look out for one another.
  • The majority of sexual offenses are committed by someone the victim knows, so it is important to spend time with people you know well and trust.
  • Do what is right for you when it comes to sexual activity and let people know your limits as clearly as possible.

Know the Facts

  • Consent must be active and full. If any type of manipulation, threat, or force is used to obtain a “yes” to sexual activity, the “yes” does not qualify as consent.
  • Silence does not mean “yes.” If a person is afraid to say “no,” physically immobilized as a result of coercion, or incapacitated due to drug or alcohol consumption or a mental disability, they are unable to consent to sexual activity.
  • The respondents and complainants are intoxicated in the majority of reported sexual offenses on college campuses. Avoid excessive alcohol and other drug use. Alcohol and drug use can lead you to commit a sexual offense, blunt your alertness, and  impair your ability to understand and respond to feelings and situations, making it more difficult to ask for and receive consent, or to resist peer pressure to engage in behaviors that put you at risk.

When You Are Going Out for the Evening

Tell someone you trust where and with whom you’re going and when you will return.

  • Go out with friends you trust and agree to look out for one another. Leave with a friend rather than alone or with someone  you do not know very well.
  • Do not leave beverages unattended; always keep your drinks in sight.
  • Pay attention to your friends’ behavior. Discourage friends from leaving with someone they don’t know well—even if this person is an acquaintance.
  • Share this information with friends and talk about ways to look out for each other.

• At Home and in the Residence Halls

  • Never open your door to strangers. If you are not expecting anyone, use the peephole (if one is available) and ask for  identification and the reason for their visit. Do not be afraid to ask questions or to call police or the Department of Public Safety to report suspicious people.
  • Never let someone into your building unless you know that person lives there.
  • Do not prop open any doors to your building. This is an easy way for a person to gain entry without anyone noticing.


  • Constantly be aware of your surroundings—people, lighting, and situations.
  • Do not walk while wearing headphones or earbuds; it dulls your hearing and makes you less aware of what is happening around you.
  • Avoid walking alone at night. Call Public Safety for the nearest van to off-campus locations or back to campus.
  • Walk close to the curb to avoid shrubs, dark doorways, and other places people can hide.
  • Do not take shortcuts through dark and isolated places.
  • Have your keys in your hand so that you do not spend time looking for them.
  • Blue light emergency phones are available at various locations on campus and are useful in calling for assistance.

• Public Transportation

  • Wait for trains in the off-hours waiting areas designated at each station.
  • Do not ride in empty subway cars; ride in the conductor’s car.
  • Use station exits with the most activity.
  • Use only licensed yellow and green cabs.


  • Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up while driving or parking your car.
  • If you feel threatened at a red light or stop sign, sound your horn and drive away.
  • Park your car in a place that is well lit at night.
  • Keep your car in good condition and filled with enough gas to make it to your destination.
  • Always know where you are going and how to get there.
  • Store valuables out of sight in your locked trunk.