Safety Planning for Students: Avoiding Sexual Assault

Safety Planning for Students: Avoiding Sexual Assault

Love ≠ Forced Sex.  It’s a crime to force anyone to have sex without consent. 

  • Consent means giving or getting a ‘yes.’  Silence is not consent.
  • Consent is not ‘yes’ given under threat or coercion.
  • Consenting to one activity is not consent for every activity. 
  • Consent in the past is not consent for every future act. 
  • A person who is drunk, high, unconscious or asleep cannot give consent.
  • Consent is not given by wearing sexy clothes, dancing or flirting. 
  • Not fighting back is not consent.

A person you know, or even someone you love, may commit a sexual assault against you. You can’t always avoid a sexual assault.  It’s not your fault.

Love ≠ Coercion.  Force isn’t just physical pressure. Coercion can be social or emotional pressure.  Coercion uses guilt or your better nature against you:


“If you really loved me, you’d do it.”       “I’ll just tell everyone we did.”

“You can’t just make a guy stop.”           “Tonight’s perfect.  Why ruin it?”

“You’ve got me all worked up.”               “You worked hard.  It would be a shame not to get an A”

Think about what you would say:           “I don’t owe you an explanation or anything all"

“If you love me, you would respect what I want.”   “I do like you but I’m not ready for sex.”



Steps you can take to help prevent an assault:

  • Get to a safe place.
  • Look for an exit or public space.
  • If you are at a party or event, ask someone you trust to stay with you or not leave without you.
  • Sign up for a ride-sharing program or add a taxi # to your cell phone.



● Check out C.A.R.E. on Plan with your friends and dorm mates how to safety step in to help each other or another friend.


  • Create a distraction-“Let’s go get pizza.”  “This party is lame.  Let’s go.”
  • Ask directly- “Want me to stay with you?” “Need a ride?”
  • Refer to authority- Alert a security guard or bartender.  Call 911.
  • Enlist others- Ask friends to help you intervene or escort the person at risk.


●  Check in with yourself.  Did you plan to do what you are doing? With the person who is urging you to do it?  If you are feeling out of control, get to a friend and a safe place. 


● Be aware of your surroundings. Especially if walking or running alone, avoid the distraction of talking on a cellphone or using both earbuds. Don’t take the same route every time. Stay in busy, well-lit areas, especially at night. Use a campus security escort. 


IF YOU NEED LEGAL HELP with a protection order, divorce, child support, credit or debt, public benefit or housing problem, call Community Legal Aid Services at 1-800-998-9454 or apply 24/7 online:


What to Do After an Assault

Safety Planning Poster.pdf183.29 KB