Sexual Assault & College Campuses – How to Spot & What to Do {Part 1}

College life brings with it a variety of different situations, both academic and social. Whether you’re in your dorm, apartment, out with friends, at a party off campus, out on a date, or at a sorority or fraternity party, it’s important to know how to keep yourself safe, and how to avoid and prevent sexual assault and attempted sexual assault. By being well informed, and making smart choices about your safety in all situations, you can be better prepared, and hopefully avoid becoming a victim of sexual assault.

What is sexual assault?

The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include:

Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape
Attempted rape
Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
Fondling or unwanted sexual touching

What is rape?

Rape is one type, but not all sexual assault is considered rape. The term rape is often used as a legal definition to specifically include sexual penetration without consent. For a more detailed definition of rape, defined by the FBI, click here.

— 1 in every 6 women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape

— Approximately 90% of rape and sexual assault victims knew their attacker prior to the assault

— 90% of all acquaintance rapes involve alcohol

For full article on statistics, click here.

The following tips are courtesy of UMKC; Crime Prevention Tips.
To visit the full site, click here.


Be aware ahead of time of your own sexual intentions and limits. Know that you always have the right to say “No” to any unwanted sexual contact. If you feel unsure about what you want, don’t hesitate to ask the man to respect your feelings.

Communicate your limits firmly and directly. If you say “No,” say it like you mean it. Don’t give mixed messages. Back up your words with a firm tone of voice and clear body language.

Don’t rely on “ESP” to get your message across. Don’t assume that your date will automatically know how you feel, or will eventually “get the message” without your having to tell him.

Remember that some men think that drinking, dressing provocatively, or going to a man’s room indicates a willingness to have sex. Be especially careful to communicate your limits and intentions clearly in such situations.

Listen to your gut feelings. If you feel uncomfortable or think you may be at risk, leave the situation immediately and go to a safe place.

Don’t be afraid to “make waves” if you feel threatened. If you feel you are being pressured or coerced into sexual activity against your will, don’t hesitate to state your feelings and get out of the situation. Better a few minutes of social awkwardness or embarrassment than the trauma of sexual assault.

Attend large parties with friends you can trust.  Agree to “look out” for one another. Try to leave with a group, rather than alone or with someone you don’t know very well.


Listen carefully. Take the time to hear what the woman is saying. If you feel she is not being direct or is giving you a “mixed message”, ask for clarification.

Don’t fall for the common stereotype that when a woman says “No” she really means “Yes.” “No” means “No.” If a woman says “No” to sexual contact, believe her and stop.

Remember that date rape is a crime. It is never acceptable to use force in sexual situations, no matter what the circumstances.

Don’t make assumptions about a woman’s behavior. Don’t automatically assume that a woman wants to have sex just because she is drinking, dresses provocatively, or agrees to go to your room. Don’t assume that just because a woman has had sex with you previously she is willing to have sex with you again. Also don’t assume that just because a woman consents to kissing or other sexual intimacies she is willing to have sexual intercourse.

Be aware that having sex with someone who is mentally or physically incapable of giving consent is rape. If you have sex with a woman who is drugged, intoxicated, passed out, incapable of saying “No,” or unaware of what is happening around her, you may be guilty of rape.

Be especially careful in group situations. Be prepared to resist pressure from friends to participate in violent or criminal acts.

“Get involved” if you believe someone is at risk. If you see a woman in trouble at a party or a male friend using force or pressuring a woman, don’t be afraid to intervene. You may save the woman from the trauma of sexual assault and your friend from the ordeal of criminal prosecution.

 Next week, our blog will cover general campus safety and
what to do if you are attacked.

If you, or someone you know, is a victim of sexual assault of any kind, it’s important that you have a trained professional that you can confide in to help you with your next steps. This is a traumatic and life-altering experience, and we can help. Call us on our 24-hour hotline at 913.962.0200 or set up an appointment immediately by visiting our Schedule Page (located here).



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