Sexual assault can happen to anyone
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact without your consent. It can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, sex, location, race, or economic standing. No one is immune from sexual assault, and it is important to be aware of the common risks and know how to stay safe.
Sexual activity should only be engaged with when both parties are in agreement and enthusiastic to participate. If one party does not silently or verbally agree to all activities, it is considered sexual assault. To stay safe, it is important to be aware that subtle nonverbal cues, such as crossing one’s arms, could mean disinterest or a lack of consent, especially if the other person is not explicitly saying “no.” Being aware of, and respecting, the boundaries of others is integral to staying safe.
Risks for young people
Young adults and teens who are not aware of the risks of sexual assault are at greater risk of becoming victims. It is important for young adults to know that sexual assault can happen anywhere, even if there is no direct threat of violence. It is also important to remember that someone you know or trust could be an assailant, as well as a stranger. Being aware of these potential risks and understanding how to protect oneself can be essential for staying safe and healthy.
Strategies for staying safe
To stay safe, it is important to be aware of the potential risks of sexual assault and take proactive steps to protect yourself. Here are some strategies to protect yourself:
- Trust your instincts — If you feel uncomfortable in a certain situation, it is best to remove yourself quickly.
- Make sure that you clearly communicate your boundaries and take time to evaluate a situation before agreeing to engage in sexual activity.
- Know your limits and be willing to refuse any level of sexual activity that you are not comfortable with.
- Avoid putting yourself in dangerous or uncomfortable situations, especially if under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
- If you are out on a date, make sure to keep your cell phone accessible to easily call for help if needed.
- If you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe, call for help or find someone to help you get out of the situation as quickly as possible.
If you or someone you know has experienced an act of sexual violence, it is important to get help right away. There are many resources available to victims of sexual assault, including crisis hotlines, counseling sessions, and support groups.
Sexual assault can have a serious impact on mental and physical health, which is why it is important to understand the risks and build a strong foundation for staying safe and healthy. If you ever feel unsafe or are a victim of sexual assault, remember there is help available and you are not alone.