Sexual Assault and Prevention Policy

Tips for Preventing Sexual Assault

Rape or sexual assault can happen to anyone, woman or man, and it’s never the victim’s fault. It’s important to know that…

  • Alcohol is a factor in almost all sexual assaults on college campuses.
  • Many perpetrators of sexual assault are someone the victim knows.
  • Sexual assaults can happen on a date or at a party.

There’s no absolute way to prevent sexual assault, but it helps to think about how you can stay safe.

Tips for Partying Smart

  1. Stick with your friends.
  2. Make a plan before you go out. Set up checkpoints or code words to make it easy for you and your friends to stay connected.
  3. Hold on to your drink—even when you go to the bathroom.
  4. If your drink is out of your sight, even for a few seconds, get a new one. Spiking a drink with a date rape drug can happen quickly.
  5. Don’t accept a drink from anyone—unless you can watch the bartender pour it.
  6. Don’t share drinks.
  7. Don’t drink from punch bowls or open containers.
  8. Don’t drink anything that tastes strange.
  9. Avoid clubs or parties that charge men but let women enter and drink for free.
  10. Always keep your cell phone charged and on you. You never know when you’ll need it.
  11. Make sure you always have a ride home or a plan to walk home with a friend or roommate.
  12. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right to you, leave and get to a safe place immediately.

 Tips for Dating Smart

  1. Know your limits—and let your date know them right from the start.
  2. Be clear about what’s okay for you. Don’t expect your date to read your mind.
  3. Trust your gut. If you feel uncomfortable, leave.
  4. Don’t get in over your head. If someone pushes you to do something you don’t want to do, you have the right to leave.
  5. Stay in control. Alcohol is the most common date-rape drug. In fact, alcohol is involved in 75 percent of all sexual assaults reported.
  6. Tell a friend where you are going, especially if you’re going out on a first date or a blind date.
  7. Avoid secluded places until you know your date better.
  8. Always charge your cell phone and keep it on you.
  9. Always carry enough money to take a taxi home.
  10. Pay attention to what you hear. A person may have a bad reputation for a reason.

Avoidance Strategies

Things you can do to minimize the risk of sexual assault.
1. Be aware of controlling behavior in your date or relationship. Rape is a crime of power and control. Most rape survivors recall feeling “uncomfortable” about some of their partner’s behaviors including:

  • Intimidating stares.
  • Degrading jokes or language.
  • Refusal to respond to stated physical limits.
  • Refusal to accept “no” as an answer, whether in a sexual context or otherwise.
  • Insistence on making all of the “important” decisions about the relationship or date.
  • An unwillingness to interact with you as a person rather than a sexual object.
  • Extreme jealousy, possessiveness.
  • Strong belief in sex role stereotypes.
  • A history of violent behavior.

2. Define yourself and your sexual limits. Your sexual limits are yours alone to define. The first step in preventing abuse is to define your limits clearly to yourself and then to act quickly when a date or partner intentionally or unintentionally crosses your stated boundaries.
3. Set clear limits and be firm. It is your body, and no one has the right to force you to do anything you don’t want to do. Many people have difficulty confronting coercive behavior because they have been socialized to be “polite”. If you do not want to be touched, you can say, “Don’t touch me,” or “Stop it, I’m not enjoying this.” Tell your partner, “If you do not respect my wishes right now, I’m leaving” and then do it if your partner won’t listen.
4. Do not give mixed messages. Say “yes” when you mean “yes” and “no” when you mean “no.” Be sure that your words do not conflict with other signals such as eye contact, voice tone, posture or gestures.
5. Be independent and aware on your dates. Do not be totally passive. Have opinions about where to go. Think about appropriate places to meet, (not necessarily your room or your date’s; these are the most likely places for acquaintance rapes to occur).
6. Examine attitudes about money and power in the relationship. If your partner pays for the date, does it affect your ability to say “no?” Does your date have a sense of sexual entitlement attached to spending money on your relationship? If so, then you may consider paying your own way, or suggesting dates that do not involve money.
7. Avoid secluded places where could be vulnerable. If you are unsure of a new person in your life or if this person has exhibited some of the controlling behaviors listed above, suggest a group or double date. Meet in public places, where there are other people and where you feel comfortable. This is especially important at the beginning of a relationship until you feel you know the person better.
8. Trust your gut feelings. If you feel you are in a dangerous situation, or that you are being pressured, you’re probably right, and you need to respond. Many rape survivors report having had a “bad feeling” about the situation that led to their victimization. If a situation feels bad or you start to get nervous about your date’s behavior, confront the person immediately or leave as soon as possible.
9. If you feel pressured, coerced or fearful: protest loudly, leave and, go for help. Make a scene! Your best defense is to attract attention to the situation if you feel you are in trouble. In an attempt to be nice or avoid embarrassment, you may be reluctant to yell or run away to escape being attacked. If you are worried about hurting the aggressors’ feelings, remember, the aggressor is attempting to hurt you physically and psychologically.
10. Be aware that alcohol and drugs are often related to acquaintance rape. They compromise your ability (and your partner’s ability) to make responsible decisions. If you choose to drink alcohol, drink responsibly. Be able to get yourself home, and do not rely on others to “take care” of you.
11. Be aware of inequalities in the relationship. Rape is a violent display of power. Does your partner perceive differences in terms of money, experience and age as entitling them to power over you in the relationship? Someone who rapes chooses to enforce such power imbalances in a sexual context.
12. Practice self-defense. Knowing in advance how you would respond to a physical threat greatly increases your chances of escape. Anyone can learn self-defense and classes are often available free or at a low cost through schools and community context.
13. Challenge sexist attitudes that make rape acceptable. People often deny the assailant’s responsibility in a rape by blaming the victim. People may do this to convince themselves that only “bad” people are at risk for rape and that as long as they live their lives by certain moral standards, they are safe. The truth is that as long as one person is at risk for rape, everyone is a potential target of violence. People can resist rape by challenging the attitude that those who are raped “deserve” to be victimized, and by intervening on behalf of those in danger.

Rape/Sexual Assault

The College has established a prescribed procedure to assist and support victims of rape or sexual assaults. The Campus Public Safety Department will assist you in obtaining medical, counseling, and police services.

You are encouraged to report immediately any incidents of this nature via emergency call boxes or by dialing 718 390-3148 even if you do not wish to pursue the matter further. Keep in mind that an assailant who is allowed to go free is a potential future danger, not only to you but also to other members of the community.

All information that you give will be held in the strictest confidence in accordance with our own policy as well as by the General Laws of New York. If you wish to report information concerning a rape or sexual assault anonymously, you may do so.

When you report a rape or sexual assault, you may choose to file charges through the District Attorney’s office or not at all. If you choose to file charges, the Campus Public Safety Department will assist you in every way, but no action will be taken without your expressed consent.

Every situation will be different. Therefore, we cannot provide any specific rules as to what to do or not to do if you are faced with a threat. Only you can make the determination as to the appropriate course of action.

If you think you are being followed, you can call out for assistance and run to a lighted building or residence; enlist the assistance of a passerby or flag down a passing vehicle, break a window in a building or residence or pull a fire alarm. Do anything that might attract attention or summon assistance.

If you find yourself confronted by an assailant you must remember that, while screaming and struggling may in some instances frighten off an assailant, in other instances such action may further antagonize an assailant and bring forth a more violent action.

There are many services available to victims of rape and sexual assault, and you are encouraged to use all support services.