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Risk Reduction

Risk reduction is not a tool that shifts the responsibility of assault or rape onto the victim—rapists are solely responsible.  However, there are strategies to reduce the risk of sexual assault, harassment, or other types of misconduct. Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation.  

  • Avoid isolated areas and areas that lack appropriate lighting.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • If at any point you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, make every attempt to remove yourself from the situation or ask for help.
  • If you witness something suspicious immediately, contact local authorities (dial 9-1-1.)
  • Avoid isolation with unfamiliar persons.
  • Make sure your cell phone is sufficiently charged.
  • Keep the gas tank filled at least halfway.
  • Avoid walking with headphones in both ears or otherwise limiting your ability to fully be aware of your surroundings.
  • Travel in groups.  Arrive to events in groups.  Maintain periodic contact with group members during events and leave with group members.
  • Let others know where you are going and how to contact you.  Set up a code word that will let your friends and family know that you are in trouble.
  • If you are in a social setting, do not leave your drink unattended.  If you have to leave your drink unattended for any length of time, dispose of the drink and order a new drink.
  • Do not accept drinks from people that you do not know.
  • Help your fellow community members by watching out for them.  If someone is too intoxicated, incapacitated, or otherwise acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place. If necessary, contact campus and local authorities.

If you suspect that someone has been drugged or otherwise intentionally incapacitated, contact law enforcement immediately (dial 9-1-1.)


Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation that is uncomfortable or unsafe. Being in an unsafe or uncomfortable situation is not your fault.  If you find yourself in one of these situations, try some of the following:

  • Only do things you are comfortable and okay with doing.
  • Avoid pressure from other individuals to engage in activities.
  • Say “No” or “I don’t want to.”
  • Make every attempt to escape the situation even if it means fabricating an excuse.
  • If you and/or the other person have been drinking, you can say that you would rather wait until you both have your full judgment before doing anything you may regret later.
  • Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors? Windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?