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University Life & Services | Leading the Experience

University Life & Services


Preventing Sexual Violence

When we think about alternatives to vulnerability, we must be careful not to assume that there is always something a person "could have done" to prevent an assault. This is blaming the victim. When a person is sexually assaulted, it is the assaulter who is to blame.

In addition, sexual assaults, including those committed by acquaintances, may be violent and unexpected. This means that even when a person is able to assert what s/he wants, there is no guarantee that his/her feelings will be respected.

There are no formulas that can guarantee our safety from sexual assault. In a situation that is becoming coercive or violent, the moment is often too confusing to plan an escape, and people react in various ways. Some will fight back. Others will not fight back for any number of reasons such as fear, self-blame, or not wanting to hurt someone who may be a close friend. While fighting and giving up are both extreme reactions, it is important to realize that any reaction is legitimate. Again, the burden of responsibility must be on the attacker, not the victim.

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

Be Aware

Be Active

10 Things Anyone Can Do To Help Prevent Sexual Assault

  1. Be aware of language. Words are very powerful, especially when spoken by people with power over others. When we see women as inferior, it becomes easier to treat them with less respect, disregard their rights, and ignore their well-being.
  2. Communicate. Sexual violence often goes hand in hand with poor communication. Our discomfort with talking honestly and openly about sex dramatically raises the risk of rape. By learning effective sexual communication -- stating your desires clearly, listening to your partner, and asking when the situation is unclear Ė you can make sex safer for yourself and others.
  3. Speak up. You will probably never see a rape in progress, but you will see and hear attitudes and behaviors that degrade women and promote rape. When your best friend tells a joke about rape, say you donít think itís funny. When you read an article that blames a rape survivor for being assaulted, write a letter to the editor. When laws are proposed that limit womenís rights, let politicians know that you wonít support them. Do anything but remain silent.
  4. Support survivors of rape. Rape will not be taken seriously until everyone knows how common it is. By learning to sensitively support survivors in their lives, we can help both women and other men feel safer to speak out about being raped and let the world know how serious a problem rape is.
  5. Contribute Your Time and/or Money. Donate your time or money to an organization working to prevent violence against women in our community, such as Crisis Services External Site Link Icon or the Family Justice Center External Site Link Icon.
  6. Organize. Join an organization dedicated to stopping violence against women, such as The Menís Group here at UB. Menís Anti-Rape groups are powerful in the fight to end sexual violence. You may also join SBI Safety Services External Site Link Icon through SBI Health Education.
  7. Talk with women... about how the risk of being raped affects their daily lives; about how they want to be supported if it has happened to them; about what they think men can do to prevent sexual violence. If youíre willing to listen, you can learn a lot from women about the impact of rape and how to stop it.
  8. Talk with men... about how it feels to be seen as a potential rapist; about the fact that 10-20% of all males will be sexually abused in their lifetimes; about whether they know someone whoís been raped. Learn about how sexual violence touches the lives of men and what we can do to stop it.
  9. Work to end ALL oppressions. Rape feeds off many other forms of prejudice -- including racism, homophobia, and religious discrimination. By speaking out against any beliefs and behaviors, including rape, that promote one group of people as superior to another and deny other groups their full humanity, you support everyoneís equality.
  10. Always make sure itís consensual. If youíre going to have sex, make sure that itís consensual. Consensual sex is when both partners are freely and willingly agreeing to whatever sexual activity is occurring. Consent is an active process, you cannot assume you have consent Ė you need to ask. Consent cannot be given legally when an individual is intoxicated.

Help! Where to find it.

Counseling Services (645-2720)
120 Richmond Quad
Ellicott Complex

Crisis Services (834-3131)
24 hour telephone hotline

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Counseling Services | 120 Richmond Quad | University at Buffalo | Buffalo, NY 14261-0053 | Tel: (716) 645-2720 or 829-5800 | Fax: (716) 645-2175 | Director: Sharon Mitchell | E-Mail: