Illinois State University
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Things We Need to Know

Safety | Social Settings | What is Consent


College campuses can give you a sense of security—a feeling that everyone knows each other and watches out for one another. No advice will guarantee safety; however, the below tips are provided to help increase personal safety.

The responsibility for ending interpersonal violence is on those who perpetrate. It’s important to convey that those who experience any unwanted act of violence, are NOT to blame—help and support for the survivor are available on campus and in the community.


  • Know your resources. Who to contact and where to go if you need help? Locate resources such as the campus health center, campus police station, and a local sexual assault service provider. Notice where emergency phones are located on campus. Program the campus security number into your cell phone for easy access.
  • Stay alert. When you’re moving around in public, be aware of your surroundings. Ask a friend to join you or ask campus security for an escort ( Safe Walk info link ). If you’re alone, only use headphones in one ear to hear what’s going on around you.
  • Be careful about posting your location. Many social media sites, like Facebook and Snapchat, use geolocation to publicly share your location. Disable this function and review other social media settings.
  • Make others earn your trust. A college environment can foster a false sense of security. They may feel like forever friends, but give people time to earn your trust before relying on them.
  • Think about Plan B. Spend some time thinking about back-up plans for potentially sticky situations. If your phone dies, do you have a few numbers memorized to get help? Do you have emergency cash in case you can’t use a credit card? Do you have the address to your dorm or college memorized? If you drive, is there a spare key hidden, gas in your car, and a set of jumper cables?
    • Be secure. Lock your door and windows when you’re asleep and when you leave the room. If people constantly prop open the main door to the residence hall or apartment, tell security or a trusted authority figure.

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Social Settings

It’s possible to relax and have a good time while still making safety a priority. Consider these tips for staying safe and looking out for your friends in social settings.

  • Make a plan. If you’re going to a party, go with people you trust. Agree to watch out for each other and plan to leave together. If your plans change, make sure to touch base with the other people in your group. Don’t leave someone stranded in an unfamiliar or unsafe situation.
  • Protect your drink. Don’t leave your drink unattended, and watch out for your friends’ drinks. Drink only from unopened containers or drinks you watched being made and poured. It’s not always possible to know if something has been added to someone’s drink. In drug-facilitated sexual assault, a perpetrator could use a substance that has no color, taste, or odor.
  • Know your limits. Keep track of how many alcoholic drinks you’ve had, and be aware of your friends’ behavior. If one of you feels more impaired than you should, leave the party or situation and find help immediately.
  • It’s okay to lie. If you want to exit a situation immediately and are concerned about upsetting someone, it’s okay to make an excuse. You are never obligated to remain in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, pressured, or threatened. You can also lie to help a friend leave a situation that you think may be dangerous. Some excuses you could use are needing to take care of another friend or family member, an urgent phone call, not feeling well, and having to be somewhere else by a certain time.
  • Be a good friend. Trust your instincts. If you notice something that doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Seek assistance when needed.

Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

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What is Consent


A clear and unambiguous agreement, expressed in mutually understandable words or actions, to engage in a particular activity.
  1. Consent is fundamental. You must obtain permission before engaging in or going further with any sexual activity.
  2. Consent requires communication. Verbal communication before engaging in sexual activity clarifies consent. Discussing your own and your partner’s sexual desires, needs, and limitations provides a basis for a positive experience.
  3. Consent is affirmative. Listen for a clear and positive agreement. These factors don’t count: the absence of “no,” silence, relying solely on body language, flirtation, coercion, marital or relationship status, power differentials, clothing choice, or a person’s past behavior. “Yes” is a statement of consent, and occurs throughout the sexual experience. Check in with your partner often and make certain they are as excited as you.
  4. Consent is voluntary. Consent must be given freely and willingly, and may not be valid if one person is being subjected to emotional or psychological pressure, intimidation, or fear.
  5. Consent must be unimpaired. A person who is impaired in any way, asleep, or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason, is not capable of giving valid consent. Using alcohol or drugs may also seriously interfere with the initiator’s judgment about whether consent was sought or given.
  6. Consent is not permanent . Consent during one encounter does not imply consent for the future; it must be freely given every time.
  7. Consent can be revoked . Consent is subject to change and can be withdrawn at any time. Consent must be clear at each stage of a sexual encounter: agreeing to one sexual activity does not imply consent for all.
  8. Consent is autonomous. A current or past relationship, such as dating or marriage, does not override the need to obtain consent.
  9. Consent is equitable. Consent is invalid when the initiator holds authority over the partner, such as in an academic or workplace setting, or when one participant is under the legal age of consent.
  10. Consent is essential. Sexual contact without consent is considered sexual assault.

10 Ways to Distinguish Consent: A Guide for Students and Advisors

Source: Title IX Compliance Institute National Center for Student Life

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2020-01-14T09:59:17.485-06:00 2020