10 Things Anyone Can Do To Help Prevent Sexual Assault

By Mary Morton, affirmative action officer, Office of the President

September 15, 2014

Hand icon stop signEmpire State College is committed to providing a safe and secure environment in which all its members are treated with dignity and respect. To that end, the college takes the strongest possible stand against sexual violence and sexual harassment in all its forms including sexual assault but also including the use of coercion, intimidation or exploitation of others for sexual purposes. The college remains actively engaged in educating its members about these vital issues and in providing timely support and assistance to victims of sexual violence. Below you will find 10 things that anyone can do to prevent sexual assault.

  1. 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. Do anything but remain silent.
  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 – you can make sex safer for yourself and others.
  3. Be aware of language. Words are very powerful, especially when spoken by people with power over others.
  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 men feel safer to speak out about being raped.
  5. Contribute Your Time and/or Money. Donate time or money to organizations working to prevent violence against women in our community, such as rape crisis centers and woman shelters.
  6. Organize. Join an organization dedicated to stopping violence against women.
  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 you’re 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 percent of all males will be sexually abused in their lifetimes; about whether they know someone who has been raped. Learn about how sexual violence touches the lives of men and what we can do to 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 everyone’s equality.
  10. Always make sure it’s consensual. If you’re going to have sex, make sure that it’s 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 – you need to ask. Consent cannot be given legally when an individual is intoxicated or incapacitated.

Victims of sexual assault should immediately report the incident to local police at 911, victims also should report incidences to the SUNY Empire State College Office of Safety and Security, emergency line:  518-587-2100 ext. 2899; or to the Title IX Coordinator, Office of the President at 518-587-2100 ext. 2265.


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Article Contributors

Chad Brunton

Helen Edelman

Kelly Hermann

Pamela Malone

Mary Morton

Mollie Muenzen

MaryCaroline Powers








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