Through education and support, we can all help to prevent sexual misconduct at UCF.
We can all help to maintain a community free of harassment, discrimination, and intimidation. The worst thing we can do is remain silent about sexual misconduct. If you’ve witnessed an incident, you’re a bystander. Bystanders can be active in a number of different ways. Whether it’s interrupting a potentially risky situation, speaking out against something that doesn’t appear right, or providing support to a victim after an incident, we all have a responsibility to each other.
ALL UCF KNIGHTS should attempt to disrupt or prevent sexual misconduct of students, employees, and visitors. Here’s how you can help:
- Calling the UCF Police Department immediately when you believe you are witnessing sexual misconduct at 911.
- From a position of safety, call out to the harasser to stop.
- Casually introduce yourself to the harasser and allow the victim time to escape, if you can do so safely. If possible, ask others to approach the scene with you so that you outnumber the harasser.
- Note the exact location and appearance of the harasser.
- Take photos if you can.
- Be aware.
- Make detailed notes as soon as you can of what you saw and provide them to the police or Title IX coordinator.
- TAKE ACTION. DO NOT STAND BY AND DO NOTHING – DO SOMETHING!
Risk Prevention Techniques from RAINN
With no intent to victim blame and recognizing that only rapists are responsible for rape, the following are some strategies to reduce one’s risk of sexual assault or harassment (taken from Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network).
- 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.
- Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
- Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be.
- Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable.
- Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have cab money.
- Don’t allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.
- Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.
- When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.).
- Don’t leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you’ve left your drink alone, just get a new one.
- Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust. If you choose to accept a drink, go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself. At parties, don’t drink from the punch bowls or other large, common open containers.
- Watch out for your friends, and vice versa. If a friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they’ve had, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place immediately.
- If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.). Be explicit with doctors so they can give you the correct tests (you will need a urine test and possibly others).
Tips for escaping a potentially dangerous situation
- Remember that being in this situation is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong, it is the person who is making you uncomfortable that is to blame.
- Be true to yourself. Don’t feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to do. “I don’t want to” is always a good enough reason. Do what feels right to you and what you are comfortable with.
- Have a code word with your friends or family so that if you don’t feel comfortable you can call them and communicate your discomfort without the person you are with knowing. Your friends or family can then come to get you or make up an excuse for you to leave.
- Lie. If you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Some excuses you could use are: needing to take care of a friend or family member, not feeling well, having somewhere else that you need to be, etc.
- 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?
- If you 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.
For more information about bystander intervention, see:
- Bystander intervention document
- Bystander intervention information by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center
- Men Can Stop Rape
- STEP UP! – a comprehensive bystander intervention program
For more information about prevention, see:
- Not Alone’s Prevention Resources
- NUCF Shield Resource Pages
- Mentors in Violence Prevention
- KNIGHTS S.H.A.R.E. – Knights Helping Advocate Resiliency in Emergencies
- Sexual Violence Resource Center
- White House Task Force documents from the Not Alone website
- Climate Surveys: Useful Tools to Help Colleges and Universities in their Efforts to Reduce and Prevent Sexual Assault
- Preventing Sexual Violence on College Campuses: Lessons from Research and Practice
- Establishing Prevention Programming: Strategic Planning for Campuses
- The Clery Center for Security on Campus – A nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing violence, substance abuse, and other crimes on college and university campuses, and to assist the victims of these crimes.
- CDC report on best practices for sexual violence prevention
- CDC report on rape prevention and education program
- American College Health Association sexual violence toolkit
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