You can take an active role in increasing your own personal safety, the safety of those you care about, as well as others around you. While there's no way to eliminate the chance that something may happen, there are strategies that may reduce your risk or help you have the confidence to take steps to prevent sexual harassment.

Consent

 

decorative UVU campus in fall

What is consent?

Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. It must be freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific. It also must be given by someone 18 or older, and is not mentally and/or physically incapacitated.

Do I always have to ask for consent?

Giving consent for one activity is not giving consent for other activities.

What is incapacitated? Does that mean there was consent?

If there was no clear, knowing, or voluntary words or actions, consent was not given. Consent can only be given by someone who is active and participating. If someone is incapacitated (drunk, using drugs, mentally and/or physically incapacitated), they cannot give consent.

Can someone change their mind after giving consent?

Consent can be withdrawn at any time and the other person involved must respect that. Communicate with your partner that you are not comfortable and would like to stop.

What are examples where consent is present?

  • Communicating when you change the type or degree of intimate activity with phrases like “Is this OK?”
  • Explicitly agreeing to certain activities, either by saying “yes” or another affirmative statement, like “I’m open to trying”
  • Using clear physical cues to let the other person know you’re comfortable taking things to the next level

What are examples where consent is not present?

  • Refusing to acknowledge when someone says “no”
  • Assuming that wearing certain clothes, flirting, or kissing is an invitation for anything more
  • Someone being under the legal age of consent, as defined by the state
  • Someone being incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol
  • Pressuring someone into sexual activity by using fear or intimidation
  • Assuming you have permission to engage in intimate behavior because you’ve done it in the past

Safe Dating Tips

When meeting someone new for the first few times…

  • Don’t give them your address to pick you up for the date—drive yourself.  Otherwise they will know where you live.

  • Meet somewhere public and stay in public places.

  • Don’t get in their vehicle and let them take you out of a public setting until you trust them.

  • Tell someone where you are going, who you are meeting, and when you will be back. This can be a friend, roommate, or family member.  It’s also a good idea to have an emergency exit plan with that person in place.

  • If you feel uncomfortable with your date, it is okay to end your date and leave. Be direct and don’t let them talk you into something you feel uncomfortable with. If you’re not comfortable with that and want to leave, it’s okay to "make something up" like saying that you don’t feel well, or you have to meet someone at a specific time, or take a phone call.

  • If you feel like you need assistance you can ask others for their help.  You could ask the server at the restaurant or another person for their help. You are never obligated to stay in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, pressured, or threatened.

Safe Dating and Healthy Relationships - BROCHURE

Staying safe on campus

While you’re on campus, it’s easy to have a sense of security and safety. It’s almost a feeling that everyone is part of a courteous campus community and watches out for others. While UVU is recognized as one of the safest campuses in Utah, unfortunately there are people who take advantage of this and commit acts of sexual violence.

We can all take steps to increase safety on our campus. Faculty, staff, and students can learn ways to increase the chances to avoid or to prevent sexual assault and other crimes from occurring. When it comes to our personal safety, there are some steps each of us can take and those are outlined below. While there is no way to absolutely guarantee safety, sexual violence can happen to anyone whether on or off campus. Please remember, if you are sexually assaulted, it is not your fault. Here are some ideas to consider that may reduce your risk for many different types of crimes, particularly sexual violence.

classroom building exterior
  • Be alert. When you’re moving around on campus or in the surrounding neighborhoods, be aware of your surroundings. Consider inviting a friend to join you or asking campus security for an escort. University Police can send an officer to escort you on campus if you are feeling unsafe. Consider using headphones or ear buds in one ear to increase your awareness of your surroundings and what may be going on.
  • Be careful about posting your location. Many social media sites use geolocation to publicly share your location. Consider disabling this function and make sure you review social media and other app settings. Searching security features online for social media and other apps may help you better understand if and how your location may be shared on social media and the web.
  • Know your resources. Who should you contact if you or a friend needs help? Where should you go? Become familiar with the location of resources such as the campus health center, campus police station, a local sexual assault service provider, and local hospitals. Notice where lighting is better, where exits and entrances are located as well as emergency phones on campus. Program the campus security number into your cell phone for easy access.
  • Others should earn your trust. Trust should not be given freely or carelessly. A college environment can foster a false sense of security. You may feel like you’ve made fast friends but you should give people time and multiple safe opportunities to earn your trust before relying on them or meeting with them in private.
  • Consider your options for Plan B. You should think about “what-if” situations. Do know a couple of important numbers if your phone dies and you need help?  Do you carry some cash if your card doesn’t work? Do you have your address memorized? How about a spare key with a safe family/friend or hidden in a safe spot? If you have a car, what would you do if you run out of gas or if it won’t start? Do have jumper cables or someone to call if you have car trouble?

Environmental safety and security

Lock your doors and windows when you’re asleep and when you leave your room or apartment. Be aware of your valuable items such as electronics and ensure you keep them in safe and secure places. If you have a car, lock your doors and windows. Do not leave items in your car, even for a few minutes. Doing so may invite someone to break into your vehicle.

 

Safety in social settings

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You can relax and have a good time while still making safety a priority! Whether it's hanging out with friends, going to a party, attending an activity or event, please consider the following about staying safe and looking out for others in social settings.

  • Have a plan. If you’re heading out somewhere, go with people you trust. Agree ahead of time to watch out for each other and plan to leave together. If plans change, make sure to talk with the other people in your group. Avoid texting or leaving a message through others. Definitely don’t leave someone stranded in an unfamiliar or unsafe situation.
  • Protect your drink. Don’t think this isn’t a big deal. Don’t leave your drink unattended and watch out for your friends’ drinks if you can. If you step away, go to the bathroom or step outside, take the drink with you or toss it out. Only drink from unopened containers or drinks you watched being made and poured. Avoid drinking somebody’s else’s beverage. It’s not always possible to know if something has been added to someone’s drink because a potential perpetrator could use a substance that has no color, taste, or odor.
  • It’s okay to make something up. If you want to exit a situation immediately and are concerned about upsetting someone, it’s okay to make something up. You can also make something up to help a friend leave a situation that you think may be dangerous. Some excuses you could use are not feeling well, having to be somewhere else by a certain time, or meeting up with another friend or family member, or taking an urgent phone call. Remember, you are NEVER obligated to stay in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, pressured, or threatened.
  • Trust your instincts. If you see, hear, or notice something that doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t and you should take immediate steps to leave the situation.

Social media and online safety

What you choose to share on social media is always your decision, but what others choose to do with your information is not always under your control. Be proactive about personal safety regarding social media on your online presence.

  • Pause before you post. Remember the internet is a pen. Before you post, ask yourself if you are comfortable sharing this information with everyone who might see it, for example, friends, parents, family members, employer, police, judge, jury. Once it’s posted online, it’s there forever. Even deleted content can sometimes be reconstructed or accessed through the website, screenshots or other digital copies of the original post. Content that contains personal information or your whereabouts could pose a safety risk. Other posts may risk portraying you in a negative way, like compromising pictures, insults, threats, or inappropriate content directed at a specific person or group.
  • Be careful about sharing intimate content. If you have shared intimate content such as photos or messages, and you end the relationship with the recipient, they may try to blackmail you with a threat to post or share that content for others to see, even long after the relationship has ended. Think before you agree to send those types of photos or messages.
  • Personalize your privacy settings. Adjust your privacy settings on social media and web browsers to your own comfort level. Consider selecting options that limit who can view your information and what information is tracked and stored. Consider learning more about how your information is used, shared, and stored before creating an account or profile. The following list is just a few of the more common social media companies that have site-specific security pages and a quick search can help you learn more about privacy settings: Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+
  • Consider keeping personal information confidential. Consider carefully before providing personal identifying information, whether it’s yours, a family member, or a friend to social media, online sites, or apps. Personal identifying information includes information that directly identifies or can be used to identify an individual. This includes their name, address, social security number, other identifying number or code (i.e. UVU ID) birthdate, address, phone number, email address, banking information, medical information, etc.
  • Consider turning off geolocation. Many social media sites or apps will request to access your location, but in most cases this isn’t necessary. You shouldn’t need to share your location with others to get the most out of your online or app experience. Some sites share your exact location and make this information public with people you may or may not know such as Facebook, Google, or Foursquare.
  • Consider using a secure and/or private Internet connection. You should avoid using public Wi-Fi connections, like those offered at restaurants, businesses, airports etc., when using a website that asks for a password. Doing so can make it easier to for hackers to obtain this information. Limit your social media usage to personal or private Wi-Fi networks to better avoid being hacked.
  • Talk to your friends about public posts. Let your friends know where you stand on sharing content that may have your personal identifying information such as your photo, tagging you, or your location. Be respectful of other’s posting preferences, wishes, and deleting potentially embarrassing or uncomfortable posts. Remember their perception of acceptable may be different than yours. Before you post anything about another person, you should tell them about what you’re thinking about posting and ask their permission.
  • Report it. If someone or something is making you feel uncomfortable online, you can report the interaction to the host site, flag a post as inappropriate, submit a screenshot of the interaction to the host site, or if appropriate, submit a report to the university or the police.

Remember the internet is a pen. What you do, what you access and what you post is recorded, stored, and tracked. You should always remember that your social media and online activities are creating a digital history that may be recalled at any time in the future, to your potential benefit or detriment depending on your activities and those of other people in your social circles.