April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

by: Elizabeth Ramos

It has made national headlines regarding the increasing number of sexual assaults that are happening on college campuses. Unfortunately, this is a reality even on small campuses such as Loras. You may have noticed the posters around campus showing the importance of giving consent, because without consent, it is sexual assault.

When most people think of sexual assault, they think it is when you are alone in a dark alley and someone comes from behind and physically attacks and rapes you. While sometimes this could be the case, a majority of sexual assaults on a college campus look more like this: You go to a party, enjoy some drinks, and then a peer, sometimes even a friend, takes you somewhere and wants to be sexual with you. Even though you may be saying no in a bunch of different ways, he or she still pressures you until maybe you give in. Or sometimes the girl may pass out and then the guy takes advantage of her. Or you get somewhere and the guy just starts doing what he wants to you.

After the assault, it is very normal to feel shame, guilt, anger, fear and much more. It is really important for the person to get professional help to work through the trauma one has experienced.  This may mean going to the hospital immediately or contacting a resident assistant, someone from security, or a counselor as soon possible after the incident.

Below are some basic safety guidelines for when you are going out with friends. Following these can help decrease the risk of a sexual assault happening to you.

1. Know your alcohol limits: drinking and becoming intoxicated can make you vulnerable to assaults by impairing your judgment and weaken your ability to fight off attackers.

2. Watch your drinks: Always carry your drink with you even to the bathroom. Also be aware of who you are getting your drinks from.

3. Trust your gut: If you get a bad feeling about a location or a person, leave immediately. Be loud and aggressive. Most attackers don’t like to put up a fight and have attention
brought to the situation.

4. Stick with your friends: Attend social events with friends. Look out for each other and make sure each person gets home safely.

5. Be assertive: If you are in a situation where someone is trying to be sexual with you and you do not want to be sexual, give eye contact and be very clear in what you want. For
example, “No I do not want to do anything with you. Please leave.” If they do not listen, the best thing you can do is leave the situation, scream for help, or fight them off.
For more information on dealing with a sexual assault or helping someone else who has experienced an assault, contact Counseling Services at 588-7085/588-7024.

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