Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipients.This includes any unwanted, pressured, or forced sexual behavior, including sexual contact with someone that is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, sexuality or gender identity, and it can occur in parks or alleyways but it can also occur in a car or dormitory room. At least 50% of college students' sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use and in approximately 90% of sexual assaults on college campuses, the attacker is someone the victim knows. (Statistics provided by the CARE Center)
- Secure and lock your car and home.
- Keep your cellphone on you at all times and make sure that it is charged.
- Keep $5 - $10 in your car for emergencies and never open your door to strangers or tell them that you are alone.
- If you are being followed, go to the nearest police or fire department or any place where people will be. Try to walk in groups at night.
- Flee if you are in a potentially dangerous situation. Yell or scream to attract attention.
- Engage in passive or active resistance. Passive resistance is thinking and talking your way out of a situation. Active resistance is reacting immediately to startle your attacker. Use any available item (hairspray, keys, purse, etc.) as a weapon.
- Think! Keep thinking of alternative courses of action for escape.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
- Always keep an eye on your drink at parties and clubs to avoid exposure to date rape drugs.
- Discuss your boundaries with friends before you go out so that they can be better prepared as active bystanders.
- Remember: In all cases, sexual assault is NEVER the victim's fault.
How to be an Active Bystander
There are tools that you can utilize to prevent someone from being sexually assaulted. UNLV promotes bystander intervention and educational programs that clearly teach our community what consent looks like.
- One of the best ways to intervene is by being direct. Often the simplest way to prevent something is to directly address the people involved. You can tell a potential assailant to leave before you call the police, or simply ask a potential victim if they are okay.
- If you are shy or afraid of acting alone, ask for help. This could be a friend of yours, a friend of the people involved in the situation, or an authority figure such as an R.A., security guard, or police officer.
- If you would like to prevent someone from being hurt but don’t want to bring too much attention to yourself or the situation, you can cause a distraction instead. This could be as simple as getting the potential victim out of harm’s way by bringing them with you and your friends to get something to eat.
In order to effectively intervene, UNLV promotes educational programs that allow bystanders to accurately identify situations where interpersonal violence may occur this includes situations of sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking.
Learn more through the CARE Center and classes presented by CARE Advocates.
A majority of campus sexual assault incidents are alcohol- or drug-facilitated. Although the following tips reflect a party scenario where these incidents are common, these precautions can be modified to fit any situation.
- Offer to give the potential victim a ride home or call a driver for them.
- Ask the potential assailant to leave.
- Tell the potential victim you need their help in the bathroom.
- Ask the friends of a potential assailant to calm their friend and take them home.
- Start an activity and make sure everyone is involved so that the potential assailant is not able to isolate their victim.
- Tell everyone to keep an eye on the people in the situation and intervene if they begin to leave together.
- Tell a potential assailant that their car is getting towed.
- Lie and say you’ve called the police if you haven’t already.
- Tell a security guard or police officer what you’ve seen.
- Check in with the potential victim to see if they would like you to help them.
What Should You Do If You Are Sexually Assaulted?
Once you are in a safe place and able to do so, call a safe person to be with you or to come and get you. Immediately after that, you may want to call the police or call your local sexual assault crisis center. At UNLV, you can call the 24-hour CARE Line at 702-895-0602 and a CARE Advocate can assist you. You can also contact University Police Services or dial 911 for an ongoing emergency.
Try not to change your clothes or take a bath or shower. Rape Kits or SANE Exams if you choose to have one done, may include a full body examination, including internal examinations. It may also include taking samples of blood, urine, swabs of body surface areas, and sometimes hair samples. These can be done only at the University Medical Center Hospital: 1800 W. Charleston, Las Vegas, NV 89102. Reaching out to these resources can be traumatizing, but advocates can help you process the information and be by your side so that you feel supported.
If you decide to utilize police, the information most needed by them to help those who have experienced sexual assault includes:
- Car license, make or model, and color
- Race of assailant
- Approximate age, weight, and height
- Hair color and length of hair
- Eye color
- Any unusual marks, scars, tattoos, rings, etc.
- Any facial hair or odors
If you or someone you know becomes the victim of sexual assault, here are helpful resources to contact:
- UNLV's Crisis/Emergency Services webpage, which includes several links for sexual assault resources.
- The CARE Center's Get Help page (Title IX information, and Student Health Center resources)
- UNLV's Student Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS); UNLV's Center for Individual, Couple, and Family Counseling; UNLV's The PRACTICE
- RebelSAFE is the official mobile safety app of UNLV. Users can send their location via GPS to a friend, request a late night safety escort to any location on campus, report a crime tip, contact University Police Services Dispatch directly from the app, and more. To download the free app, visit iTunes or the Google Play Store.