Increasing Community Safety While Reducing Risk Factors on Campus
Reducing incidences of sexual and relationship violence on college campuses requires a multifaceted approach that includes both empowering and cultivating a community that cares for one another, and addressing risk factors associated with sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and personal safety. UCR firmly believes that no one is ever at fault or responsible for experiencing sexual violence. We recognize that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for such conduct. The following protective and risk-reduction strategies are offered in order to encourage healthy and safe encounters as well as to mitigate the risk of experiencing or perpetrating sexual violence as outlined by best practices in violence prevention education models.
If you or your friends are on campus, consider:
- Being aware of what's going on around you at all times. If possible, don’t wear headphones or be distracted by texting or talking on the phone.
- Most colleges employ a system of emergency call boxes across the campus. Familiarize yourself with UCR’s emergency system and callbox locations so that you know what to do and where to go in case of a sudden emergency.
- Walking or running on well-traveled and well-populated routes when moving around campus. At night, take routes that you're fully familiar with and, if possible, take a friend. Campus Safety Escorts provides students, faculty and staff alike with a free, safe and reliable way to travel across campus at night.
- Attending a workshop on sexual assault risk reduction offered on campus. Check out our training and programs for more information.
If you or your friends live in a residential hall or apartment, consider:
- Checking that the main entrance to your residence hall or apartment remains locked at all times. Main entrances tend to be monitored frequently. Talk with your RA if you notice the main entrance is left unlocked or isn't being properly monitored.
- Keeping your dorm room or apartment locked, especially when you're alone in the room or sleeping.
- If you lose your apartment or room key, getting your locks replaced as soon as possible.
- If you have a car, parking in a safe, well-lit location and keeping it locked at all times.
- If you’ve had the windows open while at home, closing them before you leave the room or apartment.
If you or your friends are on social media and/or enjoy using the latest technology, consider:
- Privatizing or filtering your social media platforms.
- If you are using a social media dating app to meet new people, consider:
- Meeting them in a public place.
- When possible, meeting in a group setting.
- Letting a trusted friend know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Not providing personal details to unknown people.
- Using one or several of these apps in order to stay connected with others. ATTENTION: Some of these apps allow others to track your location in real time using GPS. If someone wants permission to be one of these contacts, or wants access to these apps, and it makes you uncomfortable, let someone know or contact your confidential and/or campus resources.
R.I.S.E. (iOS and Android)
The R.I.S.E. app (part of the Safer Campuses project) was created to give you ideas about how you can prevent and respond to sexual assault and intimate partner violence within campus and community settings. Here’s how it works; 1) Intervene: You’re out and about on campus. You identify and witness an incident of sexual violence but you’re unsure of what to do. Depending on where you are, you can click on different campus settings that will upload a database of possible situations and tips for interventions and support. 2) Support: In just one click you have access to an extensive resource database and GPS locations of support and safety services near you. 3) Community: What are your priorities? The community button allows users to share their voice and input on issues and questions that matter to them. 4) Educate: Upload one of the app's postcard themes, add your message to end violence and share it in your networks. Better yet, take your own photo, create your own message and share it widely to educate the world around you on how to rise against violence on campuses. It also includes tools, educational information and resources for supporting your friends and loved ones who are dealing with incidents of gender-based violence.
bSafe (iOS and Android)
Assign “Guardians” from your contacts who will be able to monitor your progress home and who will be alerted with your GPS location if the SOS button is activated. The app also allows the user to set an automated alarm, alerting your Guardians if you fail to check in after a set amount of time. It comes with a fake phone call functionality to help you remove yourself from uncomfortable situations.
OnWatch (iOS and Android)
Designed for college students, this app offers designated groups of friends the ability to call local and campus police simultaneously. With the “Watch My Back” function, you can program a timed session that will alert your emergency groups if you don't respond to the alarm when the clock runs out.
React Mobile (iOS and Android)
Using a predetermined contact circle, this app allows users to send out an emergency contact blast to the entire group — without having to first unlock the phone. The app also allows friends or family to virtually “walk” you home, keeping tabs on your progress using GPS technology.
My Plan App
This app from the One Love Foundation offers resources, safety planning information and a lethality assessment on relationship violence.
If you or your friends are attending social events or parties, consider:
- More than 90 percent of sexual assaults that occur among college students involve people who know each other and the majority involves the use of alcohol or other drugs.
- Drinking and drug use can impair judgment. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe about a person or situation, trust your gut and feel empowered to remove yourself from the situation.
- If you drink, drinking responsibly. Eat a full meal before going out. Have a glass of water between each drink. Know your limits and don’t go beyond them. Have a designated driver. Don’t let anyone else make the decision of how much you'll drink.
- Only drinking something that you've poured yourself or that comes in a pre-sealed container. Premixed drinks can have more alcohol in them than you might want to drink. Also, drugs like Rohypnol and GHB can be dissolved in drinks, causing the person who consumes the beverage to lose consciousness quickly. Don’t drink something that has been left unattended.
- Not going anywhere with someone you don’t know well. If you do leave a party with a new friend, tell the friends you came with where you're going and when you're coming back.
- When on a date, letting someone you trust know whom you're going out with, where you're going and when you expect to get home. Make sure your date understands the rules of verbal and sober consent, and that you give and have that consent before engaging in any sexual behavior.
- Having a designated driver. If you're the designated driver for the evening, stay sober and be responsible for your less-than-sober friends.
- Getting involved if you believe that someone is at risk. If you see someone in trouble or someone pressuring another person, don’t be afraid to intervene.
If you or your friends are engaging in sexual activity:
- Clearly communicate your intentions to your potential partner and give them a chance to clearly communicate their intentions to you.
- Listen carefully. Take time to hear what your potential partner has to say. If you feel you're receiving unclear or conflicting messages from the other person, you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate clearly.
- Don't assume that you have consent for sexual activity just because someone leaves or goes to a private location with you.
- Understand and respect personal boundaries and don't make assumptions about consent. Don't pressure a potential partner.
- Consider that your potential partner could be intimidated by you or be fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender, status or size.
- Understand that consent to one form of sexual activity doesn't constitute consent for any other sexual activity.
- Silence and passivity can't be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language. If it's not clear by your potential partner's words and/or actions that they're a willing participant in that specific activity, then stop and have a conversation.