If You Have Experienced Sexual Assault

  1. Go to a safe location as soon as possible.
  2. Seek immediate medical attention if you are injured or believe you may have been exposed to an STI/STD or potential pregnancy.
  3. Contact any of the following for immediate assistance:
    • On campus**
      • Title IX coordinator: 316-978-5177. Regular business hours, M–F
      • Wichita State University Police (“UPD”): 316-978-3450, 24 hours/7 days a week
      • Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center (WASAC) Advocate: 316-978-5257 (varying hours of availability). (hotline 316-263-3002. 24 hours/7 days a week)*
      • Student Health Center at 316-978-4792. Regular business hours, M–F*
      • Counseling and Prevention Services: 316-976-4792. Regular business hours, M–F*
    • Off Campus:
      • COMCARE of Sedgwick County Crisis Line: 316-660-7500, 24 hours/7 days a week*
      • Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center 
      • Catholic Charities Harbor House: 316-263-6000. 24 hours/ 7 days a week

*Designates a confidential resource. Information shared with these resources will remain confidential and will not be shared with the University or anyone without express, written permission of the individual seeking services  except when there is an imminent threat of har to self or others, are, directed to do so by court order of disclosure is provided for by the professional rule of conduct or law.

**Note, campus officials may contact on-call staff from other departments when their offices are closed, or they are otherwise unavailable to assist immediately. If you are off-campus and experiencing an emergency, call 911 to reach the Wichita Police Department. You may also call the Wichita Police Department’s non-emergency line at 316-268-4111.

Contact Information
Sara Zafar, J.D.                                                                                                 
Title IX Coordinator
Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance
116 Human Resources Center
1845 N. Fairmount Street
Wichita, KS  67206
316.978.3205
 
Christine Taylor, J.D., LL.M.
Executive Director
Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance
316.978.3205
 
Michael Irvin, J.D., MPA
Equal Opportunity Coordinator
Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance
316.978.3186
Process Options 

You have options, and are encouraged to contact the Title IX Coordinator to discuss your options:

  • Make a Formal Complaint to the Title IX Coordinator or an Official with Authority and engage in the Grievance Procedure and applicable Resolution Processes set forth in WSU Policy 3.06/ Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation for Students, Employees and Visitors Policy. See: WSU Policy 3.06
  • Report to UPD or other police agency with jurisdiction over the conduct and pursue a criminal investigation. Reports may be made to UPD in person or via telephone:
Wichita State University Police Department (Open 24/7)
Non-Emergency Phone: 316-978-3450
Emergency:  911

 

  • Make a Formal Complaint to the Title IX Coordinator* and report to the police, thereby engaging in both the Grievance Procedure and a criminal investigation.
  • Report to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
  • Report to the Title IX Coordinator and receive Supportive Measures but not file a Formal Complaint.

*Title IX Coordinator also means Title IX Coordinator or designee.

Confidentiality 

To make informed choices, all parties should be aware of confidentiality and privacy issues, as well as institutional mandatory reporting requirements.

CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING

If confidentiality is important, you should speak with someone in Counseling and Prevention Services or Student Health Center. The on-campus WASAC representative serves as a confidential resource and University designates campus clergy and athletic trainers as confidential resources.  Off campus resources such as crisis centers are also confidential and have no duty to report your information to WSU.

Mandated Reporting

All University employees who are not designated above as confidential, are mandated reporters for all the details of which they are aware about an incident. They must share this information with the Title IX coordinator or an OWA. Once the Title IX Coordinator receives notice from the mandated reporter, the University has actual knowledge of the incident and must respond.  Incidents of sexual harassment will be taken seriously when notice is given to the Title IX Coordinator or an OWA. Such incidents of sexual harassment will be investigated and resolved in a prompt and equitable manner under the University’s grievance procedures, which are discussed below.

You may request confidentiality and/or that the Title IX Coordinator provide you with supportive measures and resources without initiating a formal grievance process.  Generally, the University will respect your request unless the Title IX Coordinator believes there is a threat to the community based on the pattern, predation, weapon, or the accused’s threatening conduct.

In cases where the confidentiality request is granted, the Title IX Coordinator will offer you available supportive measures and resources.  You are not obligated to pursue a formal investigation and/or grievance process to access the supportive measures or resources.  If the Title IX Coordinator decides that it is obligated to pursue a formal investigation/grievance process based on the information you provided, you are not obligated to participate.  However, the ability of the University to enforce its policies or provide some supportive measures or remedies may be limited as a result of your decision not to participate.

The university has a duty to minors (individuals under the age of 18) and must report incidents of sexual misconduct to local law enforcement and/or state agencies.  Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed in sexual misconduct incidents involving minors.

Preservation of Evidence

Preservation of Evidence: It is important to preserve physical evidence that may include tissue and fluid samples, evidence of violence, sheets, towels, clothing, etc. You may choose to avoid washing, bathing, urinating, etc., until after being examined at Via Christi St. Joseph’s for a SANE/SART (sexual assault nurse examination/sexual assault response team) if possible. SeeVia Christi St. Joseph's SANE/SART  Evidence of a sexual assault can deteriorate quickly, it is important to seek a medical exam as soon as possible. The best evidence collection occurs within 120 hours of an assault, but fluids, hair samples, and DNA can be collected for a long time after the incident. Even if you have washed, evidence can often still be obtained.

After 120 hours, it may be helpful to seek medical attention, even if you are not trying to obtain evidence of an assault. Sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) are trained in the collection of forensic evidence and can check for injuries and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. If you are still wearing any clothes worn during the assault, wear them to the hospital, and bring a change of clothes, as the hospital will keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. If you have changed clothes, bring the ones you were wearing during the assault to the hospital in a clean paper (not plastic) bag or a wrapped in a clean sheet. Leave sheets/towels at the scene of the assault. Police will collect them. Typically, police will be called to the hospital to take custody of the rape kit, but it is up to you whether you wish to speak with them or file a criminal complaint. SeeVia Christi St. Joseph's SANE/SART

Key Campus Policies and Procedures

Wichita State University is committed to providing a workplace and educational environment, as well as other benefits, programs, and activities that are free from harassment, discrimination and retaliation.  Sexual harassment, including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking are violations of WSU Policy 3.06/Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation for Employees, Students and Visitors.  This Policy prohibits all forms of discrimination on the basis of sex, and was drafted considering the University’s own commitment to addressing Prohibited Conduct and considering Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1972, Title IX’s Final Regulations issued on May 6, 20201, and all associated laws and regulations, including the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”)3 and the Clery Act.3 Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. Title IX precludes the University from discriminating on the basis of sex in its Education Program or Activity, including admissions and employment.4

1. See Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance (hereinafter 2020 Title IX Regulations), 34 C.F.R. § 106.30 (2020).

2. Section 304 of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 requires that universities have procedures in place to respond to matters of sexual assault, relationship (dating and domestic) violence, and stalking. See Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, Pub. L. No. 113-4, § 304, 127 Stat. 89 (2013).

3. The Clery Act requires universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their campuses. See 20 U.S.C. § 1092 (1990).

4. Title IX preempts state and local law. See 2020 Title IX Regulations, 34 C.F.R. § 106.6(h).

Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Defined

Sexual HarassmentThe Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the state of Kansas regard Sexual Harassment, a specific form of discriminatory harassment, as an unlawful discriminatory practice. Acts of sexual harassment may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved.

Sexual Harassment, as an umbrella category, includes the offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and is defined as:

Sexual Harassment

Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

Quid Pro Quo:

  • an employee of the University,
  • conditions either implicitly or explicitly the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University,
  • on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

Sexual Harassment:

  • unwelcome conduct,
  • determined by a reasonable person,
  • to be so severe, and
  • pervasive, and,
  • objectively offensive,
  • that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity.
Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault means one of the following sexual offenses, whether forcible or nonforcible, when directed at another person without that person’s Consent, including instances where the person is incapacitated:

Rape – The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person without the consent of the Complainant.*

Fondling – The touching of the private body parts of another person (buttocks, groin, breasts) for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the Complainant, including instances where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. 

Incest – Nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by Kansas law. 

Statutory Rape – Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent (16 years of age in Kansas).

* “The Clery Act defines sexual assault as an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the Uniform Crime Reporting System of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The FBI UCR consists of two crime reporting systems:  The Summary Reporting System (SRS) and the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).  The definitions for sexual assault defined in this Policy (including rape, fondling, incest, and statutory rape) align with and encompass all behaviors that may constitute sexual assault under either the SRS or NIBRS.”

 

Dating Violence

Dating Violence is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the Complainant’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

For the purposes of this definition:

  • Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
  • Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

Violence Against Women Act, 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10) (2013).

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is defined as a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed:

  • By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant;
  • By a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common;
  • By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner;
  • By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the Kansas domestic or family violence laws; or
  • By any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the Kansas domestic or family violence laws.

To categorize an incident as Domestic Violence under this Policy, the relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant must be more than just two people living together as roommates. The people cohabitating must be current or former spouses or have an intimate relationship.

Violence Against Women Act, 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8) (2013).

Stalking

Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:

  • Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or
  • Suffer substantial emotional distress.

For the purposes of this definition:

Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant.

Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Violence Against Women Act, 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30) (2013).

Other Sex-based Offenses

Sex Discrimination (Non-Sexual Harassment Sex Discrimination)

Providing differential treatment on the basis of sex such as in athletics, or with respect to employment, admissions or enrollment or participation in an academic course.

Sexual Exploitation

Occurs when a person engages in non-consensual or abusive conduct that takes sexual advantage of another individual for the person’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the individual being exploited and does not constitute any other offense addressed in this Policy. 

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression

Providing differential treatment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Discrimination against Pregnant and Parenting Students

Providing differential treatment on the basis of a Student’s status as a pregnant or parenting Student or harassment on the basis of a Student’s status as being a pregnant or parenting Student.  See: WSU Policies and Procedures: 8.21/Accommodations for Pregnant and Parenting Students 

Retaliation

Protected activity under this policy includes reporting an incident that may implicate this policy, participating in the grievance process, supporting a Complainant or Respondent, assisting in providing information relevant to an investigation, and/or acting in good faith to oppose conduct that constitutes a violation of this Policy. The exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation.  For the full Policy section See:  https://www.wichita.edu/about/policy/ch_03/ch3_06.php#_Toc48159841

Sanctions for a finding of responsibility range from warning through expulsion/termination

Force, Coercion, Consent, and Incapacitation

As used in the offenses above, the following definitions apply:

Force

Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent.

Sexual activity that occurs by is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of force or resistance alone is not consent. Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of force or resistance. While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent.

Coercion

Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive conduct differs from seductive conduct based on factors such as the type and/or extent of the pressure used to obtain consent. When someone makes clear that they do not want to engage in certain sexual activity, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.

Consent
  • knowing, and
  • voluntary, and
  • clear permission
  • by word or action
  • to engage in sexual activity.

Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity.

If consent is not clearly provided prior to engaging in the activity, consent may be ratified by word or action at some point during the interaction or thereafter.

Consent can also be withdrawn once given, if the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease within a reasonable time.

Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous intimate relationship is not enough to constitute consent.

Proof of consent or non- consent and the burden of collecting evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility, rests on the University, not the parties.

The burden remains on the University to determine whether its policy has been violated. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.

Consent in relationships must be considered in context. When parties consent to BDSM (Bondage, discipline/dominance, submission/sadism, and masochism) or other forms of kink, non-consent may be shown by the use of a safe word. Resistance, force, violence, or even saying “no” may be part of the kink and thus consensual, so the University’s evaluation of communication in kink situations should be guided by reasonableness, rather than strict adherence to policy that assumes non-kink relationships as a default.

Incapacitation

It is a defense to a sexual assault policy violation if the Respondent neither knew nor should have known the Complainant was physically or mentally incapacitated. “Should have known” is an objective, reasonable person standard which assumes that a reasonable person is both sober and exercising sound judgment.  The use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this Policy.

Incapacitation occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction).

Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout, and/or being drunk.

This Policy includes incapacity resulting from a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition, involuntary physical restraint, and/or the consumption of incapacitating drugs.

University's Response to Reports of Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation 

The University’s Response is detailed in full at: https://www.wichita.edu/about/policy/ch_03/ch3_06.php#_Toc48159817

The University’s duty under Title IX to respond to reports of Sexual Harassment attaches when the Title IX Coordinator or any Official with Authority has Actual Knowledge of Sexual Harassment, or allegations thereof, when the Sexual Harassment occurred within a University Program or Activity and against a person in the United States (“Title IX Sexual Harassment”).*

Upon receipt of a complaint or notice to the Title IX Coordinator of an alleged violation of the Policy, the University initiates a prompt initial assessment to determine the next steps the University needs to take.

*See 2020 Title IX Regulations, 34 C.F.R. § 106.30.

Initial Response to Complainant

The University’s initial response to the Complainant includes promptly contacting the Complainant to offer Supportive Measures, to explain the process for filing a Formal Complaint, and/or to request additional information.

Initial Assessment

The Title IX Coordinator will assess the alleged conduct in the report to determine whether the alleged conduct, if it were proven true, constitutes sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation as defined in WSU Policy 3.06.

  • Alleged conduct does not fall within WSU Policy 3.06 and does not trigger the Grievance Process, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant of other resolution options – other applicable University policies.
  • Alleged Conduct falls within WSU Policy 3.06, and the Title IX Coordinator will work with the Complainant to determine how the Complainant wishes to proceed under WSU Policy 3.06: (i) to forgo filing a Formal Complaint (ii) to request Supportive Measures; (iii) to file a Formal Complaint and pursue Informal Resolution Process; or (iv) to file a Formal Complaint and pursue the Hearing Process.
Response to Respondent

The Title IX Coordinator will notify a Respondent when it takes action that impacts the Respondent directly, such as instituting Supportive Measures to the Complainant that restrict the Respondent’s privileges or access to campus or upon the filing of a Formal Complaint.

However, depending on the circumstances and the Complainant’s wishes, the Respondent may not be notified of a report of conduct addressed under this Policy or the outcome of the Title IX Coordinator’s initial assessment of the allegations.

Once a Respondent is notified by the Title IX Coordinator about the allegations raised against the Respondent under this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will offer to meet with the Respondent to review available Supportive Measures.  The Title IX Coordinator will discuss the Grievance Process and answer any questions.

Supportive Measures

The University will offer and implement appropriate and reasonable supportive measures to the parties upon notice of alleged harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.

Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the parties to restore or preserve access to the University’s education program or activity, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, and/or deter harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.

The University will maintain the privacy of supportive measures, provided privacy does not impair the University’s ability to provide supportive measures. The University will act to ensure the parties experience as minimal an academic impact as possible. The University will implement measures in a way that does not unreasonably burden the other party.

These actions may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Referring to counseling, medical, and/or other healthcare services
  • Referring to the Employee Assistance Program
  • Assisting with visa and immigration
  • Counseling for student financial aid
  • Referring to community-based service providers
  • Altering campus housing assignment(s)
  • Altering work arrangements for employees or student-employees
  • Preparing a safety plan
  • Providing campus safety escorts
  • Supporting no contact orders between the parties
  • Providing academic support, extensions of deadlines, or other course/program-related adjustments
  • Issuing a University No Trespass Notice
  • Issuing timely warnings
  • Modification of class schedule, withdrawals, or leaves of absence
  • Increasing security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus
  • Any other actions deemed appropriate by the Title IX Coordinator
Right to an Advisor

The parties Under the U.S. Department of Education regulations applicable to Title IX, cross-examination is required during the hearing, and must be conducted by the parties’ advisors.  The parties are not permitted to directly cross-examine each other or any witness. 

The parties may choose their own advisor (who may be an attorney) during the resolution and/or grievance process.  If a party does not have an advisor for a hearing, the University will appoint a trained Advisor for the limited purpose of conducting cross examination.

Investigation

If the Complainant wishes to proceed with a formal investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will assign a trained investigator to provide a prompt, thorough, reliable and impartial investigation. The investigator will interview the Complainant, Respondent and witnesses.  The parties will have an opportunity to provide any supporting documentation (text messages, Instagram/snapchat screenshots, social media message etc.) to the investigator.

The investigator will prepare an investigative report and the parties, and their advisors will have an opportunity to review and respond to the report.  Information about the investigative process is found here: Formal Grievance Process

Live Hearing

A hearing panel (Decision-makers) includes one chair and two panel members.  The hearing panel has the authority to hear and make determinations on all allegations of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation and any additional alleged policy violations that occurred in connection with the underlying harassment or discrimination matter.   Hearings will take place over Zoom, Teams or another live-stream format.  The hearing will be recorded.

Participants at the hearing will include the investigator, Complainant, Respondent and witnesses.  The parties may make opening and closing statements.  Only advisors may cross examine/question the investigator, other party and witnesses. 

After the hearing, the hearing panel will deliberate in closed session to determine whether the respondent is responsible or not responsible for the policy violations alleged in the NOIA. 

Standard of Evidence

The University uses a preponderance of evidence standard.  The Decision-makers consider, whether, based on the evidence provided, it is more likely than not that a violation occurred.

Final Determination and Notice of Outcome

The parties will receive a Notice of Outcome setting forth the Decision-makers’ determination(s).  This notice will include any sanction or remedies, if a policy violation is found, and procedures for appealing the decision. 

Appeals

Any party may file a request for appeal (“Request for Appeal”).  The Request for Appeal must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within 5 days of the delivery of the Notice of Outcome.  If an appeal is filed, the other party will receive notice.  The grounds for appeal are set forth here:  Appeals Process

Informal Resolution

After the Complainant signs a formal complaint, and if a Respondent wishes to initiate an Information Resolution Process, they must contact the Title IX Coordinator.  Information about the Informal Resolution Process may be found here:  Informal Resolution Process

University Prevention and Education Programs and Information

Bystander Intervention

Wichita State University offers bystander intervention programming to all students in an effort to ensure that each member of the campus community is invested in creating a safe campus environment for themselves and others.  Program participants are instructed on safe options for preventing harm and intervening when a risk of sexual harassment exists.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Education

Incoming students are provided with an online education and training on awareness and risk reduction of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and consent in compliance with the Violence Against Women Act and the Clery Act.

Ongoing Training and Education

The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance offers ongoing sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention training throughout the year to students, faculty and staff.  In addition, training focusing on Protected Characteristic prevention and awareness is offered throughout the year. 

Risk Reduction Options

Risk reduction means options designed to increase empowerment for victims in order to promote safety and to help individuals and communities address conditions that facilitate violence. With no intent to victim blame and recognizing that only abusers are responsible for their abuse, the following are some strategies to reduce one’s risk of sexual assault or harassment 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.
  • Try not to load yourself down with packages or backpacks as this can make you appear more vulnerable.
  • Have your cell phone within reach. Establish an Uber or Lyft account.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be alone with someone you don’t trust, or you don’t know.
  • Avoid putting music headphones/earbuds in both ears so you are aware of surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.
  • Go to parties or events with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately. Call 911 for Wichita Police Department.
  • Don’t leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you’ve left your drink, 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 punch bowls or other large common containers.

If you feel unsafe and need to get out of a situation the following tips may help:

  • Remember that being in this situation in not your fault. You did not do anything wrong, person who is making you uncomfortable 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 if you don’t feel comfortable you can call them and communicate your discomfort without anyone knowing. Your friends and family can come to get you or make up an excuse for you to leave.
  • 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 you need to be, etc.
  • Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of a room? Where are the doors and windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?
  • If you and/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.

See: Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, www.rainn.org)