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College Students in Classroom

With undergraduate students, 26.4% of females and 6.8% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force and/or violence.

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College and
Sexual Assault

What is sexual assault?

According to the United States Department of Justice, sexual assault refers to non-consensual sexual acts, including those in which the victim expressly does not consent and lacks the capacity to consent. Some forms of sexual assault include rape, unwanted sexual touching, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, sexual coercion, and forcing someone to perform sexual acts or touching without their consent.

Rape is a common form of sexual assault, but it’s not the only abuse that’s contained in the term sexual assault since the definition of rape includes sexual penetration without consent. In contrast, sexual assault also includes touching and other sexual acts.

Warning Signs
of Sexual Assault

  • Signs of depression or feeling “down”

  • Self-harming behaviors, thoughts of suicide, or suicidal behaviors

  • Low self-esteem

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

  • Anxiety or consistent worry

  • Increase/start of drug or alcohol use

  • Unusual weight gain or weight loss

  • Unhealthy eating patterns

  • Signs of physical abuse

  • Changes in self-care, such as paying less attention to hygiene and appearance

  • Expressing thoughts about suicide or self harm as well as expressing thoughts about harming others

  • Self-harming behaviors, thoughts of suicide, or suicidal behaviors

  • Avoiding specific situations or places

  • Issues in school/poor attendance


Is my college doing enough to protect students from sexual assault on campus?


Many students choose not to report a sexual assault to police or school officials. Some believe they will face embarrassment or judgement if they report and others feel their school won't take it seriously. Colleges and universities should take sexual assault very seriously, whether it happens on campus or whether a student commits the act off campus. Click below to learn more about how campuses and schools can protect students and how you should go about reporting the crime to school officials.

What is consent and why is it important?


Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in some form of sexual activity. Communication is very important when it comes to consent. Consent cannot be given by those underage, under the influence, asleep, or unconscious in any scenario, regardless of age. Consent should be freely and clearly communicated. A verbal consent can help both participants understand each other better as well as the boundaries you each have with regards to intimacy. If someone agrees to sexual activity by threat, force, or persuasion, then this isn't considered consent, as their consent was not given freely. Unequal power dynamics also means that consent cannot be given freely, such as between a teacher/employee and a student.

Consent is all about communication. Consent should happen before every sexual activity. If consent was given for one activity, it should not be taken and used for another. Having sex with someone in the past doesn't give them permission in the future, and just because you are dating someone, does not mean that consent doesn't have to be given, because it still does.


Always remember, you do NOT have to have a reason to say “no.” If someone tries to convince you to do something, even if you have done it with that person before, you still have the right to say no to them. Getting consent by intimidation isn't legal and does not imply consent.


Sexual assaults happen on college campuses due to the nature of the environment itself, putting college students in general at high risk. Factors contributing to campus sexual assaults include:

  • Membership in a sorority or fraternity significantly increases the risk for sexual assaults, given the frequent interactions between the two in social scenes involving heavy partying, alcohol, and other substances.

  • Some college groups promote misogynistic tendencies, either knowingly or unknowingly, encouraging members to act on these tendencies, often in a sexual way against women. 

  • Grooming involves building trust with a person to gain access to and time alone with that person. These behaviors correspond to statistics showing that most perpetrators know their victims since they take the time to build a relationship with them.

  • Alcohol and drugs play a large part in college parties and group outings. Most sexual assault victims report alcohol consumption before the incident and often report that the perpetrator also consumed alcohol. Substance abuse can impair the perpetrator’s judgment and take away the victim’s ability to consent.

  • Sensation-seeking behaviors also play a role in many sexual assault crimes. For many students, college is the first time they have true “freedom” and can make decisions independently. This independence can lead students to drink excessively or use other substances and have multiple sexual partners to fit in with the college or university campus culture. These risky behaviors can create dangerous situations for college students.

  • While college is a great part of life and can lead to some of the best memories we can have, it's important to stay safe. Knowing your surroundings, who your friends are, and what you are consuming at all times can help keep you safe and aware of what is happening around you. Its also important to remember that sexual assault is NEVER the victim's fault. While it's important to take steps to keep yourself safe and make yourself aware of your surroundings, it is still ALWAYS the fault of the perpetrator. 

To learn more about campus sexual assault, warning signs, and how to help survivors of sexual assault, please visit Herman Law, one of our national educational partners, where you can learn more. Click the button below to visit their safety guide to campus sexual assault and how you can keep safe while at college.

Student Looking at Building
A girl feeling sad

Ride-Sharing Safety

In recent years, ride-sharing apps have become increasingly popular, especially for college students. Ride-sharing allows an individual or a group to get a ride by someone in the driver's personal vehicle and the rider usually pays them a fee for the service. While drivers do go through background checks, and millions of rides happen across the United States every week, some safety concerns have been brought up in recent years.

College students are a large market for ride-share services as many don't drive, some don't own vehicles, and others live in large college towns where it's easier to order a ride then it is to drive to a destination and have to find parking.

It's important for college students to follow safety regulations for ride-sharing services. These include waiting in a safe place until the ride arrives, asking the driver to state your name before entering the vehicle, checking the drivers license plate and matching it to the drivers vehicle in the ride-share app, wearing a seatbelt, and letting a friend or family member know where you are going, what the car looks like, and what the license plate number is. Following these tips can help keep you safe, but it's important to always be aware. Try not to travel alone when you don't have to and always make sure others know where you are. Some ride-sharing service apps even allow a friend or family member to track you on the app to see where you are going and make sure you reach your destination safety.

To learn more about ride-share safety, please visit Cutter Law, one of our national educational partners, where you can learn more. 

Stand Up Against
Sexual Assault

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