While there are no absolute ways to protect yourself from being the victim of a sexual assault, there are some cautionary things you can do to protect yourself from being assaulted.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
It is important to know where you are and who is around you who may be able to assist if you are caught in a bad situation.
Don't Let Yourself Be Isolated
Don’t let yourself be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.
Trust Your Instincts
If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, leave immediately.
Don't Give In to Coercion You
Don’t allow someone else to talk you into a staying in a situation or participating in an act or activities with which you do not agree.
Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have enough money for cab fare.
Don't Go Alone
When you go to social gatherings, go with a group. Arrive together, check with each other throughout the event and make sure you all leave together.
Be Careful Around Alcohol
You are encouraged to refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages, but if you must drink, be mindful of the following:
Never leave your drink unattended
If you do leave your drink, pour it out and get a new one.
Do not accept a drink from anyone you do not know and trust.
If you choose to accept a drink from someone at a bar, watch the drink being poured and carried to you. At parties, do not drink from punch bowls or open containers. Do not accept an open beer or drink from someone you do not absolutely trust.
Watch out for your friends and vice versa.
If your friend seems out of control or intoxicated, get him or her to a safe place immediately. Do not allow the person to be separated from you.
Bystanders play a critical role in the prevention of relationship violence. Bystanders are often the largest group of people involved in acts of relationship violence. Webster dictionary defines bystander as “one who is present, but not taking part in a situation or event; a chance spectator.” In terms of relationship violence, a bystander can be 1) a person who may be aware that an assault is occurring or a person who has knowledge that an assault will happen, 2) a person who observes an assault or one who witness potential assault, or 3) a person who has information that an assault has already happened. The phrase bystander intervention indicates by engaging ever so slightly in a situation, a bystander may be able to prevent a potential assault or assist a victim by getting help.
Watch Out for Your Friends and Other Students
If you see your friend doing or saying something inappropriate, be a true friend and tell him to stop. Let your friend know the behavior you are witnessing is not right. Additionally, if you see someone who appears to be in trouble say something; ask them if they are okay.
Speak Up and Speak Out
If you hear or see someone doing something that is not right, let them know you believe their behavior is wrong. Let them know if they do not stop, you will call or report them to the authorities. Do not laugh at racist, sexist or homophobic jokes. Challenge your friends and acquaintances to be respectful of differences and people.
You should model the behavior you know is right for your friends and acquaintances. The behavior you model in your relationship can be a great guide for your friends to follow.
Create a Distraction
If you witness a friend harassing another person, intervene by asking your friend a question: Ask your friend to accompany you to a different location. If it is a stranger intervention, from a distance ask the individual for directions or for the time. The goal of distraction is to provide the victim time to move away and to provide the abuser a chance to refocus his/her thoughts.
Sometimes the most powerful action a person can take is to provide a disapproving stare. The use of the stare provides the perpetrator an understanding they are being watched and that their behavior is seen by another.
Victims of violence often are confused and incapable of making rational decisions after an assault. A bystander can assist a victim by reassuring and staying with a victim until professional assistance is provided. Additionally, the bystander should be willing to get the victim help.
While being aware of your safety and not putting yourself in harm’s way, bystanders should do something to prevent an act of interpersonal violence.
If you see something that does not appear to be right, while protecting your safety and well being, evaluate the situation and consider stepping in and asking questions. Ask the person if he needs help, if they feel safe, or if they want your assistance. If you feel something is wrong and you do not feel safe about intervening, call the police.
If you observe someone doing behavior of which you do not approve, tell the person you do not approve of what he/she is doing. Ask him or her to leave the potential victim alone.
While the majority of men do not commit sexual assault acts, research indicates men are more likely to commit a sexual assault than women. Men can be instrumental in the prevention of sexual assault and violence by speaking out about such acts and being an ally to those who may be susceptible to acts of violence.
Become knowledgeable about the issues of violence against people and share your knowledge with your friends and others.
Responding to a Crime
Make Sure You and Your Friend Are Safe
If you perceive immediate danger, on campus call Public Safety at 2020; off-campus, call 911.
Seek Medical Attention
Encourage your friend to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as well as seeking professional counseling. The University’s Counseling Services offers confidential counseling and can be contacted at 205-726-2065.
Stay with Them
Stay with your friend until the person is safe and with someone he or she trusts.
Provide your friend with information related to resources for help.
- Crisis Center—Birmingham Rape Response 24-hour hotline—205-323-7273 or 888-323-7273
- Counseling Services—205-726-2065, Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
- Public Safety—205-726-2020
Reporting a Crime
Samford University is concerned about the health, safety and well-being of all members of the university community. If you, or someone you know, believe that you may be a victim of sexual misconduct, you are encouraged to seek immediate assistance. The following chart provides information related to where you can obtain assistance.
|Samford Public Safety||205-726-2020|
|Homewood Police Department||911|
|Incidents Involving Employees
Title IX Coordinator for Employees
|University Center, Room 350
|Incidents Involving Students
Title IX Coordinator for Students
|University Center, Room 350
|University Counselor||205-726-2065 or 2835|
|Crisis Center Rape Response Hotline||205-323-7273 or 1-888-323-7273|
Listen and demonstrate you believe your friend.
Be sure your friend knows you will be supportive. It is important to let her know you are willing to listen when they are ready to talk. Being a real friend sometimes means you will listen without offering too much conversation.
Remind your friend anyone can be a victim of a sexual assault act and that it is not their fault. Your friend may be blaming herself about being a victim, and it is important to assure their actions did not cause the assault.
Let your friend lead the conversation and disclosure.
Protect your friend’s privacy and confidence. Allow your friend to determine the pace and focus of the conversation and when they are willing to discuss the assault. Do not force the topic.
Be aware of your own feelings.
You may feel hurt, angry, guilty, anxious or frightened. Such feelings are understandable, but your reactions may feel surprising, confusing or overwhelming. Seek counseling support for your feelings.
Know and respect your limitations.
You can only do so much to help. You can only provide support and compassion. Know your limitations.
How to Help a Survivor of Abuse or Violence
First and foremost, be aware of your personal bias, which may interfere with you understanding the victim’s situation. If you cannot be objective, refer the individual to another person for support.
Be familiar with campus and community resources. Know your limitations, and be ready to encourage the individual to seek professional assistance: counselor, medical professional or the police.
Reassure the victim and be a support by assisting them (if desired) in considering their options.