I have five brothers, one of which is a freshman in college right now. He went to his first college party this last fall, and as is sadly typical, there were a lot of drunk people.
Specifically, he noticed all the drunk girls.
So he went up to one, began talking with her and then when she asked if he wanted to go back to her room, he accepted. On the walk back, she offered to have sex with him.
Drunk girl offering sex to a bright eyed college freshman. There are many who would have gladly accepted.
Not my brother. He politely turned her down, affirming her instead as a woman, encouraging her to respect herself, and to keep the bar high in how she allowed men to treat her. He then delivered her to the Resident Assistant who could safely put her to bed.
He proceeded to do this two more times that night with two more girls. As he walked out of the party with each girl, guys would cheer him on, thinking he was getting another score with another drunk girl.
That night, there was only one real man at that party. And I’m proud to say I’m related to him.
Sexual assault has been in the news lately, from the Bill Cosby allegations, to the Lena Dunham controversy to the recent,yet questionable Rolling Stones story about a gang-rape at the University of Virginia. In the latter, the victim is quoted as saying, “I didn’t think it could ever happen to me, and then it did and I had to deal with it,” “I didn’t think things like this happened in the real world.
Let us not be so naive to think that any of us, given the right circumstances, couldn’t be a victim of sexual assault. If you’re not fortunate enough to have someone like my brother at your next party, here are three ways to reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
I know. You’ve heard this one a dozen times and no one gets excited. Who wants to be the only sober person at a kegger? How uncool is that?!
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimate that half of all sexual assaults against women involve alcohol. So logic would stand that if drinking had not been involved, we would see a reduction in the number of incidences reported (reported is key. How much sexual assault happens that goes by unreported out of fear or shame?)
When you begin to ingest alcohol or drugs, you immediately begin to lose control of the situation. Perhaps not much at the beginning but that can depend on what you’ve eaten, your weight, and what you’re ingesting. And if others around you keep drinking, one drink can easily become more.
The Buddy System
Just because you sit next to someone in Spanish class does not mean you know them enough to trust them. By having a buddy at the party that you are accountable to and who is tasked with knowing your whereabouts (and you with theirs), you reduce the chance that someone will corner you in a strange room or take you home with them.
It seems like a no-brainer, but be careful who you pick to be your buddy at a party. You want someone you can count on to watch out for you and someone you trust to stay in control of themselves enough to be able to help should anything happen.
Mind the Hook-up
Most sexual assault, including rape, is committed by someone the victim knew. Perhaps it was a casual date that turned ugly, or a hook-up with someone they had seen around school. Perhaps you think you’re just going back to make-out, only to find that your partner for the night has invited some other guests to join in, against your knowledge or desire.
Seeing someone at school, around the office or having had a couple of dates does not mean they can be instantly trusted. Learning their character and seeing whether they are a person of integrity or evil intent requires time.
A basic relationship principle: Take it slow. Keep your wits about you.
There will be plenty of time to go further with someone if they prove themselves to be trustworthy. Also, see Tip #1.