There are things you can do to reduce your chances of being sexually assaulted.
- Be aware of your surroundings — who’s out there and what’s going on.
- Walk with confidence. The more confident you look, the stronger you appear.
- Don’t let drugs or alcohol cloud your judgment.
- Be assertive — don’t let anyone violate your space.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in your surroundings, leave.
- Don’t prop open self-locking doors.
- Lock your door and your windows, even if you leave for just a few minutes.
- Watch your keys. Don’t lend them. Don’t leave them. Don’t lose them. And don’t put your name and address on the key ring.
- Watch out for unwanted visitors. Know who’s on the other side of the door before you open it.
- Be wary of isolated spots, like underground garages, offices after business hours, and apartment laundry rooms.
- Avoid walking or jogging alone, especially at night. Vary your route. Stay in well-traveled, well-lit areas.
- Have your key ready to use before you reach the door — home, car, or work.
- Park in well-lit areas and lock the car, even if you’ll only be gone a few minutes.
- Drive on well-traveled streets, with doors and windows locked.
- Never hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker.
- Keep your car in good shape with plenty of gas in the tank.
- In case of car trouble, call for help on your cellular phone. If you don’t have a phone, put the hood up, lock the doors, and put a banner in the rear window that says, “Help. Call police.”
View more information from the National Crime Prevention Council.
About Sexual Assault
Sexual assault remains a significant problem on college campuses. Today, it is not only the stranger lurking behind the bushes who may be a concern. It is a well-documented fact that the majority of sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance, most often in a dating situation.
Up to 90 percent of all sexual assaults involve the use of alcohol, the most commonly used drug on college campuses. Tests show that alcohol has a negative effect on individuals before they think they are drunk. Beginning with the first drink, alcohol progressively changes behavior and judgment and is thought to often play a role in sexual assault because:
- Alcohol makes talking and listening more difficult. It is common for individuals under the influence to lose their ability to communicate clearly and effectively. A person who is under the influence may have a hard time understanding and accurately interpreting someone else's behavior and actions. Research has found when men are under the influence of alcohol, they are likely to interpret a variety of verbal and nonverbal cues as evidence that a woman is interested in having sex with him. These assumptions can be dangerous. Additionally, it's hard to be assertive when you are drunk.
- Alcohol impairs judgment and inhibits clear thinking. This makes it harder to assess risk. Alcohol often causes people to misread situations or emotions. Also, when drinking, people may forget their common sense and values.
- Alcohol can increase aggression. There is a clear tie between alcohol and violence. Between 75 and 90 percent of all violence on campus is alcohol-related. Alcohol itself doesn't cause violence but some people who drink it are more likely to act out their violent feelings. Some people mistakenly think alcohol makes them powerful or aggressive. Also, rapists often target a female who is drinking, frequently planning to provide her with alcohol.
When a Sexual Assault Occurs
An off-campus assault should be reported to the Lawrenceville Police or Gwinnett County Police at 911. If you are sexually assaulted on campus, report it to Campus Police at 678.407.5333. If you wish, Campus Police will notify the Lawrenceville or Gwinnett County police.
Calling the police does not commit you to pressing charges against the assailant. That choice can be made later.
Because it is important to preserve as much physical evidence as possible, do not bathe, douche or change clothes. Call 911 immediately for further instructions. The 911 operator will ask questions to help determine if you need emergency medical care for physical injuries and will arrange transportation to either a local hospital emergency center or the Gwinnett Sexual Assault Center (GSAC) if physical injuries are not involved. A sexual assault nurse examiner with special training in working with sexual assault victims will perform an evidence collection exam. This exam should be performed within 72 hours of the assault. The nurse will discuss pregnancy prevention and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections. She will also provide information about follow-up testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
The Gwinnett Sexual Assault Center (GSAC) will provide trained volunteers to accompany a victim through the medical and legal procedures. There is no charge for these services. Crisis hotline: 770.476.7407
If you do not want a sexual assault evidence collection exam, you are encouraged to seek medical attention. Medical and counseling services can be coordinated by the dean of students or the Office of Student Affairs.