SEPS Co-Founder Gershon Ben Keren's Personal Safety Google Talk

Gershon Ben Keren was invited to present a talk at Google, after his book, "Krav Maga: Real World Solutions to Real World Violence" was published. In this talk he outlined many elements and parts of the SEPS framework for predicting and preventing violence. If you are looking to learn more about how to improve your personal safety this is great lecture/presentation to watch.

Self-Defense Books

The SEPS System is a personal-safey/self-protection system; it presents a framework and a set of tools that allow you to predict, prevent, identify and avoid violent situations before they occur. Self-defense systems are those that teach you how to physically defend yourself if you're unable to do this, or if violence is unavoidable. In, "Krav Maga: Real World Solutions To Real World Violence", Gershon Ben Keren, presents physical solutions and techniques to deal with violent assaults. You can get a preview of the book, and purchase it through Amazon by clicking here

Interviews & Media

NPR/WBUR Interview With Gershon Ben Keren

In 2013, a young South Boston women was abducted from her home and murdered. SEPS Co-Founder, Gershon Ben Keren was interviewed on NPR abou this, and was asked to prescribe what to do if you were to find yourself in an abduction scenario. To listen to this interview, please click here.

SEPS Personal Safety on Fox News

Gershon Ben Keren is regularly interviewed and consulted by the media, on issues of personal safety, security, and self-defense. In this interview he explains how predatory individuals select victims. To watch the interview, please click here.

Module 1 - Rapists & Sexual Predators On & Off Campus

Identifying Sexual Predators & The Methods They Use

It is a frightening statistic, that a woman is more likely to be raped and/or sexually assaulted if she attends college/university than if she doesn’t. This is a high and unacceptable price for women who want to further their education and their employment opportunities. Whilst this fact indicates that universities and colleges have a great deal of work to do in changing the culture of their campuses, especially in regards to male attitudes towards women, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t personal safety precautions that can be put in place to help us predict, prevent, identify and avoid these sexual predators who exist within our colleges and universities.

In today’s society, there are many people who believe that responsibility for a crime lies entirely with the criminal, and whilst this is true from a moral and legal standpoint, this view/opinion does little to actually prevent crimes from being committed, in the first place. Unfortunately there will always be criminals, including rapists, and whilst they are ultimately responsible and to blame for their crimes, unless we take responsibility for our personal safety, we will end up being their victims. Just as you should be able to leave your door unlocked and not have your house/room burgled, so you should be able to go to a frat party, on your own, get completely intoxicated, and not be sexually assaulted. However, if we accept reality as it is, we know that if we leave our doors and windows open when we are out, we put ourselves at risk of being burgled, and if we get blind drunk at a frat party – especially if women have been raped at similar parties the frat has held – we put ourselves at risk of being sexually assaulted. In neither case is the victim to blame, nor should they feel responsible, however this is of little practical value when you are dealing with the consequences of these crimes.

The consequences of being sexually assaulted are life changing. From a purely practical perspective, many women who are raped when at college or university end up dropping out, and fail to complete their education. This leaves them with a less competitive chance of getting a high paid job and/or the career they want, along with whatever student debt they’ve accrued. From an emotional and psychological perspective, many victims end up suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress – things they may live with for the rest of their lives. The unfairness of this is startling and saddening, especially when most of the perpetrators of these assaults go largely unpunished, and go on to complete their education. However this module is not about the injustice that victims face, but how you can adopt practical measures and learn to identify sexual assailants and the situations they create, in order to prevent yourself from being targeted and victimized.

Accepting the Truth about Rape & Sexual Assaults

Denial is a strong thing, and many of us fail to accept what the statistics tell us. In one experiment, American men and women were given a survey, that in it stated that the average life expectancy for a US citizen was 87 years old. They were then asked to estimate their own life expectancy. Nobody put lower than 87 years, in fact most put considerably higher. People by nature are optimistic, and don’t believe that they are part of the statistic, or that the statistic applies to them. On an online survey that the SEPS Academy did, we had a multiple choice question that asked, “In what location are you most likely to be raped?” 87% of respondents got the correct answer, which was, “In your house or somebody else’s.” A second question asked, “Who is most likely to rape/sexually assault you?” Again, most women got the correct answer (67%) – that it would be a friend/acquaintance or someone you know. In a later question we asked how a rapist was most likely to assault you; remember that most respondents understood that most rapes and sexual assaults are committed by people they know, in their own homes or somebody else’s. However over 51% of those taking the survey, believed that rapists were most likely to hide and conceal themselves somewhere and then jump out at them or ambush them by first asking them for the time or for directions i.e. that they would be assaulted outside on the street or in a park etc. There is a huge disconnect here; if somebody you know is in your home, they don’t have to conceal themselves or hide, or follow you, or ask you for directions etc. They can attack you face-to-face, which is how most assaults occur – after dialogue, conversation and some form of verbal exchange.

What is happening here, is a case of the statistics of rape not applying to the individual. The thinking is, while other people may be raped or sexually assaulted by someone they know, that’s not how I’m likely to be assaulted. Unfortunately, it is. We may not be able to imagine that we’ll be raped by someone we know, but that is the most likely scenario. We may be able to imagine that we’re most at danger from sexual assailants when we are walking back from the library late at night, but we find it difficult to imagine this happening in our room, or somebody else’s. The truth is, that is where we are statistically most at risk, and the statistics do apply to us. We should still take care walking home late at night, because assaults do happen in these situations, however they’re not the most likely ones; and the danger is that if we fixate on these scenarios, we may drop our guard, or fail to pick up the warning signs, in other, more likely scenarios. Hard as it is to accept, you are most likely to be raped by someone you know in your home, or theirs.

It can be hard to imagine that a “friend”, who you know and trust, would do something like this to you. One of the reasons for this is that we believe sexual predators – and that is what all rapists are, predators – are different, and so stand out. Unfortunately, in all regards but one, rapists and sexual assailants are normal people; they really only differ from us in their deviancy, that they believe they are entitled to have sex with women regardless of consent. Apart from that, they are just like us. They can be good “friends”, helping us with class work, lending us money, looking out for us, etc. However when it comes to sex, they believe they are entitled and justified to have it without consent. This is one of the reasons that people often don’t believe victims who have been sexually assaulted; they just can’t believe that the person who committed this horrendous crime, is the person they know as someone who is nice, friendly and considerate, etc.

This same disbelief is also common with pedophiles (predators who sexually abuse prepubescent children) when they are arrested. When the media interview people who knew the predator, they’ll often be met with remarks and comments, such as, “He seemed such a nice man”, “He was always helping people and was very neighborly” etc. The fact that someone seems nice, doesn’t mean that they can’t be capable of committing harmful, criminal acts.

One thing to understand about rapists and other sexual predators, is that by and large, they are skilled social players, who know how to overcome our objections and misgivings, paint themselves in a certain light, and convince us to want the things they want, etc. In terms of their skills and abilities versus ours, the balance is in their favor, however they do give us clues as to their personalities, and they do follow certain processes and use certain tools to get what they want. When we understand how and why they act the way they do, it is possible to understand who we are at risk from, and which situations indicate that we may be in danger.

Profiles of Rapists

Rape is not primarily about sex. Many rapists have girlfriends and partners. This means that we are not by default safe, just because we are in an environment with someone who has an existing partner. Rape is about three things: power, control, and anger. Forced non-consensual sex is by and large an expression of these things; sexual satisfaction for the rapist is largely secondary. There are four main types of Rapist (three of which come from the work of Nicholas Groth, which the FBI expanded to create a fourth category). These are:

  • 1. Power Assurance Rapists
  • 2. Power Assertive Rapists
  • 3. Anger Retaliatory Rapists
  • 4. Anger Excitement Rapists

Power Assurance Rapists, are usually immature, socially awkward individuals who don’t know how to, or haven’t had any experience interacting with women, either socially or sexually. They live under the mistaken belief that during the process of the assault, their victim will change from a non-consensual, unwilling partner to one that is willing – and may indeed fall in love with their assailant. These individuals are often referred to as “Gentleman Rapists”, because they ironically “care” about their victims, and want them to enjoy the experience. They may ask and check to see if their victim is comfortable, whether they are enjoying a particular sexual act they are engaging in, etc. In almost all cases when dealing with such individuals, shouting and screaming is enough to scare them off, as this wasn’t part of the fantasy they created or imagined.

Whatever the profile of the rapist, rape is born out of mastubatory fantasy i.e. the rapist masturbates over the fantasy, whether it is of their victim, enjoying the assault in the case of the Power Assurance Rapist, or over the power and control they have over their victim. Whilst many rapists and sexual assailants will try and make out that they misread the signals the other person was giving them in a situation, the truth is, that at some point they had created a sexual fantasy around the assault. There is always a degree (however small) of premeditation in any sexual assault.

Power Assertive Rapists, have a strong sense of entitlement when it comes to sex and their relationship with women. These are the seemingly Alpha males, who believe that they are better, stronger and more important human beings than those around them, especially women. These include (but is not restricted to) the Football Players and other sports team members who engage in sexual assaults, because they believe their position gives them the right to what they want, whether their victims consent or not; they are asserting their power. Of course, not every college athlete is a sexual predator, and there are Power Assertive Rapists, who do not play sports. Do not be fooled that the quiet and modest person is excluded from being a sexual predator – some people hide their anger and entitlement well. These individuals often give themselves away in the things that they say, and the opinions that they have, concerning women, and we will look at this later in the section.

Anger Retaliatory Rapists, are sexual assailants who have usually been dominated and emasculated by a strong female character in their life (normally their mother), and have developed anger and resentment towards women in general. In the assault, they work out their anger, and try and get back some of the power and control they felt was denied them in the past. Their assaults tend to be physically brutal, with the aim of punishing and hurting their victim, and so they use much more force than would normally be necessary to control the person they’re assaulting. Assaults involving these predators tend to be brief, and committed quickly (there is only so long that a person can stay in such an emotional state). These are one of the few types of rapist who may feel genuine remorse and guilt for what they’ve done. Power Assertive rapists may apologize for their actions but because of their sense of entitlement to act how they want, it is rarely heartfelt, and is usually done to lessen the consequences of their actions, or to avoid being reported or punished.

Anger Excitement Rapists, make up only a very small percentage, of sexual predators, however they are the ones we should fear the most. Their satisfaction comes from experiencing the pain of other people. It is not that they are indifferent to their victim’s pain but rather they seek it out, testing and experimenting with what causes the most pain and distress. Their assaults tend to have a ritualistic nature, and they may have an order of events that they like to follow. These individuals are sadists, and there is always the risk as their fantasies become darker and darker, and their actual assaults fail to live up to the expectations that come with their fantasies that they eventually end up planning to kill their next victim, in order to enjoy the ultimate sadistic thrill.

When we look realistically at who you are at greatest risk from and who you are most likely to be targeted by, it is power assurance and power assertive rapists.

Predicting Sexual Assaults

As previously stated, you are most likely to be sexually assaulted by male friends and acquaintances. One of the best preventative measures you can take is to alter your definition and perception of what a stranger is. Our normal definition of a stranger is someone that we don’t know. From a personal safety perspective, this definition should be extended to, “anyone who you don’t know how they’d act and behave in a certain situation.” Imagine you are at a party at somebody’s house, when you come across a boy who you’ve been in a couple of study groups with, and have also collaborated on a number of projects with, as part of a group. You’ve always liked him, and wanted to get to know him better. It turns out that this is his house, and he asks if you want to come to his room, as it’s a bit noisy, so you can talk properly. You probably aren’t thinking about this individual as a stranger, however the only context in which you know him, is an academic one. You probably have few ideas about his views towards women, and no experience of being alone with him. In effect, he is a stranger because you’ve never really experienced him in a social setting before.

The problem is that because you like him, you want to go with him to his room, and to not do so would be awkward, possibly socially embarrassing, and may offend him; something you don’t want to do. He may not be a sexual predator, but if he was this would be the type of setup he might try. It is always worth in these situations trying to understand what your alternatives are whilst satisfying the stated intent behind the request. He has one of two intentions, he either wants to get you into his room or he wants to be able to talk properly to you; if it is the latter, then that doesn’t have to take place in his room, it can take place anywhere where there isn’t a lot of noise. If this is the case offer an alternative location, which is more visible and public. If he is adamant about going to his room, it is obvious he has other intentions than just talking to you. This will also let him know that you are comfortable setting and sticking to boundaries. You can do this in a very casual manner e.g. “I was just thinking of stepping outside to get some fresh air, why don’t you join me?”

Power Assertive Rapists, will often reveal their attitudes and opinions about women, in the conversations they have with both male and female friends. They may talk about women leading men on, and/or men not being able to help themselves, etc. These types of statements, are aimed at taking the responsibility for sex away from men and placing it all on the woman. When somebody says that men are unable to control themselves sexually, they are also saying that they are not responsible for their actions. This opinion allows them to engage in non-consensual sex with the get out clause that there was nothing they could do to control their sexual urges i.e. that this is natural and to be expected sexual behavior – it is not their fault that they acted in this way. Such seemingly innocuous comments, should be taken note of rather than dismissed, or written off as boys being boys. They give strong clues into an individual’s attitude towards sex, and sexual relationships. Arguing that women lead men on, also takes away responsibility for behaving respectfully towards women. It makes the responsibility for a man wanting to sleep with a woman, the woman’s. Another statement that gives away this, and similar, viewpoints is the one that women who dress provocatively are somehow “Asking for it”, and shouldn’t be surprised when a man refuses to accept her “No”. People reveal a lot about who they are, in what they say, and we should take note.

Unexpected behaviors and actions should also set warning bells ringing. One big one, is male friends and fellow students, turning up at your room or your house at unexpected hours, however legitimate their reasons are. Take a situation, where late one evening you receive a knock at your door. When you open it, one of your fellow study group members is standing there. Before you have time to speak, he starts to explain why he’s there. He tells you, “I’m really struggling with the paper: it’s due in two days and I’m still not sure on the direction I should take with it. I really need to get a good grade on this one, as my grade average isn’t so good this semester, and I need to get it back up, otherwise I may have to repeat this course, which would delay my graduation date, and I’ve already got too much student debt to this. You’re the only one in the group who can help me.” When people give you too much information, they are doing so intentionally. Most of the facts given in this explanation are irrelevant e.g. the grade average, repeating the course, delaying his graduation, his student debt problem, etc. The point of all this information is to take up enough mental bandwidth, processing these facts, so that you don’t ask the only important question: what’s he doing at your room at this time of day?

You ask him what he wants. He tells you that he just wants to come in and quickly go over the outline of his paper with you, so that you can give him some constructive criticism, and help him get a better grade. You suggest that the two of you go to the library. He tells you that this will take too long and he only needs 10 minutes of your time. You suggest that you go to the common area in your halls of residence. He tells you that he passed it on his way to your room, and it was packed. Every alternative you give for him coming into your room he has an objection to. Gavin De Becker, refers to this as, “Discounting Your No”. With each alternative you give, you are effectively saying, “No”, that you don’t want him to come into your room, and each time he dismisses/discounts this and gives a reason as to why he should come into your room. Predators are persistent, and will keep chipping away at every objection and alternative you give, until you run out of them or give up. If you ever experience this, raise your guard.

One method people use to turn a “No” into a “Yes” is something called Typecasting. It might be that as he seems to be getting nowhere with you, he changes tack, and says, “The other students in the group were right, you are someone who turns their back on people in need.” Firstly, this isn’t true, as you’ve offered some alternative locations in which to study and help him, and he’s turned these down. However Typecasting is a powerful tool, and everything about you wants to turn round and say, I’m not that type of person, and to prove it to you, come in. Typecasting is an aggressive accusation that puts you in a socially awkward position – something that sexual predators like to do.

Another trick predators will use in order to get you to comply with their demands/wishes is “Loan Sharking”. This can take many forms and can even be retrospective. It works on the premise that human beings want to reciprocate kindness shown to them, by being kind in return i.e. giving back. It could be that the person at your door starts to refer back to things that they’ve done for you in the past – it may be that they deliberately did these things – intimating that you effectively owe them, and that it is payback time. It is immensely difficult not to feel in debt to this individual, and that you should pay them back in this moment, however it should be clear by now that the most important thing to this person is not to get your assistance but to get into your room.

Team Building is another tool that predators will use. They will attempt to put you and themselves in the same position (or on the same team). They may refer you to a time when you got a grade that you were disappointed in, that reduced your grade average or refer back to things that you may have in common; such as a bad experience you both had with a certain professor, etc. We generally trust people who are like us, and so if somebody can point out similarities between you and them, you are more likely to acquiesce to their request.

By now you may be weakening. The process of being groomed, and this is what is happening to you, is tiring and exhausting due to its socially awkward nature (it’s never easy to play the “bad guy” and refuse someone who is extremely persistent), and you may start to wonder if you are being overly suspicious of this individual’s motives. It may be at this point - and predators are well attuned to recognizing when you’re ready to give in - that they make an Unsolicited Promise, saying, “Look, just let me come in for 10 minutes, don’t worry nothing is going to happen.” If you heard this line in a movie, you’d know what the next scene would look like, and it wouldn’t be good for the person who’d just heard this. You haven’t yet raised an objection based on safety, so why is the person at your door telling you not to worry?

This is a classic sales technique called “Closing Doors”, which salesman use to close a deal. Its aim is to knock down all your actual objections to the point where you just have to come out and say that you simply don’t want what the person is selling; having gone through the whole sales process most people don’t say this and end up signing. Imagine you were looking to buy a car, and the Salesman asks you if you’re ready to sign the paperwork. In truth you don’t want the car but you feel you need to put up some objections. You may say that your maximum budget for financing was $150/month, and at the current rate you’d be paying $175. To close this particular door through which you could exit, the salesman extends the financing by another year bringing the monthly payment down to $135. Any potential door you could exit through to get out of buying the car they close. Predators do the same, and just like the Car salesman, they have a pile of tricks up their sleeves to do this. As they are close to closing the deal, in this case, being allowed into your room, they will attempt to close the door on the last objection you can make; a concern for your personal safety.

At some point, the person trying to get access to you and your room will have to deal with the objection of your safety. You have probably put off giving this as a reason for not letting them in, as you wanted to be polite, and not offend their feelings by suggesting that you didn’t feel safe with having them in your room. By saying, “don’t worry, nothing’s going to happen”, if you don’t let them in, you are aware that you’ll be telling them that the only reason you’re not letting them in, is because you think something will happen. By this time, worn down, and feeling that they won’t go unless you let them in, and with the knowledge that if you don’t it will look like you think they’re a threat (which would be rude and awkward), you may well let them come in. What you should say at this point is, “You are probably right that nothing is going to happen, however I don’t know you well enough, to risk my safety by letting you into my room. If you want help with your paper I can meet you tomorrow morning at the library.” This is not rude, it is just setting and staying true to your boundaries.

This process of grooming – which involves getting you to gradually hand over control of a situation to the predator – is made up of the following steps:

  • 1. Too much information
  • 2. Discounting your “No”
  • 3. Typecasting
  • 4. Loan Sharking
  • 5. Team Building
  • 6. The Unsolicited Promise

When you believe that somebody is trying to groom you in this way, you need to exit that situation as soon as possible. Violent situations can develop faster than you may think, and assaults can happen extremely quickly. You may think that in the situation described above, it would be safe to invite the male student who needs your help, into your room as long as you keep the door open, and that’ll you will give him 10 minutes of your time and that will be that. However 10 minutes is a long time, and anything can happen and change in that time. You may even think that it’s ok to let him in because your roommate will be back in 5 minutes. Without being alarmist, women have been raped on subway trains between stops i.e. in a matter of seconds. We often confuse sexual assaults with sex, where the man takes a certain amount of time to become aroused, and be capable of having sex. There are many predators who are already aroused when they attack their victims, and are ready to have penetrative sex as soon as they can get their victim undressed to a point where this is practical e.g. a short skirt doesn’t have to be pulled up much and a pair of panties pulled down far to make this possible. As soon as you realize what is happening leave the situation you are in e.g. close your door and stay in your room, or leave your room and head for the nearest public place, etc.

Personal Safety on Dates

If you haven’t started dating yet, or have little experience with dating, you may want to consider a few things when you set up dates.

However much you like somebody, they can act and behave very differently when you go on a date with them. The normally chatty and confident individual, may be quiet and introverted in a dating scenario, or the person who you thought was nice and considerate, turns out to have some views and opinions that he feels safe to express to you, that you find offensive. It is always worth remembering that dates can go bad. For this reason, it’s better to keep first dates short, and give yourself room and reasons to exit the situation without causing offense.

If you set a date for a Friday or Saturday night, the person you are meeting will know that you have cleared the evening for them, and that you have nothing else planned. If the date starts to go bad, it is unlikely that you can make the case that you have something else planned for the evening, and so excusing yourself because you have something else to do isn’t really believable. Try and set dates for weeknights, where you can make legitimate arguments, about having to get back to finish a paper that is due the next day, or you need to spend some time revising because you have an important exam coming up, etc.

Try not to arrange your date to be something that you will have to see out regardless of the fact that you no longer want to spend any time with this individual e.g. if you arrange to go for a meal, and to see a film, you have allotted four hours of your time, that you will not be able to cut short. If during the first ten minutes of the meal, you have concerns about this individual’s intentions towards you, you now have to spend the next 3 hours and 50 minutes with somebody you don’t trust. Arrange to meet for a drink somewhere, or for coffee. If you like the person, you can stay for another, if you don’t, you can make your excuses and leave.

Have a prebuilt excuse that gives you the opportunity to leave, and state this at the start of the date. You can tell your date that your roommate has fallen ill, and you told her that if she took a turn for the worse to text you, and that you’d come back etc. At the start of the date, apologize that you may have to leave if you get a text. This is a much more effective and believable way of ending a bad date than suddenly making an excuse after a 5 minute period of silence, or after your date has said something that makes you uncomfortable.

Set a time limit and stick to it, and don’t accept any sudden changes of plan that your date makes. If you have agreed to meet for a drink at a bar, meet for a drink at a bar. Don’t let your date change the venue when you get there. Predatory individuals, will often make sudden changes to a plan, so you don’t have the time to consider the consequences for you of that change, whilst at the same time creating a socially awkward situation. If you have the chance to check out the venue or location of the date beforehand, take a friend and do so. The last thing you want is to suddenly realize that your date is taking you to a seedy, dive bar. If you come to the end of your time, and your date is trying to convince you to come somewhere else, stick to your plans. If the offer is good today, it should be good tomorrow, and you can take them up on that offer another time.

You should also be prepared to lose your investment in the date, and not convince yourself that you should keep on with it if it is going badly. Sometimes we want things to work so badly, that we take bad decisions. If you have bought new clothes, make up, spent time preparing for the date, you may feel you’ve invested so much in it, that you need to get something out of it, such as another date, even though you realize that you don’t actually want to spend any more time with this person.

Remember that your date is basically a stranger. It doesn’t matter what other settings and contexts you know them in, and have experience of how they will act and behave. This is a dating scenario, and you have no knowledge of how they act in such a setting. This is a good rule to keep in mind, until you have more experience of them in a dating context.

Sexual Assaults & Alcohol

In a perfect world you’d be able to consume as much alcohol as you wanted, without putting yourself at risk. However we don’t live in a perfect world, and over consuming alcohol, increases our chances of being sexually assaulted. There are a few reasons for this:

  • 1. Alcohol reduces our inhibitions
  • 2. Alcohol can affect our ability to make sensible and safe decisions
  • 3. Alcohol can affect us physically, making it difficult to resist an attacker
  • 4. Alcohol makes us tired and sleepy

One of the reasons people like to drink, is that they become more confident because of it. It is much easier to overcome your inhibitions to talk or dance with somebody if you’ve had a couple of drinks. There is nothing wrong with this. However if you over consume, it is possible that you lose some inhibitions that you might later regret e.g. it might seem a great idea to do an impromptu strip tease, or semi strip tease at a party after you’ve drunk too much, and this might send entirely the wrong message to some of the male onlookers – what you thought was a bit of fun, is interpreted as a sexual invitation to those watching. It could also be that nothing untoward happens at that time, but by the time you wake up and sober up the next day, the movie that someone took on their phone is doing the rounds on social media; and what goes up on the internet stays on the internet.

Under the influence of alcohol, your ability to make good decisions will be impaired. You may find yourself accepting rides off of people you’ve just met, deciding to walk home rather than get a taxi, or car service etc. Things you would never do sober. If you are tired and exhausted, you may decide that dealing with this is your number one priority, and that staying with somebody you’ve just met in their room makes the most sense – they may well have told you not to worry because nothing is going to happen.

Alcohol can make it hard and/or impossible for us to put up any form of resistance against an assailant. You may have taken somebody’s offer of a bed or a couch for the night, only to find them undressing you as you sleep. If you have drunk too much, you may find it difficult to coordinate enough resistance to prevent them from doing this. Many rapists use this lack of resistance as part of their defense that the sex was consensual, even though it wasn’t, and unfortunately too many times their side of the story is believed. It is worth understanding that it is not in a college/university’s best interest to get known as an establishment with a high number of sexual assaults, and so there are many institutions that will only judge it to be rape in the most clear-cut of cases.

Rape and Sexual Assaults can occur, and be prosecuted, even if the victim didn’t say no. If it can be proved that what occurred was non-consensual, regardless of whether the individual did or did not explicitly say “No”, then it is a sexual assault. It should also be noted that you can be raped and sexually assaulted by a partner or boyfriend. Being in a relationship does not protect a partner who engages in forced and non-consensual sex with you.

Despite the initial euphoria and energy that alcohol brings, over consumption will quickly tire and exhaust you. If you are at a party drinking at a faster rate than your friends, you may get tired and want to leave before them, even though you all agreed to leave together. This can see you trying to make your own way home in a disorientated state - something that may put you at risk. Be aware that others will notice the state you are in, and may well try to take advantage of it, knowing that you’ll have difficulty remembering everything that happened to you.

If you are at a party where somebody is constantly refilling or getting drinks for you, and attempting to get you to speed up your drinking, take note and slow down.


Your college/university years should be fun ones, and you will want to capitalize on the investment you have made in your education, by finishing and graduating your degree program. Being sexually assaulted, will change your life, and is one of the biggest risks you will face for dropping out. Whilst you shouldn’t have to take responsibility for your safety, to avoid becoming a victim, you must. If you get known as somebody who sets boundaries and sticks to them, you will go a long way to letting people you know that you are not an easy target.

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