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Sexual Assault Awareness for International Students

Sexual Assault is a growing concern for many international students, and with this video you can learn all about what Sexual Assault is and the importance concept of consent, how you can prevent an assault from happening and what to do if one does occur.

If you are a school and would like to show this video as part of your student orientation, so that your students may gain awareness of the issue of sexual assault, please contact us for more information.

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Sexual assault on campus has received a lot of media attention, as studies show that as many as 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted in college. Most sexual assaults are by someone the victim knew, and most are never reported.

In this short video, we’ll help you understand what sexual assault is and explore the important concept of consent. We’ll then talk about how to help prevent an assault from happening and the obligations on your school to help you continue your education if one does occur.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the agreement of both partners. This can include forced or unwanted kissing, touching or rape, as well as persistent or unwanted sexual comments. Although most victims are women, men are also assaulted.

Countries and cultures around the world have varying standards to determine what is unacceptable or criminal sexual behavior, so it’s important to know the rules in the United States - and it all starts with consent.

Understanding Consent

Consent is when both people agree to engage in sexual activity, and requires both you and your partner to voluntarily say “yes” every step of the way, without feeling pressured or intimidated and without being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Here are a few tips for understanding sexual consent:

  1. Don’t make assumptions - A person’s body language, dress, previous sexual activity, silence or even marriage are not an indication that your partner agrees to sex.
  2. Know the legal age for sex - the legal age for sexual activity in the US varies from 16 to 18 (depending on the state). Sexual activity with anyone under these ages is against the law, even if they said “yes” every step of the way.
  3. Understand No means NO - even if your partner said yes in the past, they still have the right to change their mind at any time and their choice should always be respected.
  4. Unconsciousness is not consent - Someone who is drunk, on drugs, passed out or simply asleep cannot consent to sex, even if it seemed like they wanted to before.

Without consent from both parties, any sexual behavior can be considered sexual assault under US law and can be prosecuted, with the chance of long prison sentences.

Prevention

Now that you understand what sexual assault is and the concept of consent, here are some tips to help you stay safe as an international student in the US:

  • Know your limits (not spoken, onscreen)
  • Over half of all reported sexual assaults by college students involved alcohol. Drinking too much can put you in situations where you might be vulnerable.
  • Watch your drinks (not spoken, onscreen)
  • An increasing number of incidents occur when drugs (known as date-rape drugs) are slipped into your drink without your knowledge, making you feel sleepy or even pass out. Make sure to keep your drinks with you at all times, and if you happen to let it out of your sight, don’t drink it!
  • Remove yourself or say no! (not spoken, onscreen) If you feel uncomfortable, it is okay to remove yourself from the situation or say “No”. Be clear and confident about your limits, leaving no room for misunderstanding.
  • Don’t go alone (not spoken, onscreen)
  • Keep your cell phone charged at all times, and avoid walking home alone at night. Stay with a group of trusted friends who can make sure that everyone gets home safely!

It’s important to remember that that the victim of sexual assault is never to blame, even if you could have done more to keep yourself safe. It’s everyone’s responsibility to do as much as possible to prevent a sexual assault, so if you see a situation where someone appears to be at risk, consider whether there’s some safe assistance you can offer, like speaking up, helping someone home, or calling the police.

Seeking Help

Sexual assault is a crime, but most assaults are never reported. It is a personal decision, but reporting an assault can help you regain a sense of personal power and control, and it could prevent it from happening to someone else. Medical professionals and police are trained to treat victims of sexual assault, and your school has counselors that can help.

Often students are concerned that if they report a sexual assault, it will somehow interfere with their education. This isn’t true and your school is prepared and wants to help you. If the assault occurred on campus or by another student, your school is required by law to:

  1. Have an established procedure and designated person to handle your situation;
  2. Take action to help you continue your education;
  3. Keep you safe from discrimination, harassment and violence

This could include counselling, private tutoring, changing your campus housing, or other remedies to ensure that your education continues without feeling threatened. Remember your school is on your side and there to help you!

Conclusion

Studying in the US is an exciting opportunity, so don’t let sexual assault impact your experience. Remember to be aware of your surroundings, mindful of drugs or alcohol, help keep your friends safe, and be very clear about sexual consent.

If you, or someone you know is the victim of sexual assault, medical personnel, your school and counselors are there to help. You can also get help and support from these national sexual assault hotlines:

  • RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
  • Safe Horizon 1.800.621.HOPE (4673)


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