Sexual Violence Prevention
Tips for Smart Dating
- Clarify for yourself what you want, what you don’t want and define your limits ahead of time -- before you meet an acquaintance or go out on a date.
- Communicate your intentions clearly. Tell your date or acquaintance what your intentions and limits are. “No” means no, and “yes” means yes. Be clear, firm, and specific. Polite approaches are sometimes misunderstood or ignored.
- Be assertive. Others sometimes interpret silence or passivity as permission. Be clear, straightforward, and firm with someone who is sexually pressuring you.
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol. Alcohol interferes significantly with judgment and communication. Most incidents of date rape involve alcohol use by the victim, the perpetrator, or both.
- Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
- When dating a person for the first time, double date. Attend social events with two or three people and watch out for each other. Commit to go together and to leave together.
- Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do.
- Trust your intuition. If you sense you are in danger, leave the area or situation immediately.
If you are the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you reduce your risk of being accused of sexual misconduct:
- Clearly communicate your intentions and allow your partner the chance to clearly respond.
- Always ask first. Listen for the response. If the response is not clear, ask again. Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication you should stop and communicate better. You must respect their timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
- Understand and respect personal boundaries.
- Respect the wishes of the person. “No” means “no.” Do not read other meanings into responses or behavior, even if he/she initially gives permission, then changes his/her mind. Respect the wishes of the other.
- Never assume previous sex is permission for future sex. Again, listen to what the person is saying to you.
- Never assume that others enjoy force or pressure to have sex. In reality, most persons wish to be treated with care and respect. Forced sex is a criminal act of violence. Be aware that your potential partner could be intimidated by you or even fearful. Don't abuse that power.
- Never assume that others who show up in revealing clothes or who may seem to be acting provocatively want to have sex.
- Realize that alcohol and drugs are not an excuse to have sex. It is against the law to engage in sexual activity with someone who is intoxicated or incapable of saying “no.”