Risk Reduction

Risk Reduction Strategies to Prevent Campus Violence, Including Sexual Assault

TCAT Dickson provides educational programs for students, faculty, and staff to identify risk reduction strategies to avoid and/or respond to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The following information is provided to increase awareness and to provide strategies for protecting oneself.

A. Psychological Prevention
  • Trust instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about a person or situation, remove yourself from the situation immediately. 
  • Learn to be assertive. Enforce your rights without violating the rights of others. Be assertive but not defensive. When you become defensive you become more Vulnerable.
  • Don't be predictable; remember that many sexual assaults are planned. If you must walk alone, walk a different route each time so that you don't have a fixed pattern.
  • Don't be afraid to make a scene if you are confronted.
B. Be Alert When With Acquaintances
  • If you are at a party or other group function, don't leave with a person you don't know well.
  • Remember that alcohol and drugs compromise your ability to make decisions. They lower your inhibitions and make you a more likely candidate for becoming a victim.
  • If you are a female, avoid parties where men greatly outnumber women.
  • Avoid secluded places where you put yourself into a vulnerable situation.
  • Be careful when inviting someone to your residence or accepting an invitation to his or her residence.
  • Set sexual limits and communicate those limits. Beware of partners who disregard your requests.
C. Be Alert When Walking
  • Avoid walking alone at night.
  • Travel with a friend or in a group.
  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • If you must walk alone, stay in well-lighted areas, away from alleys, bushes, and entryways.
  • Walk confidently, directly, and at a steady pace.
  • Keep your hands free. Avoid overloading yourself with packages and books.
  • Avoid dark, vacant or deserted areas; use well-lit, well-traveled routes.
  • Dress in clothes and shoes which will not hamper movement.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Look, listen, and notice if someone is following you.
D. If You Sense You Are In Trouble
  • Move away from the potential threat if possible.
  • Join any group of people nearby; cross the street and increase your pace.
  • If a threatening situation is imminent, and people are close by to help, yell, scream, blow a whistle or make a commotion in any way you can to get their attention. Remember that people are more likely to respond to shouts of "Fire" and "Call 9-1-1" than to shouts of "Rape."
  • Go to an open building or business.
  • From a safe location, Call 911.
E. Be Alert Where You Live
  • Don't let anyone you do not know well inside your residence hall or apartment.
  • Do not open your door unless you know who is there.
  • Be sure that the doors of your residence are locked when you are there as well as when you are away. Lock your door even if you just go down the hall to visit a friend.
  • Avoid being in isolated areas such as parking structures or laundry rooms by yourself, especially at night.
  • Never indicate to anyone that you are alone.
  • Use well lighted entrances to your apartment or residence hall.
  • If anything appears out of the ordinary at your residence, to a safe place and call the police.


Oregon State University (2014). Sexual assault risk reduction strategies. Retrieved September 11, 2014 from http://oregonstate.edu/dept/security/sexual-assault-risk-reduction.