Summer Party Season - Protect Young Adults from Sexual Assault
Sexual assaults committed against young adults increase dramatically now through July in northern Nevada. Why? A vast majority of alcohol and drug related sexual assaults occur during graduation time and warm summer months when parties are prevalent. Young women 16-19 are four times more likely to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault especially when alcohol or drugs are involved.
The Sheriff's Office wants parents and young adults to be aware of potentially dangerous situations to reduce the risk of sexual assault. Young adults respond to an assault in different ways. Many people believe common myths about sexual assault such as 'If the woman was flirting then it's not really sexual assault’ or It's not rape unless the young woman is seriously injured. "However, if they do not consent - it's a crime, regardless of the circumstances." "It's not the victim's fault," agrees the Detective Captain "even when they don't make the safest choices. Lack of consent can be expressed by simply saying ‘no!’”
The Sheriff's Office discourages underage drinking, supports Safe and Sober graduation celebrations and recommends the following:
- Don't let alcohol or other drugs cloud your judgment. Alcohol decreases awareness, so people are less likely to guard themselves against aggressive or coercive behavior.
- Acknowledge and understand that consent to sexual activity can be withdrawn at any time. Without putting yourself in danger, leave if you feel uncomfortable. Most importantly, if you do not consent, verbalize it. Say “No!” and get up and go.
- Avoid going into secluded areas. Be conscious of exits or other escape routes.
- Have a code word with friends or family so that if you don't feel comfortable, you can call them and communicate your discomfort without the person you are with knowing.
- If you see a friend heading into a dangerous situation at a party, encourage them to leave or stay by their side.
- Always keep an eye on every beverage you drink. Once you lose sight of your drink, don't consume it anymore - get a new one.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation or place makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, leave.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you find a way to get out of a bad situation.
- Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have money.