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Prevention of Sexual Assault

As with any crime, Augsburg University seeks to prevent sexual assault.  The victim of a sexual assault is not at fault, but Augsburg hopes to help prevent sexual assault by helping change the culture and discussion around it. Sexual assault, or rape, can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or any other demographic consideration.

Know Yourself

You should consider your own sexual interests and boundaries and be prepared to discuss them with your partner as well as your partner’s interests and boundaries.  Good communication will help ensure a good experience for both parties and help ensure the parties’ willingness to participate and avoid missed cues.

Alcohol

Alcohol is frequently involved in sexual assault cases, and usually both parties have consumed alcohol according to the National Institute for Alcohol and Alcoholism.  This does not, however, mean that alcohol causes or leads to sexual assault.  (In fact, the desire to commit sexual assault may be the reason for drinking.)  Nonetheless, alcohol can play a role, and alcohol can inhibit anyone’s judgment or ability to read any situation, and heavy drinking has been a reported as a factor in both perpetrators and victims.  This should not be seen as an excuse for sexual assault, but as a reminder to drink responsibly and plan ahead.  You should also know what you are drinking (i.e. avoid taking drinks from strangers or drinking from a communal punch bowl).  You should communicate with your friends and discuss your plans with your friends so that you are not alone.

Changing Attitudes

While sexual assault can occur between anyone, studies have also shown that only a small minority of men are responsible for a majority of sexual assaults–suggesting that these few men repeat their behavior.  So, it is worth taking a moment to consider peer pressure in this context.  Men may feel pressure to conform to the “boys will be boys” or “it’s just what guys do” mentality.  However, it is important to remember that if a man is encouraging plotting behavior or sexually inappropriate conduct, he is likely in the minority.  Young men should not feel peer pressure because another man (or men) are bragging about having sex with women or, particularly, plotting to sleep with a specific woman or otherwise seeking to sexually assault someone.  If you speak up, others will listen.  That man is likely in the minority, and you should not feel like you have to conform to what probably feels like uncomfortable behavior.  If it feels uncomfortable to you, it is probably uncomfortable to almost everyone. Your encouragement and reinforcement about positive sexual encounters to your friends can help discourage inappropriate attitudes and offset a potentially dangerous and destructive situation, and it will help encourage the entire community to recognize sexual misconduct for what it is.  And remember: it is okay to tell someone that the behavior is inappropriate. Your attitude and opinion may be a powerful deterrent to sexual assault.

Education

Augsburg is committed to providing education to its students, faculty, and staff regarding sexual misconduct and its effects on victims and the community in an effort to deter and reduce sexual misconduct involving members of our community. Augsburg utilizes various programs to educate the community including Student Success‘ online program “Not Anymore.”  The University tries to reach students early at freshmen orientation as part of its SOAR program and Auggietown presentation.