Prevention and Risk Reduction
A primary prevention model aims to address the origins of sexual violence in an effort to mitigate the harm individual actions can cause through education and community involvement. Perpetrators ultimately bear the responsibility for their choices; however, Lewis & Clark community members can take steps to prevent violence on campus.
Consent is the cornerstone of prevention. By learning and enacting the essential elements of consent, we communicate that we value the autonomy, safety and wellbeing of others. Through bystander intervention, we demonstrate our willingness to disrupt interactions at risk of causing emotional, physical and legal harm to the people involved. Creating a campus culture of consent and active justice promotes both individual and relational wellness.
Lewis & Clark’s code of conduct defines consent as an affirmative and conscious decision by each participant engaging in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.
Consent must be freely and actively given and cannot be obtained through the use of force, coercion, threats, intimidation, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another individual. Communication about consent consists of mutually understandable words and/or actions that indicate enthusiasm about engaging in sexual activity. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of active response. Any party can withdraw consent at any time. Individuals choosing to engage in sexual activity must evaluate consent in an ongoing manner and communicate clearly throughout all stages of sexual activity. Consent to one form of sexual contact does not constitute consent to all forms of sexual contact and each participant in a sexual encounter must consent to each form of sexual contact with each participant. (link to code of conduct)
Consent is a fundamental component of safe, positive and pleasurable sex.
Intervening in situations that may result in harm to someone can be difficult, but action is an essential part of keeping our community safe. Many times, we don’t have as much information as we think we need to act; we only hear a few sentences in a conversation, or see someone stumble as they try to stand, or maybe, the only information we have is a gut feeling that tells us something is not quite right. Ultimately, when questions about safety arise, it is our responsibility to do something.
We cannot let our uncertainty or awkwardness paralyze our empathy. Whether it is simply observing the situation more closely, asking for help, creating a distraction or taking action that directly disrupts the situation in question, it is our responsibility to protect one another.
Many times, opportunities to intervene are brief, as we often do not notice them until they escalate. The best way to prepare for these situations is to plan ahead.
- Before you leave for a social event, know whom you could talk to or call if you need help.
- Make sure you have emergency and crisis numbers in your phone and that your phone is charged.
- Check in with your friends throughout the evening.
Sometimes, we miss opportunities to help due to our nerves, intoxication, or timing. If this happens, you may want to connect with your friends, an RA, coach, counselor, health promotion staff person or another resource. (link to resources page)
Opportunities To Get Involved
Become a peer facilitator:
Student Facilitators will work with college staff to help plan, facilitate and evaluate workshops that focus on sexual violence prevention by promoting a culture of consent, respect, and community responsibility, as well as advertising resources available both on and off campus for students who may experience sexual violence. This is a paid position.
If you would like more information about how to become an active bystander or want to learn more about how to respond to sexual violence in our community, you can request training for your class, organization, or team. Please contact Melissa Osmond with presentation requests or questions about how to learn more.