Sexual Misconduct: Prevention and Recovery
The following information will be helpful to all Haverford College students as they confront issues of sexual assault:
- It is never acceptable to use force in sexual situations, no matter what the circumstances.
- Sexual assault can happen between persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity.
- If a person says “no” to sexual contact, believe them and stop!
- Communicate your limits firmly and directly. Back up your words with a firm tone of voice and clear body language.
- Don’t make any assumptions about a person’s behavior.
- Don’t automatically assume that someone wants to have sex just because he or she drinks heavily, dresses in a certain way, or agrees to go back to your room. Don’t assume that because a person has had sexual contact with you previously that he or she is willing to or will consent to having sex with you again.
- Everyone should be especially careful in situations involving the use of alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol and other drugs can interfere with one’s ability to assess situations and to communicate effectively.
- All students should beware that having sexual contact with someone who is mentally incapable of giving consent is sexual assault. If you have sex with a person who is drugged, intoxicated, “sleeping” or passed out, incapable of saying “yes” or “no” or unaware what is happening to them, then you may be guilty of sexual assault.
- Please be especially careful in group situations. Be prepared to resist pressure from friends to participate in violent or criminal activities.
- Please get involved if you believe that someone else may be at risk for assault. If you see a person “in trouble” at a party or another person using force or coercion do not be afraid to ask questions and or intervene. You may save someone from the trauma of sexual assault and or from the ordeal of criminal prosecution.
- If you feel uncomfortable or think you may be at risk, leave the situation immediately and go to a safe place.
- Don’t be afraid to “make waves” if you feel threatened. If you feel you are being pressured or coerced into sexual activity against your will, don’t hesitate to state your feelings in order to get out of the situation. Better a few minutes of social awkwardness and embarrassment than the trauma of sexual assault.
- Voluntary consent cannot be given if a person is intoxicated or impaired. (Alcohol is a factor in a very high percentage of sexual assaults)
Coping with long-term effects
Sometimes months or even years after an assault, survivors re-experience feelings they had immediately following the attack. Talking to someone - be it a friend, clergy, crisis hotline or counselor can be a helpful way to work through fears and feelings. Whether you (or a friend) were sexually assaulted recently or sometime in the past, you do not have to deal with these feelings alone. There are many resources on campus and in the surrounding community that can help you get your life back on track and begin the healing process.