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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Sexual Assault

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Preventing sexual assault focuses on the potential perpetrator, because she or he is the only one that can make the decision to not sexually assault anyone.

Truly preventing sexual assault means sending a clear message to potential perpetrators that it will not be tolerated, downplayed, or joked about, and that we, as a community, will react decisively if it does happen. It means talking about sexual assault and teaching everyone that sexual assault is never okay. It means informing ourselves about the issues and learning what we can do.

Risk reduction focuses on the potential victim. It includes a wide variety of personal safety methods aimed at reducing the risk of being assaulted.

It can be argued that risk reduction measures are unfair, because they restrict freedom about where to go, what to wear, how to act, and what to do. Unfortunately, sexual violence still happens in our community, and as long as our prevention work is unfinished, certain precautions and restrictions may make people feel safer.

Many risk reduction measures may help people feel safer, but it is never the victim's responsibility to prevent sexual assault from happening. It is always the perpetrator's responsibility to not commit sexual violence, and it is our responsibility as a society to send strong, clear messages that we do not tolerate sexual violence.

We should be careful not to judge ourselves or others harshly if they do not do things "by the book." How you choose to handle a situation must be decided according to your own needs and best judgments. It is important to remember that the majority of sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance in a familiar setting, rather than a stranger in a secluded area.