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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Risk Reduction

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In Interpersonal Relationships: Respect Each Other 

Remember: You have rights in a relationship. Read more about Dating Relationships, and Sexual Violence.

  • Define, respect, and communicate your own relationship and intimacy boundaries. Enhance assertiveness skills by articulating your opinions and setting boundaries in everyday situations. Don't allow someone to use guilt or pressure you to do something you don't want to do.

  • Respect the boundaries of others. Do not assume desire for affection is the same as desire for intercourse. Body language can be interpreted in different ways: Ask rather than assume. Clarify any questions or doubts you have. Sex is something shared between people, not a goal or trophy of your prowess. Not having sex or not "scoring" does not mean you've been rejected - it means you have respected each others' boundaries. Read "May I Kiss You?: A Candid Look at Dating, Communication, Respect, & Sexual Assault Awareness" by Michael J. Domitrz (Greenfield, WI: Awareness Publications, 2003). Available in the Women's Center library.

  • Date safely and respectfully. Find out about a new date-ask other people. Date with friends to get to know the other person in a more comfortable setting. It's okay to take time to show each other that you are trust-worthy and have a healthy approach to relationships. Take care of yourself-share expenses, meet in public places, and make sure you can get yourself home if you are uncomfortable and choose to end the date. Have enough money to take a taxi home if necessary.

  • Trust your instincts. If you feel pressured, nervous, or unsafe, confront the person or get out of the situation immediately.

  • Be aware that alcohol and other drugs compromise your (and your date's) ability to make responsible decisions. If you choose to do so, drink responsibly. Use a buddy system to keep track of each other's safety at parties. Read more about Sexual Assault, Alcohol, and Other Drugs.

  • Intervene when you see someone insulted, put down, or sexually assaulted. Confront negative situations, including sexist or racist jokes. It may feel difficult, but it is an important part of making our community a better place.

At Home

  • Keep your doors and windows locked.

  • If you are suspicious about a person at your door, on the elevator, or in the hall, take measures to protect yourself. Ask for identification, go to well-lit public spaces around other people you trust. Don't let anyone you don't know well into your home.

  • Never indicate you're alone. Close your curtains or shades at night.

  • Document & report harassing actions and phone calls.

On Campus

  • Familiarize yourself with security services available to you - phones, escort services, and emergency phones.

  • Travel with friends in well-lit spaces.

  • Be careful about giving out your contact and location information to someone you don't know & trust.

  • Take self-defense courses. The MSU Human Performance Department offers HP 130: Self-Defense for Women as a general education course.

  • Check incident reports. Red sheets are posted at the Women's Center bulletin board, online at Personal Safety Alerts and voice-recorded at 507-389-2594.

On the Street


  • Plan ahead what you can do if you are attacked. Wear athletic shoes and clothes you can move comfortably in.

  • Walk confidently, directly, and at a steady pace. Carry a whistle and use it if you feel you are in danger. If you carry other personal safety devices, be sure you know how to use them well. Be aware that these devices can also be taken and used against you.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Stay alert, and don't wear headphones. Travel with friends. If you fear danger, yell "FIRE" rather than "RAPE" or "HELP." People are more likely to respond.

In Your Car

  • Park in safe places. Use campus escort services, keep your car keys locked, have your keys ready to open the door.

  • Driving safety: Keep your car fueled and in good repair. When talking to strangers, crack your window slightly and keep your door locked. If you have mechanical trouble, stay in the car and ask passing motorists to call the Highway Patrol or service station. If you are being followed, go to safe public places.

  • Use a buddy system. Let people know what your plans are, and let them know when you have arrived & returned safely - especially if you are traveling long distances or in unfamiliar places. When dropping someone off, wait until the passengers have safely entered their residents or destination.

For More Information

You can visit RAINN here to learn more about risk-reduction.