Not sure where to begin? Here are some tips to help you approach and reinforce messages that endorse sexual respect.
TALK ABOUT CONSENT.
Consent is often defined through the context of sex but the principles of giving and receiving consent apply to a variety of interpersonal interactions. To better understand the definition and elements of consent, watch “Consent is Like a Cup of Tea” with your student. This video is a simple, funny approach to understanding consent.
NORMALIZE COMMUNICATION ABOUT SEX.
Students often share that they feel awkward in sexual interactions. They struggle with how to communicate what they want in a situation where they are very vulnerable and fear “ruining the moment.” Encourage your student to consider how they can realistically ask for consent and articulate their own boundaries and desires to a partner. It’s also important to talk about how to gracefully respond to rejection. Your conversations could help them understand that communication is a normal, healthy, and integral part of intimacy.
TALK ABOUT CHARACTERISTICS OF HEALTHY AND UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS.
Talk to your student about examples of relationships among the couples you both know, examples from the media, or both. Which examples are healthy? Which ones are harmful? How would they define a relationship? These questions can help them identify signs of healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
For more tips and conversation starters regarding healthy relationships, refer to:
The Talk: How Adults Can Promote Young People’s Healthy Relationships and Prevent Misogyny and Sexual Harassment²
TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MEMBER OF THE TULANE COMMUNITY.
Our university motto is “Not for one’s self but for one’s own.” This means that Tulane expects our community members to look out for one another. How can this principle apply to a risky situation that could potentially lead to a sexual assault? Talk with your student about how to be an active bystander:
- Intervene directly.
If you notice someone else is being harmed or at risk of being harmed, you can directly intervene with the parties involved.
- Create a distraction.
You can create a distraction to provide an opportunity for the potential victim to get away or to diffuse the harmful situation. The goal of distraction is to interrupt the harmful behavior, not necessarily to confront the behavior.
- Ask for help.
Get a friend to intervene, call TUPD, or involve someone who can interrupt the situation.
Encourage your student to attend a One Wave bystander intervention training that provides practical skills in identifying high risk situations and diffusing harm safely. To learn more, visit campushealth.tulane.edu/onewave.
TALK ABOUT THE COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ALCOHOL AND SEX.
While alcohol and drug use do not cause or excuse sexual assault or make an assault the victim’s fault, these substances increase the risk for perpetration and victimization. Intoxication inhibits people’s ability to communicate their wants and boundaries as well as interpret that of others. Research also suggests that perpetrators are more likely to target individuals who are intoxicated.
74% of women and 87% of men who experienced sexual assault* reported they were incapacitated by alcohol at the time of assault.²
*Defined broadly as nonconsensual sexual activity, including unwanted sexual contact, attempted rape, and rape.
Prior to New Student Orientation educational programs, all first-year students complete two online programs, Alcohol-Wise and Consent & Respect. These programs aim to reduce the risk of drug and alcohol misuse and abuse, and sexual violence among students. Ask your student what they learned from these programs and use them as an opportunity to talk about the complexities of substance use, sex, and consent.
TELL THEM YOU CARE AND TALK THROUGH THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE.
Let your student know that sexual violence is never the fault of the victim and reassure them that they can expect support from you and others should they ever be impacted by sexual violence. 23% of Tulane undergraduate male victims and 42% of undergraduate female victims (of sexual assault, harassment by faculty, stalking or dating violence) told someone about the incident;Less than 2% of male victims and 18% of female victims told their parents.¹
Review with your student the response resources listed on the next page. Make sure they know where to turn if they need support for themselves or a friend.