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8 Ways You Can Help Stop Sexual Assault

Think you see something shady? Here's how to intervene safely.

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1. Trust your gut.

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You know if something seems off. By intervening, you could make a big difference in someone's life.

That being said, stepping in can make all the difference, but it should never put your own safety at risk! Intervene in a way that fits the situation and your comfort level.

2. Talk to the person you think is in trouble, not the person who may be a rapist.

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It's less confrontational and also helps the possible victim know that they have someone on their side. Start a casual conversation and, if it seems like they need to be removed from the situation, bring them with you to get some food or water or go anywhere else.

3. Get your friends involved.

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Let them know what you're doing and have them bolster you by talking to the potential victim or creating a "safety cocoon," by circling around you and the potential victim so that the possible rapist is excluded.

4. If the possible rapist tries to follow you or protest, stay firm.

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"No" is a complete sentence, but if they don't listen to that, the following phrases can also work:

* "No, we're going to go hang out on our own."

* "No, go have a good night. I've got this."

* "Please leave us alone."

5. If you see something, say something.

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Don't keep quiet about assault or violent behavior. Tell professors, tell campus police, tell the Dean of Students or the campus health center — make sure that a rapist does not have a place to hide because of you.

6. If someone you know starts talking about sexual assault in a way that makes you feel gross, challenge it.

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It's pretty awesome how easily a simple sentence like "what a horrible thing to say" can open up a conversation. Be firm about what is and isn't rape or what is and isn't an acceptable way to talk about it.

7. Believe survivors when they tell you about their experiences.

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Coming forward about assault can be extremely difficult, and society is hardwired not to believe survivors when they come forward. Honor the trust this person is showing you by believing them.

8. Tell survivors it's not their fault.

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No one is ever "asking for it." Even if a survivor knows that it's not their fault, hearing that validation from someone they trust can be vital.

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