Promoting campus safety and community
There are many steps that individuals can take to promote safety and security on campus, both their own and others. Risk reduction tips are often presented in a tone that can be victim-blaming, even unintentionally. Remember, you are never to blame for a crime that was committed against you. Nonetheless, it is important to provide the following information to help reduce the risk of crime, including sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. These tips are not intended to replace common wisdom. All Knights are encouraged to trust your gut – if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
- Students and employees should seek out opportunities to learn more about healthy relationships.
- This includes learning about and applying the principles of affirmative consent.
- And it’s not just about sex – students should work on building empathy, compassion, and consent to contact in all of their interactions.
- Recognize the warning signs that a relationship is becoming unhealthy and take steps to re-establish healthy boundaries.
- If a relationship becomes abusive, seek resources and support to safely exit the relationship.
- Students and employees should understand the university’s expectations regarding sexual assault, relationship violence, domestic and dating violence, and stalking.
- Empower yourself and others to recognize the warning signs of sexual and interpersonal violence.
- Mobilize individuals of all genders as allies in prevention efforts.
- Create and support safe environments by calling out issues or problems in your environment.
- Ensure that everyone has given affirmative consent prior to a sexual encounter.
- Consent is required before engaging in any form of sexual contact or intercourse. Affirmative consent, as defined by UCF, requires affirmative words or actions that indicate a willingness to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity, and which must be voluntary and informed.
- Consent can be withdrawn at any time, for any or no reason. The withdrawal of consent must be clearly communicated.
- Consent to past sexual activity does not imply consent to future sexual activity.
- It is the responsibility of the initiator of the sexual contact to ensure that consent has been given.
- Do not engage in sexual contact if your partner is incapacitated.
- If someone is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, they cannot consent to sexual activity.
- The potential initiator must look for the common and obvious warning signs that show that a person may be incapacitated or approaching incapacitation. Although every individual may manifest signs of incapacitation differently, evidence of incapacity may be detected from context clues, such as:
- Slurred or incomprehensible speech;
- Bloodshot eyes;
- The smell of alcohol on their breath;
- Shaky equilibrium or unsteady gait;
- Combativeness or emotional volatility;
- Unusual behavior; and/or
- Be an active bystander.
- If you see something that shouldn’t be happening, you can take personal responsibility to address the issue.
- Learn how to help by attending a Green Dot Bystander Intervention workshop.
- Use the 3 D’s of bystander intervention: Direct, Delegate, and/or Distract.
- Familiarize yourself with campus and local resources.
- You can use these resources not just for yourself, but for someone who may need them if an incident occurs.
- Know the confidential resources on campus: Victim Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Services, and the University Ombuds can all provide confidential consultation and assistance in locating additional resources and navigating options.
- Increase your sense of safety and empowerment by creating a safety plan, which may include some or all of the following:
- Walk in groups or pairs when you are out, particularly at night.
- Consider carrying basic safety equipment, such as a flashlight, whistle, pepper spray, and/or cell phone when you go out.
- Program the UCF Police nonemergency phone number (407-823-5555) into your phone.
- Pay attention to the nearest blue light phones to your location. These phones are yellow boxes with red buttons and a blue light which can connect you directly to UCF Police dispatchers.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times and know where you are (just in case you need to describe your location to a friend or emergency dispatcher).
- Also, avoid distractions, such as listening to loud music on your earbuds, to help you stay aware of your surroundings.
- If you are going out to a location you are unfamiliar with, let one or more trusted friends know where you are going, who you are going with, and when to expect you back.
- If you have concerns about your safety or the safety of someone else, call for help. Even if you have been drinking or using drugs, don’t worry about getting in trouble – it is more important to make sure you and others are safe.
- Have the phone numbers of trusted friends or family members programmed into your speed dial. This way, you can contact them quickly.
- Know your own boundaries and communicate them.
- You can set boundaries around your emotional energy, time, personal space, sexuality, morals or ethics, material possessions, finances, social media, and other personal things.
- Boundaries can be set with friends, family, romantic or intimate partners, coworkers, and even strangers.
- Boundaries allow you to clearly communicate your needs and wants. protect yourself from getting taken advantage of, maintain a sense of autonomy and individuality, promote self-esteem and self-respect, and allow you to take care of your own problems and understand that you cannot heal other people’s issues for them. 
- It is equally important to abide by others’ boundaries and respect others’ right to communicate their boundaries.
- Here are some strategies to set healthy and effective boundaries:
- Visualize your boundaries: You can take time to reflect on your boundaries, write them down, and visualize how you might respond if someone crossed a boundary with you.
- Openly communicate your boundaries with others: Practice phrases that promote healthy boundaries.
- Reiterate and uphold your boundaries: It’s possible that people may not understand your boundaries the first time they hear them. If someone does not abide by your boundaries, do not hesitate to reiterate them. Be firm and consistent. Don’t shift your boundaries to make others more comfortable.
- Don’t be afraid to say “no.” Sometimes saying “no” can be hard. A firm but polite “no” does not require an explanation or an apology – it is a healthy way to set a clear boundary.
- Take time for you. When we pour all our energy into doing things for others, we have little left to take care of our own needs, including nurturing healthy boundaries. Set aside time to take care of yourself and engage in activities that reinforce your health and wellbeing.
- When it comes to sex, learn to be more comfortable talking about what you are and are not into. Sexual boundaries can be some of the most challenging to communicate since most of us are not taught how to really understand our sexual needs, let alone sexual boundaries. Remember, your body is your own – practice giving and receiving consent, expressing your preferences and desires, and communicating your needs. All people of all genders need to respect each other’s sexual boundaries, and this means clearly communicating.
- Know your boundaries with drugs or alcohol, too.
- Alcohol and drugs can influence a person’s normal pattern of behavior and impair their judgment. They may not act like themselves or may do things that they would not otherwise do. Remember, if someone is incapacitated, they cannot consent to sexual activity.
- Don’t leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you’ve left your drink alone, just get a new one. Rape-facilitating drugs are tasteless, colorless, and odorless. Until the effects are well under way, victims may not know that they have ingested drugs.
- Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust. If you choose to accept a drink, go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself. At parties, don’t drink from the punch bowls or other large, common open containers.
- Just because others may be drinking or doing drugs, does not mean that you have to as well. You get to decide what goes in your body.
- Watch out for your friends, and vice versa. If a friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they’ve had, seem to be having a bad reaction to drugs, or is acting out of character, get them to a safe place immediately.
- If you believe that you or someone you know may be struggling with drug or alcohol dependency or addiction, you can contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or TTY 1-800-487-4889.This service can provide help for mental health and substance use disorders, prevention, and recovery. This is a free, 24-hour, confidential treatment referral and information service (English & Spanish). You can also contact UCF Student Health Services at 407-823-2701.
- Recognize the warning signs of someone who may be in trouble, then offer help.
- Warning signs include:
- Problems going to school or work, particularly if they have never had a problem with that before,
- Lacking interest in activities that they used to find enjoyable,
- Suddenly requesting a change in schedule or cancelling plans,
- Unexplained changes in behavior or academic performance,
- Noticeable changes in weight, demeanor, or physical appearance,
- Isolation from former friends or loved ones,
- Little social contact with anyone but their dating partner,
- Unexplained bruises or injuries,
- Making excuses or apologizing for their dating partner’s inappropriate behavior,
- Acting out in odd or unfamiliar ways, or
- Seeing someone’s partner name-call or belittle them.
- If you see any of these warning signs, reach out to a trusted resource for assistance.
- Warning signs include:
- If you or someone you know may be experiencing Prohibited Conduct, tell someone. Let friends, family, university personnel, employers, and the police know about your situation. Seek out campus and community resources and support.
 LoveisRespect.org. Healthy relationship Toolkit.
 Between Us. Healthy vs. unhealthy boundaries.
 Science of People. How to set boundaries: 5 ways to draw the line politely.