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How to Prevent Red Dots on Campus

On college campuses “red dots” are events where a sexual assault or an unsafe event has happened. On the other hand, green dots are instances when someone steps in and stops something from happening. This is a campaign based on promoting active bystanders in dangerous situations and educating students about sexual assault. Here are some tips on preventing red dots in your community or on your campus.

  1. Step In

If you see a situation may become violent or may not be consensual don’t be afraid to step in unless you are in immediate danger. A couple seconds of awkward conversation is better than letting someone go through a trauma that could negatively impact their entire life.

2. Delegate

If you do not feel like you can step in, talk to one of their friends or ask a more direct friend to intervene. If you feel like you cannot be direct that is fine, but you can still help by telling someone else.

3. Distract

This could mean asking if they want to go to the bathroom or dancing to check in and see if they’re okay. This is a subtle way to talk to someone if you think they are in a bad position.

4. Don’t Let Anyone Walk Home Alone

If someone is walking home alone or stumbling, make sure you talk to them and ask if they want someone to walk them home. Many college campuses have safe walk resources that go until 1 or 2 am that make sure students get home safely. If you see someone walking home or stumbling, talk to them and walk them home if you can or call safe walk if you can’t.

5. Call the Police

This is difficult because calling the police can be a serious issue for many students. If someone has reached a point of intoxication where they are unresponsive and throwing up you should contact their parents or the police. Even though they may get in a little trouble that is better than having your friend not wake up. If someone has been assaulted ask them if they want you to call the police. The police could be a valuable resource to help create a case if it goes to trial.

6. Stick With Your Friend

If your friend is not comfortable with going to the police, rape crisis centers and hospitals who have Sexual Assault Nurse or Forensic Examiners can be a valuable resource. Getting a forensic exam can help get evidence but can also be an invasive procedure. Make sure there is a trained nurse and a survivor advocate in the room, be there for your friend and say “I believe you” or ask if they need you to do anything for them.

In order to make a difference and prevent red dots on campus be an active bystander and promote the idea of helping others. Preventing one red dot could change a person’s entire life. Know the difference between confidential and mandatory reporting resources and find phone numbers for trauma centers and mental health resources. Do your best to create a green dots and share these ideas with people around you to help eliminate all of the red dots and make a positive impact on your community.

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