Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is dedicated to learning more about sexual violence, sharing information, bringing together our community, and volunteering/donating in an effort to support sexual assault survivors and change the way our communities respond to sexual violence.
Sexual harassment and violence include sexual blackmail, hostile environment sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Sexual harassment and violence are more prevalent at universities compared to other crimes, with 13 percent of all students experiencing rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation and 5.8 percent of students experiencing stalking since entering college.
There are many psychological, emotional, and physical effects that survivors of sexual assault can experience, such as depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use, sleep and eating disorders, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, self-harm, and suicide.
Being mindful of and asserting your boundaries can be helpful in enhancing safety within interpersonal relationships. Boundaries are rules and limits that you create based on your own values (e.g., respect, love), wants, and needs within relationships. They can help you identify what are the reasonable, safer, and permissible ways for others to behave around you and how you might want to respond if someone crosses your boundaries. Boundaries can help us to practice self-care and self-respect, communicate our needs in relationships, make time/space for positive interactions, and set healthy limits in relationships.
It is also helpful to remember that boundaries are unique to the individual and/or the relationship, and they can change at any point by the setter.
To practice being mindful of yours/others’ boundaries, consider the following tips:
Identify your values, wants/needs, and physical/emotional boundaries within relationships.
Listen to yourself, determine what you need to do/say, then communicate it assertively.
When you identify the need to set a boundary, do it clearly, firmly, and respectfully - this includes respecting yourself.
Do not justify or apologize for the boundary you are setting - you cannot establish a clear boundary if you send mixed messages.
Initially, you might feel selfish, embarrassed, or guilty about setting a boundary, do it anyway and remind yourself you have a right to take care of yourself!
Learning how to set healthy boundaries takes time, practice, and determination.
If you find yourself having any negative reactions in a relationship, this is the opportunity to practice setting a healthy boundary.
Make it a habit to ask others what their boundaries are, share yours, and intentionally practice respecting the boundaries of others and yourself!
For additional information on Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention, please visit the following websites on sexual violence:
If you find yourself in need of additional support, please reach out for help! The Student Counseling Center is here for you! Our center provides a variety of mental health and wellness services to assist you and other students in successfully reaching personal, academic, and career goals. Please take a moment to visit our website to learn more information about our services and support, as well as resources for psychological well-being. Be the healthiest Florida Tech Panther you can be!