Preventing Sexual Violence

Everyone can make a difference in preventing sexual violence on campus. Resources are available for students, faculty and staff.

What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is any sexual activity in which consent is not obtained or freely given. It doesn’t matter if you know the person or not — they could be someone you’re in a relationship with, a friend, a classmate, someone in your residence hall or a stranger.

Types of sexual violence include:

  • Dating violence
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Sexual harassment
  • Threats
  • Rape
  • Relationship violence
  • Stalking
  • Unwanted touching

What Is Consent?

A critical part of every healthy sexual experience is consent. You should always make sure that any sexual activity is consensual. Just because you don’t say “no” does not mean “yes.”

Consent is a knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions provide clear permission about a person’s willingness to engage in the sexual activity.

  • Just because someone is silent or doesn’t resist does not mean that they consent to the activity
  • Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force or threat of harm
  • Consent cannot be given when someone is incapacitated

When Do You Need Consent?

You need consent every time, with everyone.

  • Consent doesn’t vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression
  • Just because someone consented to one sexual act (including previous sexual activity with anyone) doesn’t mean they consent to another sexual act
  • If the person initiating the act is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, you still need their consent
  • Even if someone gives consent initially, they can withdraw it at any time

When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

Using Alcohol or Other Drugs?

If someone hurts you or takes advantage of you when you’re vulnerable due to using alcohol or other drugs, it’s not your fault. When you’re under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, you may not have the capacity to give consent to sexual activity.

Sex is better sober. Avoid alcohol and other drugs for a better, safer sexual experience.

How You Can Help Prevent Sexual Violence

State Your Desires Clearly

Does your partner know what you want? Do you know what your partner wants? Sexual activity should always be consensual, and should only include what both of you want to do. If you aren’t comfortable talking about what you want sexually from your partner, you may not be ready for sexual activity with them.

Be clear about what you want, listen to your partner, and ask when the situation is unclear.

Be an Active Bystander

Interrupting “locker room talk” and other patterns of casual disrespect can change people’s attitudes and behavior, and even help prevent future sexual violence. You wouldn’t tolerate someone committing sexual violence — and you shouldn’t tolerate them talking about it, either.

Help Someone If They’re In Danger

  • If you see someone who may be in a dangerous situation, help them (if you can do it safely) or get help from others
  • If someone is incapacitated, help them get to a safe place

Speak Up When You See or Hear:

  • Disrespectful language and behavior from others
  • Any form of prejudice, including sexism, racism and homophobia
  • Attitudes and behaviors that degrade people, treat others as inferior or promote sexual violence

It can be awkward to confront your friends if they’re being disrespectful. But having a difficult conversation with them can make a real difference in their attitudes and actions.

Get Involved

Join a sexual violence prevention group, go to a sexual violence prevention event on campus, or take a workshop that will teach you how to help prevent sexual violence.

Resources for Faculty and Staff

The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion provides guidance for helping students who are victims of sexual assault.

We also encourage you to attend educational workshops and programs related to sexual violence prevention, and request a workshop for your class or group, if appropriate.

Survivor of an Unwanted Sexual Experience?

If you or someone you know needs support dealing with the emotional, physical or legal challenges of surviving a sexual assault or other unwanted sexual experience, we can help you.

Need Help?

On-campus emergencies and crime prevention, 24/7

Bissell Hall, North Campus

Phone: (716) 645-2227; Emergencies: (716) 645-2222

A confidential resource who can help you with every step that you decide to take

On-Campus Advocate

Phone: (716) 796-4399

Student conduct rules and regulations, and campus-wide student support

University at Buffalo
9 Norton Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260

Phone: (716) 645-6154; Fax: (716) 645-3376

Someone to talk to for mental health issues

University at Buffalo
120 Richmond Quadrangle, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14261

Phone: (716) 645-2720; Fax: (716) 645-2175

University at Buffalo
202 Michael Hall, South Campus
Buffalo, NY 14214

Phone: (716) 829-5800

Primary, non-emergency medical care

Health Services

Student Life

University at Buffalo
Michael Hall, 3435 Main Street, South Campus
Buffalo, NY 14214

Phone: (716) 829-3316; Fax: (716) 829-2564

Preventative health and wellness education

Health Promotion

Student Life

University at Buffalo
114 Student Union, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260

Phone: (716) 645-2837; Fax: (716) 645-6234

Support for matters including discrimination and harassment

406 Capen Hall, North Campus

Phone: (716) 645-2266

Additional Resources

Sexual Assault

Crisis Text Line

Need to talk? The Crisis Text Line provides 24-hour support for people experiencing a mental health or situational crisis. Users are connected to a trained Crisis Counselor, who will help them develop a plan to stay safe. Messages are confidential, anonymous and secure. Data usage while texting the Crisis Text Line is free and the number will not appear on a phone bill. Text: “GOT5” to 741-741

Violence Prevention