April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (#SAAPM).
That’s why this month, RAINN, a partner of TheHopeLine, is highlighting the important role that friends play in keeping each other safe. It’s about stepping up and showing you “C.A.R.E.” You have the ability to make a difference by intervening in a way that fits the situation and your comfort level.
If you find yourself in a situation where someone looks uncomfortable or something doesn’t seem right, consider one of the following ways to step in:
- Create a distraction.Do what you can to interrupt the situation. A distraction can give the person at risk a chance to get to a safe place.
- Ask directly. If you see someone who looks uncomfortable or is at risk, intervene and talk to the person who might be in trouble. If you feel safe, find a way to de-escalate the situation and separate all parties involved.
- Refer to an authority. Keeping your friends safe doesn’t have to fall entirely on you alone. Sometimes the safest way to intervene is to refer to a neutral party with the authority to change the situation, like a college resident advisor or security guard.
- Enlist others. It can be intimidating to approach a situation alone. Enlist another person to support you. There is safety in numbers.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org.