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University of New Mexico Police and Security

University of New Mexico Police and Security

 
April 2019 STOMP
Safety Topic of the Month
Sexual Assault Awareness

Every semester we cover Sexual Assault Awareness because it is a constantly changing topic. Talking about what happens on our campus can help prevent the same thing from happening to you or someone around you. Awareness is prevention.

Traditionally, people meet first and got to know each other second. In cyber-space, you get to know them before you meet them.

The use of Social Media has become more commonly involved in sexual assaults. Why? Because you communicate over messages and photos. When you finally meet in person, you may have a false sense of security because you think you know this person. But expectations don’t always match when you meet. You feel bold talking about sex and sharing sexually explicit photos, but it is different communicating in person and presenting boundaries when you didn’t need to on social media. Also, you can’t read that person’s body language when you communicate over social media. Now you have another complication. Taking cues from a person’s body language is an important part of communication. Most people don’t take the time to figure it out and problems follow because of that.

What do you need to know when you have met a person on social media, have a romantic interest, and now you want to meet them in person?

      




1.     Take the time to get to know them. Even though you think you know them already, treat that first meeting like a first date. If the other person is obviously treating it as a continuation of your cyber relationship, you need to talk about that and set boundaries.

2.     Sharing your sexuality in person may be a lot more uncomfortable to you than when you were connecting virtually. This is often the case, so admitting and communicating this to that person is important. If they pressure you in continuing to pursue your virtual relationship immediately when you are wanting a deeper connection, take caution.

3.     Make a friend aware of where you’re going and who you will be with. Knowing you can text that person and they can help you if necessary provides a layer of safety. You could have a safe word that would alert them that you need an out.

4.     Don’t have your first meeting alone. Go to a public place for that first meeting. Somewhere you can talk and get to know each other. Or meet with a few friends.

5.     As an additional layer of protection, have your Lobo Guardian App on your phone. The emergency button is geo located, which may be important if you don’t know exactly where you are.

6.     You may want to research that person on other social media sites. This could put you at ease if their casual interactions with others is consistent with your impression of that person. Or it could raise some red flags if they are not. 



 
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