UC Davis Sex Assault Prevention Class: Don’t Assault People

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DAVIS -- A UC Davis sexual assault prevention class is addressing the campus' standard of affirmative consent by teaching students how not to assault someone.

"I've had experiences like that from a very young age, where it's like, 'You are so taking advantage of me,' and I can't find my voice to say I'm not comfortable with this," Emma Simpson said.

Simpson said she recently took the mandatory one-hour long sexual assault prevention class at UC Davis and thought the approach to the subject was refreshing because it shifted the language and focus away from victim blaming and addressed the behavior of potential attackers.

Simpson took a photo of one the slides on a presentation that had several guidelines, reading:

"Don't put drugs in people's drinks or try to get them really drunk in order to have sex with them"

"When you see someone walking by themselves, don't assault them"

"Use the buddy system! If you're not able to stop yourself from assaulting someone, ask a friend to stay with you while you're in public"

"Don't forget, you' can't have sex with someone unless they are conscious"

Simpson said the instructor prefaced the conversation by talking about how discussions about sexual assault can tend to blame victims, and then asking them what if our discussions focused on those committing sexual assaults.

"So for the presentation to be, 'don't put drugs in people's drinks.' What a concept! I loved how sarcastic it was cause it's like blatantly obvious, like don't harm people," Simpson said.

UC Davis Spokesperson Andy Fell said those bullet points were part of the hour long presentation which also addressed how to reduce risk factors of being sexually assaulted, and how to help someone in trouble if you are a bystander to a potential sexual assault.

"I think it's important to confront that kind of  thinking head on. It's not just about blaming victims, it's not just about you were dressing a certain way. The blame lies with the person who committed the assault and people need to be very clear about that," Fell said.

Fell added that since the university is obligated to investigate and discipline sexual assaults related to campus, it also has an obligation to educate students about what potentially constitutes sexual assault.

"Most of the students understand that but some don't. And this is new territory for people to explore," Fell said.

Fell said if student's incoming freshmen and transfer students at UC Davis do not complete the sexual assault prevention class within six weeks before their classes begin, they have a hold placed on their registration.