Social situations such as parties, bar events, or dates can be dangerous without proper precautions. Many sexual assault survivors suffer this act of violence while spending time with friends or acquaintances, unaware of certain red flags and dangerous behaviors. While sexual assault is never the fault of the survivor, there are important tips you should follow to stay safe in social situations.
Tip #1: Be Safe with Alcohol
If you are going to a party, bar, or other situation where you will be drinking, it is important to be safe and responsible. Keep track of the number of drinks you consume, and do not drink more than your limit.
Always keep your drink in your sight and never allow someone else to bring a drink to you — this can put you at risk of consuming a date rape drug, which can lead to memory loss, weakness, and other terrifying symptoms.
Tip #2: Stay with Your Friends
You should never attend a social event alone or without people you know and trust. Go to the bar or party with your friends, and leave with your friends. Having this support network allows the group to look out for one another and ensure everyone leaves safely. If you feel unsafe, you can alert a member of the group who can provide support and help you avoid a potentially risky situation.
Tip #3: Be Smart with First Dates
First dates can be risky endeavors, especially if you are meeting a stranger for the first time or exploring a relationship with a casual acquaintance. When going on a first date, plan an activity in a busy, well-lit, and public location — preferably during the daytime.
If the other person pressures you to go to a private location or meet at night, this can be a major red flag. Continue to request to meet in a public place, and if your date refuses or continues to pressure you, cancel the date and move on.
Tip #4: Create a Safety Plan
Whether you are on a date or attending a party with a group of friends, creating a safety plan is crucial in emergency situations. Before going out, talk to trusted individuals on how to best stay safe in social situations.
If you are on a date with someone new, instruct a friend to check in on you during pre-specified times during the encounter. If your friend cannot contact you, he or she can call the police for help. In party situations, creating a unique code word or phrase can help you and your friends alert each other in case danger arises.
Tip #5: Get Home Safely
When the night ends, you should always leave a social situation with the people you came with — not alone or with someone you don’t know. Never leave a social situation with a stranger or go to a stranger’s house at the end of a night; you could put yourself at serious risk.
You should also avoid going home alone after drinking, especially if you are relying on a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. Sharing a ride with friends can help you avoid a dangerous situation with the driver, or avoid getting into a vehicle posing as an Uber or Lyft. You should never drive if you have been drinking, or enter a car with a drunk driver.
While these tips may help you stay safe in common social situations, sexual assault can happen at any time. If someone sexually assaults you, it is important to remember that what happened is not your fault — and pathways to justice are available to you. Speak to an Uber sexual assault attorney with experience advocating for survivors as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.