Safety and You at ISU
Brought to you by ISU Public Safety and the ISU Safety Committee March, 2005
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Consent Is Sexy!
Sexual consent means you have a clear “yes, this is OK with me” for every step during the course of any sexual activity.
Imagine the scenario after a sexual assault occurs. “No means no” blames the victim because one of the first questions that people ask is “Why didn’t you say no?” This might make people feel that they weren’t violated if they didn’t protest strongly enough. “Yes means yes” puts the responsibility back to the perpetrator. Now the question becomes “Did you have active consent before doing anything?”
Men are often expected to never refuse sex just as women are often taught not to initiate sex. However, one’s decision whether or not to engage in sexual activity is not based on gender. Being male or being female does not mean anything about how you want to be with someone else. This is based on experience, emotion, values, beliefs, and your personality. Don’t limit yourself by the limitations of strict gender roles. Be who you want to be, be real, be whole, be yourself.
Communication is sexy if you make it that way. It happens in all parts of a relationship. For couples, get to know each other. Find out what you like and dislike, what you have in common, what is different. Take time to learn about each other’s hopes, fears, desires, wishes, and dreams. Make sex part of this conversation. What do you want? What are your limits? What excites you? How fast or slow do you want to go? What role does physical/sexual intimacy have in a relationship? Ask, talk, listen.
Sometimes, people are engaging in sexual behaviors with a person they have been with for years and sometimes it’s with a person they’ve been with for hours. Either way, communication is the key! Consent means asking and receiving expressed permission, so make it sexy and say it with passion.
Consent cannot be given if one person or both people are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Without consent, the sexual activity is legally considered sexual assault or rape.
Manage The Stress
Stressed out? You are not alone. We all experience some level of stress each day. While short-lived or infrequent periods of stress pose little risk, stressful situations left unresolved can be harmful, affecting your physical and psychological well-being.
The impact of stress is often felt first through warning signs such as mood and sleep disturbances, upset stomach, headaches and disturbed relationships with family and friends. In an attempt to manage stress, many people resort to negative reactions such as drug or alcohol abuse, smoking, overeating, etc.
A more positive approach involves taking necessary steps to recognize, reduce and cope with personal stress.
Effectively Manage the Stress in Your Life. Consider the following:
- Determine your personal stressors. Stress is triggered by different events and issues in our lives. Think about what stresses you most. Once you’ve determined the source of the stress, you can map out plans to either avoid it, change your perception of it, or learn coping mechanisms to deal with it.
If you can’t remove the cause of your stress:
- Start talking. Learn to express your feelings when you are under stress. It will give you the opportunity to define your thoughts, as well as help you realize that you don’t have to face your problems alone.
- Get moving. Studies show that exercise reduces stress. It distracts you from the source of your stress and helps eliminate excess energy. Exercise also makes you feel stronger and more capable of handling challenges.
- Control your diet and sleep habits. When under stress, make a special effort to eat a balanced and nutritious diet and get a good night’s sleep. You’ll have more energy and better mental focus to perform and cope with stressful situations.
- Develop coping skills. To cope well with stress requires that you recognize the source of stress, have a plan, and take control. Break down each problem into smaller pieces to make them less overwhelming. You’ll then be able to figure out options to better handle the situation.
- Widen your scope. Volunteer your time and services—doing something for others can help you forget about your own problems and increase your self-esteem.
- Seek therapy. There’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help. Therapy can help you better cope and handle conflict, manage anger, communicate with other people, and resolve some of the problems that are causing you stress.
- Live happily ever after. The best advice for dealing with stress is to step back and place it in its proper place. In the grand scheme of things, how serious or important is the situation? Nobody is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Show everyone—including yourself—some compassion.
(excerpt from the Utah Safety Council)
Answer the Call to Safety-Not Your Cell Phone
Nearly everywhere you look, you can find someone using a cell phone while driving. Many people don’t give a second thought to driving with one hand on the wheel and one hand holding their cell phone. Chicago is just one of the latest cities to issue a ban on hand held cellular phone use while driving, and the trend appears to be on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of drivers using cell phones at any point in time during daylight hours has increased from 6% in 2002 to 8% in 2004 (or 1.2 million drivers).
Due to the controversial nature of driver cell phone use, several research studies have been conducted to understand its effects on driving safety. According to a study done by Finnish traffic and safety experts Poysti, Rajalin and Summalal, cell phone use affects drivers in the following ways:
- Delays reaction time
- Impairs stopping decisions
- Decreases lane control
- Lessens the amount of time spent examining instruments and mirrors
Laws permitting only hands-free cell phone use are not the best solution. Research has shown no significant difference between hand held and hands-free cell phone use on driver performance. The fact that you don’t have to hold the phone to your ear may actually increase the length of phone conversations on the road, placing drivers at risk for longer periods of time.
Although the technology is there and it is convenient that does not mean we should utilize it when lives are at stake. The solution is simple; the best practice is NOT to talk on a cell phone and drive.
Every day millions of people wake up, go to work, take kids to school, farm their lands or go to ball games. However, every so often the unexpected happens: an earthquake, a fire, a chemical spill or more recently, a hurricane.
You should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area, earthquakes, lightning, extreme cold or flooding. You should also be prepared to be self-sufficient for three days. This may mean providing your own shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation.
There are six basic items to include in any size emergency kit:
- Food: Ready to eat or requiring minimal water
- Tools and emergency supplies (flashlight, radio, etc.)
- First aid supplies and medications
- Clothing and bedding
- Water—one gallon per person per day
- Special needs items like medications, diapers, formula, etc.
You should have emergency kits for:
- Place of business
- Child bedside backpack
- Baby diaper bag refilled
- House pets
- Picnics and Camping, etc.
Create emergency kits and store in any type of containers. Containers with wheels are great for larger kits. Garbage cans, foot lockers, plastic boxes, even a pillow case will work to roll up emergency supplies in.
(Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Services & Homeland Security)