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What are some tips for discussing sexual assault with my child in college?

When discussing sexual assault with your child in college, here are some topics you may want to touch on:

  • Make sure both girls and boys understand what "consent" means.
  • Discuss campus safety options, like safe rides or escorts, emergency phones and crime reporting procedures.
  • Talk about campus medical and mental health services and the university staff that may be available to help, from resident advisors and student deans to campus police.
  • Provide information about national hotlines that offer help with things like physical or substance abuse or anxiety and depression.
  • Talk about how sexual assaults most often occur between people who know each other. Discuss what your child can do to be safe in social and dating situations.
  • Rather than telling your teens not to go to parties or drink or do drugs, discuss the potential consequences of those actions. Talk about what they can do to avoid being vulnerable, like never leaving a drink unwatched and having a buddy system to make sure they get home safely.
  • Emphasize that if something does occur, it is never the victim's fault. Tell them they can always come to you when they need help or feel uncomfortable about a situation involving them or someone they know.

And remind them to always trust their gut.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.