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Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign begins this week

Students in residence halls, academic buildings and on Court Street are sure to notice some provocative posters bearing the following phrases:

"I thought it was OK to leave together ... even though we just met."

"I drank too much . . . and never thought I would do that."

"I didn't hear "yes". . . and should have stopped."'

Below the phrases are tips to being smart, civil and safe when it comes to preventing sexual assault, either as a victim or a potential perpetrator. Posters also remind students that sexual assault is a crime and that victims should call 911 or the Survivor Advocacy Program at 740-597-SAFE (7233).

The campaign kicks off during the national Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month, and is designed to bring attention to the fact that sexual assault is a crime -- as well as a crime of opportunity.

"Many sexual assaults are crimes of opportunity, which is to say, the perpetrator takes advantage of a vulnerable victim, such as someone walking alone or impaired by drugs or alcohol," said Andrew Powers, Ohio University police chief.

Powers added that the majority of sexual assaults reported involve students who are at least acquaintances, which is why he says it is important not to be too trusting of someone you have only recently met or don't know very well.

Ryan Lombardi, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, added that the campaign also aims to bring awareness to the students' role in personal responsibility.

"It is absolutely imperative that consent is obtained before any type of intimate contact is initiated. It comes down to students communicating with their partner to ensure they both have the same intent with the direction of the relationship," said Lombardi.

The posters will be displayed in all residence halls and academic buildings, as well as in Baker University Center. Businesses along campus-area streets will be asked to display one or all three of the posters that continue the Be Safe, Be Civil and Be Smart theme that debuted last year around fest season.

New Survivor Advocacy Program Coordinator Brenda Strickland commented on the importance of the campaign. 

"Now is the time to take a stand and stop violence," Strickland said. "Everyone needs to make it a safe campus for all."