This Monday, April 17th, marks the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Week (SAAW) on Cornell’s campus. Sexual assault is a widespread issue in general, but it is especially a cause for concern on college campuses. Whether or not you realize it, it’s highly likely that you know someone who has been affected by it. In support of Sexual Assault Awareness Week, we hope that by encouraging the following actions, we will be able to help create a safer campus for everyone at Cornell.

1Know the facts.

Sexual assault affects more people than you likely realize. Roughly one in five women and one in sixteen men will be the targets of sexual assault in college. It’s important to realize that these aren’t just statistics — they’re real people, and they’re people that you know.


2Know your resources.

 Make yourself aware of the resources available to you and others. Preventative resources include those such as the Blue Light System and the Blue Light Escort Service (607.255.7373), and the Big Red Shuttle. There are also confidential counseling resources such as CAPS and Let’s Talk available. And know that this list is not exhaustive; you can learn more about the other services Cornell offers at


3Understand what constitutes consent.

Just because there isn’t a “no” doesn’t mean there’s a “yes.” New York has been an affirmative consent state since July of 2015, when Governor Cuomo signed his “Enough is Enough” legislation into law. The law has been instrumental in the effort to combat sexual assault on college campuses across the state.


4Establish a codeword amongst your friends.

Some bars have taken the initiative to provide codewords for their customers to use if they ever feel trapped in an uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situation. You can take similar steps with your friends by establishing a codeword that will allow for you to discreetly let your friends know you need their help.


5Be an active bystander.

As the saying goes, if you see something, say something. Groups such as Cornell Consent Ed and Cayuga’s Watchers exist to help teach students learn how to be active bystanders, and intervene in situations where individuals might be at risk. Whether you know the parties involved or not, don’t be afraid to step up and intervene when a situation doesn’t feel right.


6Take advantage of technology.

A variety of apps exist that can help to make your nights out feel a bit safer. Apps such as Circle of 6, Guardly, and bSafe will allow for you to quickly alert friends that you may be in trouble and need their assistance.


7Attend this week’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week events.

Throughout the week there will be various panels, presentations, and other events taking place concerning the topic of sexual assault. What are the contributing factors? Who is most at risk? How do we work to fight it? These events will help to shed light on these issues for the Cornell community-at-large. Learn more at SAAW’s website and keep up with the events on Facebook.