Things You Can Discuss with Your Student

What should I tell my student about drug-facilitated sexual assault (date rape drugs)?

Alcohol is the #1 drug used by perpetrators of sexual violence.

Alcohol may make it difficult to clearly evaluate a potentially dangerous situation and to resist a sexual assault. Perpetrators of sexual violence know this and often use alcohol as a way to disable their targets.  It can be helpful to talk to your student about low risk choices around alcohol including noticing if someone is giving them a lot to drink, which could be an attempt to lower their inhibitions.  Sexual assault is typically premeditated and alcohol can be used to exert power over a potential victim.  However, alcohol consumption does not cause sexual assault, and sexual assault is never the survivor’s fault.

The Presence of Other Drugs

In addition to alcohol, students should be aware that drugs that are used to incapacitate are present on college campuses and in society in general. They can be colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Signs that one might have been drugged include:

  • Feeling more intoxicated than usual when drinking the same amount.
  • Waking up feeling especially hung over and being unable to account for periods of time.
  • Being able to remember taking a drink, but being unable to recall events after that.
  • Feeling as though you have had sex, but not being able to recall all of or part of the incident.

If someone feels that they may have been drugged, it’s important to inform the police and medical staff as soon as possible. Blood and urine tests are typically effective only within 48 hours to determine if drugs were used.

My student doesn't "party." Do I really need to worry about them "getting into trouble"?

Although your student may not have been into drinking or “partying” as a high school student, that may change in college. This is the first time students are living on their own and are able to make their own choices. About 1/3 of Emory college students choose not to drink, and binge drinking is not in the norm.  While about 50% incidents of sexual assault on college campuses involve alcohol, the others do not. This is a critical topic for all students. 

In addition, it is important for your student to be aware of the sexual misconduct policy, which highlights that alcohol consumption greatly affects one’s ability to consent and that alcohol consumption is not an excuse for not receiving a “yes” from one’s partner in clear words or actions. Learn more about the policy here:

This won't happen to my student. Should I still know about the Respect Program?

While we hope that your child will not experience sexual assault, relationship abuse, or stalking while a student at Emory, it’s impossible to predict who may need our services. While your student may or may not be the target of an assault, your student may need support or information about something that has happened to a friend or roommate who has been sexually assaulted, sexually harassed, or experienced relationship abuse or stalking. It’s important that you and your student are informed about the Respect Program and educated on sexual assault, relationship abuse, and stalking so that your student can reduce their own risk and also help support a friend(s) if needed. Emory also believes that all members of our community are a part of working toward eradicating sexual violence on our campus and supporting survivors.

My student is not a woman, so there is nothing I need to worry about, right?

Men Can Experience Violence Too

While a majority of sexual assaults, relationship abuse, sexual harassment, and stalking incidents involve men as perpetrators and women as victims, we know that men can be victims too. The Respect Program offers support to all students, regardless of gender. Transgender and gender non-conforming students disproportionately experience sexual violence. Abuse can occur in relationships regardless of the genders of the sexual or romantic partners.

Ending Violence Is Everyone’s Responsibility

Men can get involved in ending violence at Emory. Sexual assault, relationship abuse, sexual harassment, and stalking are not just women’s issues; they are community issues that your son should be concerned about. There are many ways to become involved in ending violence at Emory. The Respect Program offers summer internships to any students interested in learning more about this issue and developing their skill set. Further, student organizations are always looking for new students to become involved with these issues, including groups such as Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA), the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP), and the Greek Initiative (GI), all of which are open to students of all genders.

Men can also help end sexual violence by personally understanding consent and the consequences of not obtaining consent before engaging in sexual activity. Most men aren’t perpetrators; however, young men need to have a solid understanding of consent and how it relates to alcohol use and/or other forms of incapacitation. On college campuses, students’ peers influence each other a great deal, so it is important that students are promoting respect and awareness in their daily activities.

How can my student get involved with Respect?

The Respect Program has many different opportunities for involvement including internships, events, educational programs, and partner student organizations. Learn more.