My Cup is Not My Consent is the fall prevention campaign rolled out by the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP). This campaign focuses on preventing alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults on campus. The campaign aligns with the University of Iowa’s Sexual Misconduct Policy which states that persons who are “incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication” are unable to give consent. My Cup is Not My Consent also builds off research on campus sexual assault which found that many perpetrators use alcohol as a weapon to commit their crime.
While many rapes happen behind closed doors, the events leading up to an assault often occur when others are present and when alcohol is involved. We’ve all seen examples. Someone who feeds another person multiple drinks while having very few themselves; another who won’t take a hint that their attention is not wanted and they keep drinking, which often escalates the situation. Sometimes all it takes is an intervention to diffuse the situation and sometimes, make it go away completely. It can be difficult to know what to say or do in those situations. While intervention can be direct, there are plenty of indirect ways that people can intervene too!
Some examples of interventions are:
Clarification: Did you really say that?
Bring It Home: Would you want someone talking to your sister like that?
We're Friends, right?: You gotta watch what you say. If you say stuff like that in class or at work, you could get into some real trouble.
Group Intervention: Am I the only one that thought that was inappropriate?
Distraction: mainly used as an interruption. Don’t I know you from Intro to Anthropology?
Humor Jokes: can be used to distract and deflect, however they can hurt more so use with caution.
Strike when the iron is cold: Hey, I've been thinking about what you said last night. It really bothered me.
Support the Victim: This can be direct or indirect. In the moment, you could walk over and ask “Is everything all right over here?”
Enlist Support: if you need help, support or are worried about your safety… Call the police or provide a statement. Get the targeted person’s friends involved and have them intervene with the target while you distract the perpetrator. Get your group of guys to interrupt/intervene, giving her a chance to leave.
Find an intervention style that works for you. Try a few! Whatever your style, don’t choose silence.
If you would like more information about sexual assault or you have experienced any unwanted sexual activity, please contact the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) for free and confidential support at rvap.org or our 24-hour crisis line 319-335-6000.
For more information about bystander intervention techniques and strategies, you can contact RVAP at 319-335-6001 or the Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC) at 319-335-1486.