Understanding Trauma & Violence


Are there any red flags you can spot in a person to know if they may assault you or someone else?


Thank you for this question. Recognizing potential warning signs of sexual assault perpetration in others can be a helpful tool to maintain personal safety. While no single behavior guarantees someone will commit assault, certain behavioral patterns may raise a concern.

Behaviors to watch out for might include a disregard for personal boundaries, attempts to coerce or manipulate, or a lack of respect for consent. In addition, individuals who exhibit controlling behaviors, demonstrate aggression or anger issues, or rely on substances to impair judgment may also pose a higher risk. Being aware of these indicators can empower people to make informed decisions about their interactions and boundaries as well as to step in as an active bystander when they recognize this pattern of behavior in others.

It's important to emphasize, however, that the responsibility for preventing sexual assault should not solely rest on the survivor. Placing the burden on individuals to constantly monitor and protect themselves perpetuates victim-blaming culture. Instead, society must address the root causes of sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. Nonetheless, recognizing high-risk scenarios and behaviors can aid in boundary-setting and empowerment. By identifying warning signs early on, individuals can assert their boundaries confidently and remove themselves from potentially harmful situations.

Bystanders can also play a crucial role in preventing sexual violence by recognizing and addressing concerning behaviors in others. Some red flags to watch for include witnessing someone pressuring or manipulating another person into sexual activity, observing aggressive or disrespectful behavior towards others, or noticing someone taking advantage of someone who is incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol. Bystanders who notice these warning signs can intervene safely by speaking up, intervening directly, or seeking help from authorities or other trusted individuals. By being vigilant and proactive, bystanders can contribute to a safer environment and help prevent instances of sexual assault before they occur.

Trusting your instincts and setting clear boundaries are fundamental aspects of navigating interpersonal interactions safely. If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe, seek support from trusted friends, family, or professionals. Creating a supportive environment where survivors feel empowered to speak up and seek help is essential in combatting sexual violence. Together, we can work towards a culture of consent, respect, and accountability, where everyone feels valued and safe in their relationships and interactions.

Safety Exit