Incidences of sexual misconduct can happen to anyone, regardless of one's age, gender, or sexual orientation. Even still, initiating a conversation about sexual misconduct can be challenging, uncomfortable, or even down right difficult.
Here are a few tips to make the conversation a little easier:
The more you know about any topic, the more comfortable you feel when talking about it. This is especially true with sexual misconduct. At West Chester University, sexual misconduct is an umbrella term which includes: sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, stalking, and dating/domestic violence. Become more familiar with all types of sexual misconduct, including the realities and myths, by visiting:
You have done the research, now it is time to engage your student in conversation.
If you are not sure how to start the conversation, ask your student about recent stories in the news about campus sexual misconduct, or ask them about the sexual misconduct prevention module Think About It.
In your conversation with your student attempt to cover:
You may never feel comfortable with talking about sexual misconduct, and that's okay. Recruit someone who is knowledgeable and comfortable with this topic- maybe another relative or family friend. It is more important that your student gets the information from an accurate source than who delivers it.
Conversations about sexual misconduct are typically ongoing. It is important to support your student by keeping the communication lines open. Let your student know that they can talk to you if they have questions; that you are always open to continuing the conversation around sexual misconduct; and let them know that they can confide in you.
One of the best ways to support your student is to become familiar with the available resources on and off-campus, and share this information with them. By doing so, they will feel better able to seek support in the event that your student, or someone they know, has experienced an incident of sexual misconduct.