How men can play a role in reducing the number of sex assaults - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

How men can play a role in reducing the number of sex assaults

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

With one out of five women sexually assaulted in college, the roles have shifted from what women can do to what the young men can do to keep their campuses safe.

One Columbus sex assault specialist says it all comes down to a conversation about both verbal and physical communication to ensure the woman gives consent.

Kyle Bair with Sexual Assault Support Center, Inc. in Columbus says, "A lot of people say, 'Oh, well that kills the mood.' But you know what? A sexual assault will kill the mood."

There can sometimes be a blurred line in talking about sexual assaults when it comes to what to do, and what not to do, while on the verge of intimacy. Bair points out the importance of sparking up a conversation about consent as the number one way to prevent sexual assaults for men.

Bair explains, "Consent, okay, must be obtained. Consent cannot be assumed. It must be obtained."

Bair suggests setting boundaries with your mate, and ensuring that she gives the okay to be intimate.

There are also instances where "yes" does not, and cannot, mean yes under Georgia state law.

"For example, under the age," Bair explains. "If someone is under the age of 16, they cannot consent. Well, Georgia law also considers if somebody cannot consent due to mental incapacitation or physical incapacitation. That includes alcohol or drugs."

Bair presented a survey of more than 6,000 college students at 32 U.S. institutions where 73 percent of assailants, and 55 percent of victims, admitted to using alcohol or drugs prior to assaults. Regardless, Bair adds that state laws do not excuse sexually aggressive behavior for any reason, and communication is key to preventing it.

"If either party is unable to communicate about their boundaries, then I would say no behaviors should occur," she warns.

Bair stresses the point that silence does not mean yes. While the lines of consent can be blurry, you should never take a physical action as a form of consent.

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