Relationships and Sexual Violence

We all have different kinds of relationships in our lives. Healthy relationships increase our self-esteem, improve mental and emotional health, and help us have fuller lives. Feeling scared, humiliated, pressured, or controlled is not the way a relationship should make you feel. Instead, you should feel loved, respected, and free to be yourself. Friends are an important source of support and advice. They play a powerful role in shaping attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

Male and female silhouette holding hands

Sexual violence is a serious problem that affects millions of people every year. Sexual violence can have very harmful and lasting effects on victims, families, and communities. Women are more likely to be victims of sexual violence than men. Twenty-two percent of all sexual assault victims are between the typical college ages of 18-24. In 8 out of 10 rape cases, the victim knows the perpetrator. Women in college who use drugs, attend a university with high drinking rates, belong in a sorority, and drank heavily in high school are at greater risk for rape while intoxicated. Most perpetrators of sexual violence are men.

Action Steps

  • Communication is essential in healthy relationships. Take time to talk with and listen to your friends and loved ones.
  • Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and directly, without intentionally hurting or disrespecting others.
  • Avoid relationships with those who drink heavily or use drugs, act aggressively, or treat you disrespectfully.
  • If anything in your relationship makes you feel uncomfortable, talk to someone you can trust, such as a parent, doctor, counselor, religious leader, or teacher.
  • Lower your risk for sexual violence by trusting your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable in a situation, leave or get help.
  • If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence and needs help, contact the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or your local emergency service at 911.

The Sexual Assault Prevention & Education program at SHOP provides confidential support, information, and resource referrals to survivors of sexual violence.

The mission of Sexual Assault Prevention is to promote the compassionate and just treatment of student survivors, their support system, and significant others, foster collaborative relationships between campus and community agencies and affect attitudinal and behavioral changes on campus as we work toward the elimination of sexual violence against all people.

We strive to provide empathic, supportive services to students who have experienced sexual assault.

Knowing that some students will prefer to seek services outside of the UCSC campus, SHOP works closely to provide easy access to off-campus resources as well.

If you have any questions please contact:
Caitlin Stinneford
Sexual Violence Prevention Educator
Student Health Outreach & Promotion
P: 831.459.2721

Additional Resources

If you need immediate resources for a sexual assault crisis, domestic violence, stalking or sexual harassment please contact:

All Police Departments, including UCSC   911

Confidential conversation with a State Certified Crisis Counselor call:

  • Caitlin Stinneford
    (831) 459-2721 /
  • Stephanie Milton, UCSC Women's Center     
    (831) 459-2169 or (831) 459-2072
  • Women's Crisis Support/Defensa de Mujeres 
    (831) 425-4030
  • 24 Hour Crisis Line:
    (831) 685-3737

UCSC Counseling & Psychological Services
(includes after-hours instructions)

(831) 459-2628
Title IX Sexual Harassment Office (831) 459-2462

Survivors Healing Center (off-campus)
(For issues of childhood sexual abuse)

(831) 423-7601

Community Service Officers

(831) 459-2100

All of the above resources are queer-friendly -- Additional queer resources are:

SF Rape hotline (510) 845-7273
Anti-Violence Project
Male Survivor Issues and Resources