The Red Zone: Sexual assault myths – debunked!

The Red Zone

What is the “Red Zone”?

The first 6 weeks of the Fall semester.

Why is it called the “Red Zone”?

Because it is believed there are more sexual assaults on U.S. college campuses during this time than any other time during the school year. (This does NOT mean that sexual assaults do not happen at other times of the year.)

Myth #1: The perpetrators in most sexual assault cases are strangers to the victims/survivors.

FACT Of the 57 reported sexual assaults at UW Oshkosh last year, 87% of survivors knew their perpetrators. This is consistent with national data.

vector image of people in room

Myth #2: Sexual assault includes only penetrative intercourse.

FACT Sexual assault includes ANY unwanted sexual behaviors, such as:

  • Unwanted grabbing, fondling, or kissing or another person’s body
  • Coerced or forced sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal)
  • Self-stimulation, sex with or abuse of another person.

group preventing violence

Myth #3: If a friend has been sexually assaulted and you call the police for help (UWO or city police), you will get a ticket if you are intoxicated and underage.

FACT The Wisconsin Sexual Assault Victim Amnesty Law prevents law enforcement from citing persons for underage alcohol violations if they are victims or bystanders reporting sexual assault or requesting emergency assistance.

Illustration of a bystander intervention

Myth #4: Consent can be obtained by repeatedly asking a person to engage in sex.

FACT If a person uses coercion to obtain sex from another person (e.g. not taking no for an answer, not giving an opportunity to say no) then that is sexual assault.


Learn more about the Red Zone at: 

UW OshkoshThe Red Zone