Sexual Safety

Sexual violence is an international problem. In the United States, one in six college-age women and one in 16 college-age men are victims of attempted sexual assault. Sexual violence can be experienced by people of any gender identity, including transgender or gender non-conforming individuals. Differences in language, cultural norms, personal boundaries and romantic relationships, and misperceptions about US sexual norms can sometimes lead to miscommunication regarding intention, expectation, and consent, and contribute to increased sexual vulnerability.

Be prepared to discuss sexual safety with your program team and peers upon arrival in country. This is an essential part of the SIT Health and Safety orientation. You can expect to discuss SIT’s policy on harassment and sexual misconduct, local courtship norms, gender roles and customs, local laws, and resources for sexual violence.

We also ask students to be prepared to make cultural concessions—adjustments in behavior, presentation and language, when necessary, to demonstrate understanding of local customs. For example, in some more rural areas a more conservative dress code may be recommended by staff.
Sexual misconduct can occur anywhere along a continuum, from verbal street harassment, to being groped in public, to sexual assault. Should you experience sexual violence while abroad with SIT, please reach out to any member of your program staff or to our Title IX Coordinator directly.

LGBTQ+ Identities

Studying abroad as part of the LGBTQ+ community can present unique opportunities and challenges in exploring a new culture. Attitudes, cultural norms, and laws and policies related to sexuality and LGBTQ+ rights vary dramatically in different contexts. We encourage LGBTQ+ students to ask questions and be prepared for individual experiences that differ substantially from expectations.

LGBTQ+ communities around the world are out to greater or lesser degrees, therefore, safety and security concerns are important. In some case, the dominant culture may be hostile toward LGBTQ+ people, however, the SIT Study Abroad program is an open and welcoming space for students to seek support from staff and peers. Students should not hesitate to discuss any questions, challenges, or thoughts with their SIT team and the Title IX Coordinator.