As the clock strikes down the remaining minutes of 2018 it is important to think about your New Year’s plans. Your outfit should be eye-catching and your night should go accordingly; however, as sexual assault and domestic violence encounters continue to be a problem, it is a necessity to keep yourself safe as you start the new year. Whether you attend a party on campus, a friendly get together or enjoy the night at a bar or club, it is essential to follow these seven steps to getting home safe and unharmed as you watch the ball drop.  

7. Bring a Friend

As simple as it seems having another pair of eyes around is helpful when you’re in any environment. Having someone to rely on is reassuring, especially when you may get too caught up in the party. This extra watchdog can alert you if something isn’t right, or if it might be time to leave the party sooner than expected.

6. Have a Plan 

Extraordinary nights like New Year’s Eve require a plan that will keep you and your fellow party goers safe. Things like addresses of meeting points, phone numbers of party hosts, and other information are important to gather before you celebrate the evening. Having all this information could be your saving grace if you ever get into an unsafe situation.

5. Bring Your Phone 

While you don’t want to miss the perfect picture, brining your phone could also be your helpful hotline. Locating apps such as Find My Friends are useful on nights that can be chaotic. The ability to locate your group easily keeps you safe as you may venture to unfamiliar places. Your phone also can serve as your distraction. If things feel uncomfortable don’t be afraid to call a friend and step away from the situation. 

4. Pay Attention 

As much as partying the night away sounds like a blast, it is in your best interest to stay attentive and focused on your surroundings. Washington State Rep. Sherry Appleton explains, “Being aware of your surroundings at all times is one of the leading ways to prevent sexual assault incidents. Your instincts are your best guide and if things don’t seem to add up it is best to remove yourself from the situation.”

3. Look for Signs 

If there is any violent behavior in your environment it is best to steer clear of the situation. As the night progresses a yelling match could turn into a fight, something you do not want to be a part of. As you count down the minutes and mingle with your friends take mental notes about your surroundings to ensure your safety.

2. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help 

Asking for help never makes you seem weak or scared, asking for help is necessary when you feel threatened or in danger. Whether help be a friend or the police, you want to celebrate your evening safely and that is the most important factor of your night. 

1. Don’t be Afraid to say No

New Year’s Eve is a night to remember and making sure it is memorable is the goal. As the night progresses, you may face uncomfortable situations and you need not be afraid to say “no.” If you don’t want to go home with them, if you don’t want to stay the night, if you don’t want to step away from the party, it is okay. Knowing how and when to say “no” is important, as it could alter your evening. Brenda Tracy, rape survivor, said, “You call the shots in your life and you shouldn’t let anyone pressure you into anything. Being comfortable saying ‘no’ and being assertive is they key in celebrating safely on any holiday.”

As the ball drops know that your actions could save yourself or someone else from being a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. Celebrating is much more fun when everyone can walk away safe and unharmed. As the clock strikes twelve use these tips to celebrate safely.