How to Avoid Rape: An Article to Read & Pass On to Every Woman You Know
Someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. every 2.5 minutes,
according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).
And close to one in six women is raped at some point in her
life, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Knowing how
to avoid becoming a victim, along with what to do if you are
faced with the situation, is, sadly, something every woman
needs to know.
Nearly one in six women is raped at some point in her
life. Please share the important preventive information
in this article with your friends and loved ones!
If a woman feels threatened, only she can decide what is
the best course of action to take in that moment, but research
has identified certain strategies that seem to work better
How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
Anyone can become a victim of sexual assault or rape, but
girls in their teens are particularly at risk -- with the
age of 14 marking the peak risk age, according to the FBI.
Experts advise always staying in well-lit areas and being
aware of your surroundings to discourage potential attackers.
While You're Out
Don't leave your beverage unattended at a bar or party.
Don't accept a drink from an open container.
Watch out for your friends if you're at a party, and
be sure to arrive and leave in a group.
Don't go to an isolated area with someone you don't know
When walking outside, walk facing traffic so a car cannot
approach you unnoticed from behind.
Don't take shortcuts you're not familiar with or that
are routed through dim, unpopulated areas.
If a motorist stops to ask you a question, keep walking
and stay on the sidewalk. Don't approach the car.
Avoid areas that are filled with bushes, trees or shadows.
Stay out in the open, in well-lit, busy areas.
Keep your car doors locked and your windows rolled up
when after dark.
When you approach your car in a parking lot, keep your
keys in your hand, check to be sure no one is hiding inside
the car, then lock the doors as soon as you get in.
Don't pick up hitchhikers or stranded motorists.
If you're in a traffic
accident, don't get out of your car or open the window
to talk to the other motorist. Stay inside and wait for
the police to arrive.
Some rapists have impersonated police officers pulling
over vehicles. If you are pulled over by an unmarked car
at night while you're alone, only pull over in a well-lit
area where other people are present. A real police officer
will understand your concern.
Avoid stairwells and rarely used hallways.
Don't get into an elevator alone with anyone who seems
suspicious. Trust your instincts on this.
When on an elevator, stand near the control panel so
you can push the alarm button in an emergency.
When waiting for an elevator, stand away from the door
so you can't be pulled on.
Call someone at home to let him or her know when you're
leaving work at night, and when to expect you home.
If after dark, ask a security guard or colleague to walk
with you to your car / public transportation.
On Public Transportation
Always stay alert; don't sleep or drift off on the bus
Take a seat close to the driver.
If someone seems suspicious, move away from the person
to a seat closer to the driver or to another car.
Choose subway cars that are full of people.
Arrange for someone to meet you at your destination to
walk or drive you home.
Crimes of this nature can also take place at a residence,
and, among women victims of rape and sexual assault, 70 percent
of the crimes were committed by intimates, relatives, friends
or acquaintances, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
"There's strong evidence
that fighting, screaming and trying to flee are effective,"
says Sarah Ullman, Ph.D., an associate professor of
criminal justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
What to do if You are Raped
No matter how cautious you are, a rape or sexual assault
can still happen. Again, a woman who is faced with this crisis
is the only one who can decide what is the best action to
take, but the following strategies may be effective.
If you are attacked, yell, scream, hit and kick, and otherwise
do anything you can to get away. Doing so may startle the
attacker and may cause him to loosen his grip so you can run
"There's strong evidence that fighting, screaming and
trying to flee are effective," says Sarah Ullman, Ph.D.,
an associate professor of criminal justice at the University
of Illinois at Chicago.
Fight back if the attacker doesn't let go. In 2003, the Justice
Department reported that weapons were present in rapes and
sexual assaults only 11 percent of the time. If the attacker
does have a weapon, you will have to decide what is the best
approach to save your life. Pleading with the attacker may
not be the best choice, however.
"Research shows that pleading and reasoning lead to
an even higher probability of rape," says Ullman. Many
rapists thrive on feeling powerful, and a victim's pleading
can feed this need.
What you can do is scream for help, yell "NO" and,
if you can get away, run to a well-lit, populated area.
If a Rape has Taken Place
According to the Justice Department, rapes go unreported
at varying levels, depending on who the attacker is. An eight-year
study found that when an attacker is:
A current or former husband or boyfriend, rapes
go unreported to the police 77 percent of the time.
A friend or acquaintance, rapes go unreported
61 percent of the time.
A stranger, rapes go unreported 54 percent of
Though you may feel embarrassed, reporting the rape and
seeking medical attention are very important. Once you
are in a safe place, call a friend, family member or spouse
for support. Then:
Do not bathe, brush your teeth or wash in any
way. This could remove evidence that's needed to find
Seek medical attention immediately.
Call the police to report the crime. You may wish
to write down details of the attacker's appearance and
what took place during the attack so you don't forget.
Remember that the crime was not your fault.
Talk to a counselor, rape crisis center or social
services agency in your area. Emotions from this type
of crisis can remain for months or many years, so don't
hesitate to seek help even if a lot of time has passed
since the crime.
RAINN operates a National Sexual Assault Hotline
that can be called 24 hours a day at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
You can also search
online for a counseling center near you.
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School and College Students Victims of Being Stalked:
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to Most Effectively Prevent Purse Snatching, Pickpocketing
and Other Personal Thefts
Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
Department of Justice: Rape and Sexual Assault
Home Journal: How to Avoid Rape
Protective Service: How to Avoid Rape and Sexual Assault