Healthy Family | Home Safety | Health and Wealth | Relationship Issues | Career Advice | Growing Family
Get the SixWise e-Newsletter FREE!
Google Web
Free Newsletter Subscription
Get the Web's Most trusted & Informative Health, Wealth, Safety & More Newsletter -- FREE!


Share Email to a Friend Print This

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 than others.

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. Further:

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 or trust.

  • 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.

While Driving

  • 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.

At Work

  • 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 or subway.

  • 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 away.

"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 the time.

  • 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 the attacker.

  • 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.

Recommended Reading

20% of High School and College Students Victims of Being Stalked:
What to Do If You're Stalked

How to Most Effectively Prevent Purse Snatching, Pickpocketing and Other Personal Thefts


Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)

U.S. Department of Justice: Rape and Sexual Assault

Ladies' Home Journal: How to Avoid Rape

Federal Protective Service: How to Avoid Rape and Sexual Assault

To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

Share Email to a Friend Print This