Rape is an act of violence. It is an attempt to control and degrade using sex as weapon. It can happen to anyone -- children, students, wives, mothers, working women, grandmothers, the rich and poor, and boys and men.
Rapists can be anyone -- classmates, co-workers, a neighbor or delivery person, ugly or attractive, outgoing or shy, often a friend or family member. They rape again and again, until caught.
Use Your Head
- Be alert! Walk with confidence and purpose.
- Be aware of your surroundings -- know who's out there and what's going on.
- Don't let alcohol or other drugs cloud your judgment.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation or place makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, leave!
Common Sense Indoors
- Make sure all doors and windows have dead bolt locks, and use them!
- Install a peephole in the door.
- Keep entrances well-lighted.
- Never open your door to strangers.
- Offer to make an emergency call while someone waits outside.
- Check the identification of any sales or service people before letting them in.
- Be wary of isolated spots -- apartment laundry rooms, underground garages, parking lots, offices after business hours. Walk with friends, co-workers, or security guard, particularly at night.
- Know your neighbors so you have someone to call or go to if you're scared.
- If you come home and see a door or window open, or broken, don't go in. Call the police from a public phone, cell phone, or neighbor's home.
Common Sense Outdoors
- Avoid walking or jogging alone, especially at night. Stay in well-lighted areas.
- Nature paths are generally secluded and should not be used if you are alone.
- Be careful if anyone in a car asks you for directions -- if you answer, keep your distance from the car.
- Have your keys ready before you reach the door, home, car, or office.
- If you think you are being followed, change directions and head for open stores, restaurants, theaters, or a lighted house.
- Park in areas that will be well-lighted and well-traveled when you return.
- Always lock your car -- when you get in and when you get out.
- Look around your car and in the back seat before you get in.
- If your car breaks down, lift the hood, lock the doors, and turn on your flashers. Use a call police banner or flare if you have one. If someone stops, roll the window down only slightly and ask the person to call the police or a tow service.
- Don't hitchhike, ever. Don't pick up a hitchhiker.
When the Unthinkable Happens...How Should You Handle a Rape Attempt?
- It depends on your physical and emotional state, the situation, and the rapist's personality. There is no right or wrong answer, surviving is the goal.
- Try to escape. Scream. Be rude. Make noise to discourage your attacker from following.
- Talk, stall for time, and assess your options.
- If the rapist has a weapon, you may have no choice but to submit. Do whatever it takes to survive.
- If you decide to fight back, you must be quick and effective. Target the eyes or groin.
- Report rape or any sexual assault to the police or rape crisis center. The sooner you tell, the greater the chances the rapist will be caught.
- Preserve all physical evidence. Don't shower, bathe, change clothes, douche, or throw any clothing away until the police say it is okay.
- Go to a hospital emergency room or your own doctor for medical care immediately. Don't go alone. Ask a friend or family member to go with you or call a rape crisis center or school counselor.
- Get counseling to help deal with feelings of anger, helplessness, fear, and shame caused by rape. It helps to talk to someone about the rape, whether it happened last night, last week, or years ago.
- Remember, rape is not your fault. Do not accept blame for being an innocent victim.
If Someone You Know Has Been Raped
- Believe her or him.
- Don't blame the victim.
- Offer support, patience, and compassion to help the rape victim work through the crisis, heal, and emerge a survivor.
If you have been the victim of a sexual assault and would like to make a report to the police please call 911.