Don't mask the facts about sexual assault and rape with myths
and stereotypes. Sexual assault and rape are acts of violence, and
can happen to anyone. Attackers and rapists can be anyone —
strangers, neighbors, boyfriends and husbands, co-workers, classmates,
family members, and even friends. In fact, most victims know their
assailants. Here's the good news: you can do a lot to reduce
your risk of sexual assault. Practicing the following tips is a
good way to start:
Use Your Head
- Be alert! Walk with confidence and purpose.
- Walk in well lighted areas and NEVER walk alone. Ask a co-worker
or a neighbor to escort you.
- Be aware of your surroundings — know who's around
you and what's going on.
- Don't let drugs or alcohol cloud your judgment.
- Trust your gut. If your instincts tell you to leave, then leave — immediately.
If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, remove yourself!
- If you think you're being followed, change directions
and look for open stores, restaurants, or a lighted home.
How To Protect Yourself
- Make sure all entrances (windows, sliding glass doors, patio
doors) are locked at all times with sturdy locks.
- Never open your door to strangers. Use a wide-angle viewer
and make them show identification.
- Be wary of isolated spots — basements, laundry rooms, and
- Know your neighbors so that you can call on them if you need
- If you come home and see a door ajar or a window broken, call
the police immediately. DO NOT enter the building.
- Jog, run, or walk with a friend and stay in well lighted, well-traveled
- Keep your distance when anyone in a car asks you for directions.
- Wear clothes and shoes that you are able to move in.
- Have your key ready before you reach the door — home, office,
or the car.
- Always lock your car. Look inside the car before you get in.
- Don't hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers.
What To Do if the Unthinkable Happens
It's unpleasant and even frightening to think about, but the best way
to prevent or survive an assault is to plan in advance how you would react
in the face of a potential assault. Would you run and scream, or would
you try to fight back? Some would-be attackers will immediately give up
if their target shows the least signs of resistance. Others will become
more incensed and more violent if their victims try to fight back. Whatever
your decision, be confident and prepared to follow through.
- Try to escape. Be rude! Scream! Yell! Kick! Fight! Run!
- Talk, stall for time, and assess your situation.
- If your attacker has a weapon or attempts to move you to another
area, do whatever it takes to stay alive.
- If your attacker tries to move you to another area, do whatever
it takes to prevent that.
- Report rape or sexual assault to the police or rape crisis
center. The sooner you tell, the sooner your attacker can be sought.
- Preserve all physical evidence. Don't take a shower,
bathe, change clothes, douche, or throw anything away that you
were wearing during the attack — don't even clean your
- Go to the emergency room or to your doctor for medical care
immediately. Don't go alone. Ask a friend or family member
to drive you and to wait for you until your exam is finished.
- Get counseling to help you deal with what happened. Sexual
assault is physically and emotionally traumatic.
- Constantly remind yourself that this is not your fault.
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Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council
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