Rape is about power, control, and anger. Think about the unthinkable. Don't mask the facts about rape with myths and stereotypes. The truth is that rape is an act of violence. It is an attempt to control and degrade using sex as a weapon.
It Can Happen to Anyone
It can happen to:
- Male or Female
- Rich or Poor
- Working Women
Rapists can be anyone:
- Outgoing or Shy Persons
- Ugly or Attractive People
Most often, rapists are known by their victims. Rapists will continue their crimes against the same or other victims until caught. In some cases, the crimes become more frequent or cruel as the rapist continues without intervention.
Use Your Head
- Be alert. Walk with confidence and purpose. Know where you are going and what route you will take venturing to places you aren't familiar with.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your head up and take notice of who is around you and what is going on.
- Don't let alcohol cloud your judgment. Be especially careful concerning alcohol if you aren't very familiar with the location or the people you are with.
- Trust your instincts. If a place or person makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy - leave. Don't let anyone convince you to stay if your instincts are telling you otherwise.
Common Sense Indoors
- Make sure all doors and windows have adequate locks and check them frequently to make sure they are being used. Install a peephole in front and rear doors. Keep entrances well lighted.
- Never open your door to strangers. Offer to make emergency calls if necessary while the person waits outside. Check the ID of any sales or service person before letting them in. Don't be afraid to check with the company if there is any question.
- Be wary of isolated spots - apartment laundry rooms, garages, parking lots, offices after business hours, or access tunnels. Walk with a friend or coworker at night.
- Know your neighbors so you have someone to call or go to if you are afraid.
- If you see something that doesn't look right on returning home, a window or door ajar, don't go in. Call the police and let them check first.
Common Sense Outdoors
- Avoid walking or jogging alone, especially at night. Stay in well-traveled, well-lighted areas.
- Wear clothes and shoes that give you freedom of movement.
- Be careful if anyone asks you for directions. If you answer, keep your distance from the car.
- Have your key ready before you reach the door at your home, car, or office.
- If you think you are being followed, change direction several times and head for open stores, restaurants, or other businesses. If possible, go to a fire or police station but do not go directly home.
- Park in areas that will be well lighted and well-traveled when you return if it will be after dark.
- Always lock your car, when you get in and when you get out, even if it is sitting in your driveway.
- Look inside your car, especially the back seat before getting in.
- If your car breaks down use the emergency flashers. Lock the doors. Only get out to raise the hood if it can be done safely considering your location and traffic flow. If anyone stops to help, roll down the window slightly and ask them to call a tow service or the police.
- Don't hitchhike, ever. Don't pick up hitchhikers, ever, no matter how sorry you might feel for them.
When the Unthinkable Happens
- How should you handle a rape attempt? That depends on your physical and emotional state, the situation, and the rapist's personality. There are no absolute right or wrong answers, your survival is the goal.
- Try to escape. Scream, be rude, continue making 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 is necessary to survive.
- If you decide to fight back, you must be quick, effective, and absolutely ruthless. Target the eyes or groin. Use all of your power in each movement. Your goal is to disable your attacker long enough to make your escape, not to fight to submission.
- Report any rape, sexual assault, or attempt at such actions to the police immediately. The sooner you tell the greater the chance the rapist will be caught and successfully prosecuted.
- Preserve all physical evidence. Don't shower, bathe, change clothes, or throw anything away until the police say it's okay.
- Go to an emergency room or your own doctor for medical care immediately.
- Don't go to the doctor or emergency room alone. Ask someone you trust to go with you if possible.
- Get counseling to help deal with feelings of anger, helplessness, fear or shame. Appropriate counseling can help you get beyond these feelings. If you don't feel comfortable with the counselors you meet with first, don't give up. Ask for someone else.
- Remember, rape is not your fault. Don't accept blame for being a victim.
If Someone You Know Has Been Raped
- Believe her or him.
- Don't blame the victim and never second guess their actions.
- Offer support, patience, and compassion to help the rape victim work through the crisis. A good listener can be invaluable to them.