RCASA’s Saturday Prevention: How to reduce your risk of becoming a victim

In Advocacy, Outreach, Prevention on July 31, 2010 at 8:00 am

While statistics say that most sexual assaults are premeditated, in some instances it is a “crime of opportunity,” such as a date rape. The victim and suspect, for whatever reason, are at the same place at the same time. Whether the assault is one of opportunity or premeditation, there are simple precautions a person can follow to reduce, avoid, and even eliminate their chances of becoming a victim.

While Driving

  • Keep your car in good working order and the gas tank at least half full.
  • Park in well-lighted areas and lock the doors, even if you’ll only be gone a short time.
  • Before returning to your car look around the parking lot for suspicious persons.
  • When you return to your car have your key ready and check the front and rear seats and floor before getting in.
  • Drive with all the doors locked.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • If your have a flat tire, drive on it until you reach a safe well-lighted, and well-traveled area.
  • If your car breaks down, put the hood up, lock the doors, and put on the flashers. Use flares if you have them and tie a white cloth to the antenna. If someone stops to help, don’t get out of the car, but roll down the widow slightly and ask the person to call the police or a tow service for you.
  • If you see another motorist in trouble, don’t stop. Help by going to a telephone and calling the police for assistance.
  • Exercise extra caution when using underground and enclosed parking garages. Try not to go alone.
  • If you are being followed, don’t drive home. Go to the nearest police or fire station and honk your horn. Or drive to an open gas station or other business where you can safely call the police. Don’t leave your car unless you are certain you can get inside the building safely. Try to obtain the license plate number and description of the car following you.

At Home

  • Make sure all windows and doors in your home can be locked securely, particularly sliding glass doors. Use the locks. Keep entrances well-lighted.
  • Install a peephole in the door and use it.
  • Check the identification of any sales or service person before letting him in.
  • Don’t let any stranger into your home when you’re alone–no matter what the reason or how dire the emergency is supposed to be. Offer to make an emergency phone call while they wait outside.
  • Never give the impression that you are at home alone if strangers telephone or come to the door.
  • Get to know your neighbors — someone you can turn to if you’re worried.
  • If you live in an apartment, avoid being in the laundry room or garage by yourself, especially at night.
  • If you come home alone and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, don’t go in. Go to the nearest phone and call the police.

While Walking

  • Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you. Keep your head up and look alert.
  • Stay in well-lighted areas
  • Walk confidently at a steady pace on the side of the street facing traffic.
  • Walk close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes, and alleys.
  • Wear clothes and shoes that give you freedom of movement. If your wear high heels at work, carry them with you and wear athletic shoes to work. You can change when you get there.
  • Don’t walk alone at night if possible. If you have to, be alert.
  • Be careful when people stop you for directions. Always reply from a distance, and never get too close to the car. If you are in trouble, attract help any way you can. Yell something other people will understand, “Help”, “Police”, “Fire!”

If You Are Attacked

  • Keep your head. Stay as calm as possible, think rationally and evaluate your resources and options.
  • It may be more advisable to submit (this does not mean you consent) than resist and risk severe injury or death. Everyone has different strengths and abilities. You will have to make this decision based on the circumstances. But, don’t resist if the attacker has a weapon.
  • Keep assessing the situation as it is happening. If one strategy doesn’t work, try another.
  • Possible options in addition to nonresistance are negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant and fleeing to a safe place, verbal assertiveness, screaming to attract attention and physical resistance.
  • If you think fighting back/struggling may discourage the attack, remember you have to hurt the rapist bad enough to create the time your need to escape. Consider scratching with your fingernails, biting, poking in the eyes, kicking in the knee or groin, hitting on the nose, or jabbing the eyes or throat.
  • Weapons such as guns, knives, and chemical sprays can easily be turned against you unless you are trained to, and are not afraid to use them. You must be prepared to possibly kill the attacker.
  • If you are determined to carry some type of weapon, a chemical spray (such as pepper spray) is your best choice. It’s non-lethal if used against you. Remember, you already have weapons with you, your keys, pens, pencils, etc. You also have your most important weapon, your brain.
  • You may be able to turn the attacker off with bizarre behavior such as throwing up, urinating, or defecating.
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pixel Project Team and Amy Kathryn, RCASA. RCASA said: RCASA's Saturday Prevention: How to reduce your risk of becoming a victim: http://wp.me/pAwr3-ju […]

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