What You Can Do To Prevent Sexual Assault

Merely Me Health Guide
  • It is something we don't like to think about.  We think that it can't happen to us.  But in fact sexual assault is a crime which happens far more than most people realize.  In fact the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network reports that sexual assault occurs every two minutes in the United States alone.


    How is "sexual assault" defined?

    I found one of the best definitions of sexual assault from a college campus women's center  where they define sexual assault as: 


    "Sexual Assault occurs when the act is intentional and is committed either by a) physical force, violence, threat, or intimidation; b) ignoring the objections of another person; c) causing another's intoxication or impairment through the use of drugs or alcohol; or d) taking advantage of another person's incapacitation, state of intimidation, helplessness, or other inability to consent."

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    Basically sexual assault is when someone uses physical force against you to commit an act of sexual violence.  Sexual assault is usually not about the sex but is more about the offenders need for power and control.  Although sex is involved, it is a violent act.


    What do we know about sexual assault?

    • While both women and men can be the victim of sexual assault most victims are female. Statistics show that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

    • While sexual assault crosses all age barriers, we know that young women are among the population most victimized. In fact college age women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than other age groups of women.

    • We also know that this crime is usually not committed by some stranger but by someone the victim knows. 73% of rape victims, for example, know their assailants.

    (Statistics reported by RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)



    Personal Story


    I remember my sister telling me the story of how she was having some remodeling work done to her home and was alone in the house with one of the workers.  This man began to make verbal sexual advances towards her and she told him to stop.  He didn't listen and then proceeded to come towards her physically.  Seeing no way to escape the situation my sister began to talk.  A lot.  She used every bit of psychology she knew and told her would be assailant that she sensed he was a good man and that he really did not want to do this and to ruin his future.  She said whatever she felt could to stall and prevent him from becoming physical with her.  Miraculously it worked for her and she was able to prevent him from becoming physical. 


    I believe my sister was extremely lucky.  Many would be attackers are not going to listen to what you have to say.  So it is wise thing to understand how to take precautions to prevent being in situations where sexual assault could take place.



    Safety Precautions to Minimize the Risk of Sexual Assault


    • Be alert to your surroundings. If you are in an outside environment be aware of the people around you. Growing up in the inner city, I have developed a hyperawareness of anything in my vicinity and especially behind me.
    • Be around other people. Don't walk alone and try not to have a situation as my sister had where you are alone in your home with a stranger.
    • Walk with confidence when you are outside. Many assailants look for an easy mark, someone who looks vulnerable. I have a certain "don't mess with me" face I put on for when I am in a situation where I have to walk by myself.
    • Don't get too physically close to people asking for directions from a car. Once someone gets you into their car then they can pretty much do what they want with you in an isolated location. Do whatever it takes to not be in that position of going in someone's car.
    • Carry a cell phone at all times.
    • If you are meeting someone for a date for the first time, meet in a public place. This is especially true for those people who meet others on the internet. Or have a group date with other people along.
    • Walk in well lit areas and park your car in a lit area. Look in the back seat before getting into the car. Always have your key ready so you are not fumbling around before getting into the car.
    • Carry something that makes noise on your keychain like a whistle or alarm.
    • Trust your gut. If you feel fear in a situation then there is usually something to provoke that instinct. Act on that instinct and get out of there.
    • If you say "NO!" to someone who is making sexual advances and they persist, then this is an immediate warning sign that you need to do what you can to leave as quickly as you can.
    • If you are in danger of being attacked, scream, run, yell "FIRE!" break a window, or anything else you can think of to gain attention.

    If you have any tips you would like to share about how to prevent sexual assault please share you suggestion in the form of a comment below.


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    Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network


    National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE(4673), the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline


    If you are in a dating or domestic violence situation call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE(7233)


Published On: March 30, 2009