Steps to Prevent Rape or Sexual Assault

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Although sexual crimes can occur in a variety of situations, the clear majority don’t happen with a scary stranger on the street. Primarily, crimes like this occur between two people that are acquainted with each other to some degree. Often there are decisions and actions that are taken leading up to these events such as drinking alcohol and/or trusting or relying on someone you do not know well. But even then, rape/sexual assault can happen with anyone and it is important to be cautious of this and prepared if the situation does arise.

Here are a few methods to implement if you find yourself facing a potentially dangerous situation like this:

Method 1: Clear Communication – When you find yourself in a potentially intimate situation with someone showing a clear interest in you, it can sometimes feel awkward and uncomfortable to speak up and be blatant about your intentions. However, no matter how uncomfortable you may feel in the moment, I can promise you that discomfort will be ten thousand times worse if you keep your mouth shut. A good rule of thumb is to make your intentions clear at the very beginning of the night. Before you go out with someone and start eating and drinking and being merry, draw a line for yourself in your head for as far as you want your evening to go and make that clear to whoever you will be spending the evening with. Being upfront and clear about your limits is the best way to ensure there is no confusion as the night goes on.

Method 2: Speak Up – Silence breads fear, and fear breads evil. A common theme I have found when interviewing survivors and reading their stories is fear. Fear of what people might think. Fear of upsetting their aggressor. Fear of being shamed. Keeping silent never did anyone any good. Keeping silent won’t stop someone from taking advantage of you. Keeping silent won’t prevent that person from hurting someone else. Keeping silent won’t help you heal from a traumatic experience. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation where you fear unwanted intimacy, I encourage you to speak up. A lion doesn’t think twice about attacking a gazelle because it never fights back, it only runs in fear quietly. A lion hardly hunts down other lions, because they know they will fight back, stand up for themselves, and roar in their face. This semi-ridiculous metaphor just goes to say, if you fight back, stand your ground, and use your voice, you are a whole lot less likely to find yourself falling victim to rape or sexual assault. Bad things happen when good people stay silent. Use your voice.

Method 3: Stay Vigilant and Make Good Choices – No one was ever worse off for being cautious and aware. If you have plans to go out socially, whether that’s with friends or on a date, stay aware of your surroundings, what you put into your body, and what comes out of your mouth. Unfortunately for us good people in the world, there are bad people out there that have less than honorable intentions when they go out on the social scene. Knowing this, the best and most important first defense you can have is yourself. You are responsible for making safe decisions that help prevent from putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. This means, maybe don’t leave your drink at the bar when you run to the bathroom, possibly taking 12 consecutive shots of vodka on an empty stomach is something to be reconsidered, or suppose you don’t go home with a complete stranger you just met at the bar that offers you a ride. In the end, you have two options: you can engage in activities that may be fun at the time, but put you at a higher risk for danger, or you can play it safe and still have fun responsibly. I can promise you that you will know which choice was the right one when you wake up the next morning.

Under no circumstance is the instance of a violent crime the fault of the victim. We would never insinuate that by any means. But we do encourage everyone to take the measures necessary to minimize their risk of becoming a victim of these crimes.

Author: Lauren Gwin

image sources:

1: https://www.theihospital.com/blog/2011/10/17/iphone-4s-call-quality-can-you-hear-me-now/

2: http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/personal/08/20/tf.really.say.no.how.to/index.htm

3: https://tenor.com/view/good-gif-4272648

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