Sexual assault is not a crime that anyone wants to believe can happen to her or him. However, it can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, or sex, and it can occur just as easily in a park or alleyway as it can in a car or dormitory room. The most common form of rape is date rape, and some researchers estimate that date rape accounts for 50-75% of all reported rapes in the United States.
Avoid becoming a rape victim
- Secure and lock your car and home. Keep a large flashlight, two quarters, a map of the city you are in, and $5-$10 in your car. The flashlight can be used as a light or weapon; the quarters are for the use of a pay phone; and the $5-$10 is for car emergencies. Never open your door to strangers or tell them you are alone.
- Avoid unsafe situations and strangers. If you are being followed, go to the nearest police or fire department or anyplace where people will be. Try to walk in groups at night.
- Flee if you are in a potentially dangerous situation. Yell or scream to attract attention and carry a loud whistle.
- Engage in passive or active resistance. Passive resistance is thinking and talking your way out of a situation. Active resistance is reacting immediately to startle your attacker. Use any available item (hairspray, keys, purse, etc.) as a weapon.
- Think! Keep thinking of alternative courses of action for escape.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
- Always keep an eye on your drink at parties and clubs to avoid exposure to date rape drugs.
What should you do if you are raped?
Always remember that the police can only arrest a criminal if they are made aware of the offense. If you are sexually assaulted, call the police immediately, and if available, call your local sexual assault crisis center. Don't change your clothes or take a bath or shower. All physical evidence – including seminal fluids, hair, blood types, and scrapings of flesh from the victim's nails – can be used in court. The information most needed by police to help rape victims includes:
- Car license, make or model, and color
- Race of assailant
- Approximate age, weight, and height
- Hair color and length of hair
- Eye color
- Any unusual marks, scars, tattoos, rings, etc.
- Any facial hair or odors