Reducing Your Risk of Sexual Assault
Reducing your risk of acquaintance rape:
- Let someone know where you are going.
- Do not go off alone with someone you do not know well or who makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Meet at a public place.
- Trust your instincts; if it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
- Be cautious in new relationships. Go out with a group of friends until you know that person better.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid isolated places.
- Know the effects of drugs and alcohol. Be aware of what you are drinking and how much you are drinking. In reported rapes, at least 75 % of males and 55 % of females had been drinking or taking drugs.
- Do not leave beverages unattended or accept drinks from anyone you don’t know well or trust.
Stay in Charge
- Staying in charge means saying what you want and knowing what you are doing.
- Always carry a cell phone and money to make a call. Call your family or a trusted friend to come get you if you feel unsafe. Remember, it is better to get into trouble for being somewhere you shouldn’t be than to be raped.
- Communicate your limits clearly and directly. Insist on being treated with respect.
Reducing the risk of being the victim of a drug-facilitated sexual assault:
- Don’t drink beverages that you did not open yourself.
- Don’t share or exchange drinks with anyone.
- Don’t take a drink from a punch bowl.
- Don’t drink from a container that is being passed around.
- If someone offers you a drink at the bar/club or at a party, accompany the person to get your drink, watch the drink being poured and carry the drink yourself.
- Don’t leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom or making a phone call.
- If you leave your drink unattended, discard it.
- Don’t drink anything that has an unusual taste or appearance (e.g. salty taste, excessive foam, unexplained residue).
- Don’t mix different types of alcoholic beverages.
- Don’t mix drugs and alcohol.
- Limit alcohol consumption so you are better able to assess your surroundings, especially if you are in a group setting or with someone you do not know well or trust.
- When drinking alcohol in social settings, make arrangements with a friend to leave together.
Reducing your risk for stranger rape:
- Use dead bolts locks on your doors.
- Make sure sliding glass doors and windows are locked.
- Lock your car doors when traveling.
- Don’t leave mail on the seat of your car disclosing your home address.
- Avoid hitchhiking and picking up hitchhikers.
- If you are followed, do not drive home. Drive to a busy lighted area or law enforcement agency.
- Carry a cellular phone in your car.
- Yell to attract attention if you need help.
(Information in this section taken from West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services, www.fris.org)