Preventing Sexual Assault

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The RAINN website offers a page devoted to preventing sexual assault with some helpful tips and tools. It's a very worthwhile read for individuals, parents, caregivers and service providers.

Topics covered on the page Ways to Reduce your Risk of Sexual Assault include:

Avoid dangerous situations

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • When possible, avoid isolated areas
  • Walk with purpose.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags
  • Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that have money for a cab if needed
  • Don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or know
  • Remain aware of your surroundings
  • Safety planning

Make a safety plan

The RAINN website notes that there are a number of things to consider when making your safety plan, including:

  • How to get away if there is an emergency
  • Who can help you
  • Where you would go
  • What to bring
  • How to anticipate and respond to a perpetrator’s actions

How to protect children

When thinking about child protection, consider these tips:

  • Talk to your children about sexuality and sexual abuse in age-appropriate terms.
  • Be involved in your child’s life.
  • Be available.
  • Empower your child to say “no” to unwanted touch
  • Teach children that they can come to you with questions and concerns

Reducing your risk in social situations

  • When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Don't leave your drink unattended
  • Don't accept drinks from people you don't know or trust.
  • Watch out for your friends, and vice versa.
  • If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately

What to do when someone is pressuring you

  • Remember that being in this situation is not your fault.
  • Be true to yourself.
  • Have a code word with your friends or family
  • Make an excuse for your need to be somewhere else.
  • Think of an escape route.

Also included on this page are tips for “What Men Can Do”  and “Computer Safety.”

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Thanks for the good info Rachel. There are tons of good resources on the RAINN website.

What strikes me when I look over the list of "reducing your risk" is how all the focus is on the one potentially victimized. We must also focus on how to stop those who perpetrate rape and sexual assault. We need to change attitudes that prevent disclosure and keep this issue hidden. We need to make changes to the criminal justice system to increase the conviction rate (a proven deterrent). Sexual assault and rape will stop when the perpetrators stop doing it, period. There are times when no amount of tips for reducing risk will prevent it. (See 2 Samuel 13 for a case study)

And, perhaps against better judgement, I have to mention gender here. When I worked on campus, I helped lead seminars about sexual assault and rape. One of the activities was asking all the men in the room what things they did on a regular basis so that they would not be raped. I got lots of blank stares, and sometimes a few answers. Then we asked the same question to all the women in the room. I check my car before I get in; I leave work before dark; I hold my key ready to use as a weapon; I carry pepper spray; I never walk alone; and the answers went on and on and on.  It was an eye-opening exercise for the men in the room who didn't understand the experience of living in fear of sexual assault, which  was common for most of their women colleagues. I believe a culture change is needed - Male or female, sexual assault and rape are NOT OK.  We, as the Church, must be champions and stand for protecting the dignity of all people, and an end to sexual assault.