Monday, July 15, 2013

Sexual Assault and Rape Prevention Tips

In America one out of every six women will encounter rape or a sexual assault in their lifetime. As a woman there are steps you can take to minimize these odds. You can lock yourself in a sealed room, but that’s committing yourself to prison, not enjoying the life you deserve.

We don’t want women to survive rape, we want women to prevent rape. Let’s change the statistics from one in six to one in none! Before we start, let’s discuss why men rape women. Most rape or sexual assaults are a product of control, meaning the rapists wants to control the woman involved. Age or beauty may not even be a factor. The rapist in 38% of known cases is a friend or acquaintance. The rapist may have been denied a sexual experience because of divorce, incomplete romance or because the victim is a child under the age of consent.

The difference between rape and sexual assault is different for the rapist than it is for the person being raped. Rape is the most intimate in that actual penetration occurs. Sexual assault may be an act of fondling, exposing or forced sodomy. For the victim penetration is usually the worst experience with the threat of pregnancy attached to it. Sexual assault is devastating but usually recovery is much sooner without lasting physical damage. The rapist can be totally satisfied with either rape or sexual assault, because once they gain control they usually get to complete the act. Of course a young victim can be mentally scarred much easier than a mature woman. Shamefully 44% of victims are under the age of 18 and 80% are under the age of 30.   

Most rapes occur between the hours of 6pm and 6am, and this is the same for victims in their house or outside of their home. A woman or child must be the most aware and protected at these times.

To protect our children and women in our homes, we must be aware of all people in the home.  If there is any suspicion of improper attraction, attention, desire or a history of violence or sexual assault, they must be removed. External doors should have dead-bolts and the ability to view someone outside without opening the door. Chain latches are easily broken once the door is opened. Single women and young females should sleep on the second floor or the windows to the bedroom should be locked and a window breakage alarm should be present. An adult should have a cell phone, flashlight and pepper spray or a stun gun.

Outside the home the attacker looks for a distracted woman, one that is walking and taking on her cell phone or a woman looking down and not looking at her surroundings. Pig tails or braided hair gives an attacked the ability to grab and throw the woman off-balance. Loose fitting clothing is easier to remove and gives the criminal something to grab and hold on to. Allowing a stranger to approach and involve you in a discussion is “opening the door” to an attack. Be firm and polite that you do not wish the person to approach you. If you come across someone who seems ill or in distress, call the police or 911. If this person is really ill help is coming, and if not they will probably flee.

Approaching your automobile especially with children or packages opens new threats. First of all have your keys out when you leave the store, and if possible order a car with keyless entry as it is well worth the expense for your safety. Look around, under and inside of your car before entering. Try to open and enter with as few doors as possible and preferably on the driver’s side. Put your packages and children inside and then you enter and lock all doors before doing anything else. Many child seats can be secured when you are inside the auto, rather than turning your back and engaging yourself while still outside your automobile. Do not stop your car for any stranger and if approached drive away. If there are threatening gestures, call the police when you are at a safe distance.

When traveling, stay in public places and try to stay in groups of at least two. Carrying a door stop alarm or door bar to secure your hotel room door and always carry your cell phone. On public transportation you may not be allowed to carry Mace or a stun gun, but you can carry an electronic whistle or alarm.

Finally if attacked approached or threatened, make a lot of noise by yelling screaming and if available using your electronic whistle or alarm. If you are not carrying pepper spray or a stun gun, use your elbow or feet to kick the assailant in the groin, face or shins and run. Even if you have Mace or a stun gun, after you use it run, and contact the police.

Doug Harper is the owner of SharperSafety.com.

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