Sexual Assault Risk Reduction Tips
Know your limits and believe in your limits. If there are any questions, stop and talk about it.
- Communicate your limits clearly. Tell them quickly, firmly, and clearly. Polite approaches may be ignored or misunderstood. Say "No" when you mean "No."
- Talk with each other. Communication is the key to a good relationship. Don't assume your date will know how you feel or will eventually get the message.
- Be aware of your date's actions. Pay attention to behaviors that are not respectful of you. Even the simple things --like put-downs, making all the decisions, or constantly teaching you. This may mean he does not respect your decisions or boundaries.
- Make a scene if you feel threatened. Trust your intuition. If you feel you are being pressured, say so. Don't worry about a few minutes of embarrassment or awkwardness. They will pass. Stick with your friends at parties or get togethers. Use the "buddy system."
- Avoid using alcohol or other drugs. They interfere with your ability to think, act, or communicate clearly.
Look for Warning Signs
Pay attention to behavior that does not feel right. Be careful of anyone who...
- ignores your personal boundaries
- does not listen to what you say
- is jealous and possessive of you and your time
- gets upset when you don't do what they want
- tries to make you feel guilty to get their way
- is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
- pressures you to do alcohol or drugs
- insists you go some place alone or apart from others
- accuses you of being tight or frigid when you say "no"
If you feel like you are being pressured...
- Try to stay calm. It's easier to think that way.
- Be assertive. Clearly say that you are uncomfortable and want to leave or want the behavior to stop.
- If possible, look for ways to escape. If it doesn't work, resist as long as it is safe for you to do so. If it is too dangerous to, stop. Submission does not mean consent.
- Don't worry about being nice or hurting the other person's feelings -- think about your safety.
Facts About Sexual Assault
- Rape is not sexually motivated. It is a crime of violence and power.
- One in three women will be sexually assaulted at some point in her life.
- At least one out of every four girls and one out of every six boys is sexually abused in childhood, primarily by close family members or friends.
- Wives can be assaulted by husbands, and children by parents and other family members.
- 60-80% of all victims know their assailant (acquaintance, co-worker, relative, etc.)
- More than half of all sexual assaults take place indoors, usually in the victim's own home.
- Offenders come from all socio-economic classes, professions, and ethnic backgrounds, and are of both sexes. There is no "typical" rapist.
- In over 90% of all sexual assaults, the attacker and the victim are of the same race.
- Rape is the responsibility of the rapist, not the fault of the victim.
- Rape is the fastest-growing violent crime in the United States.
- Sexual assault victims need support and understanding to overcome the trauma of the experience.
What To Do If You Are Assaulted
- Get to a safe location
- Do not rinse your mouth, bathe, douche, or shower. You may literally be washing away evidence.
- Do not change clothes. If you go to the hospital, bring a change of clothes with you.
- Seek medical attention quickly for possible injuries, even if you don't feel physically hurt, and for tests for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
- You are not required to report the assault to the police.
- If you decide you want to report the assault to the police, do so immediately. Swift reporting may lead to a swift arrest.
- If you do prosecute, your case will be stronger if you seek medical and police support immediately.
*Information provided by the Greater New Haven Sexual Assault Crisis Services at The Coordinating Council for Children in Crisis, 131 Dwight St. New Haven, CT 06511