Sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time!
The typical stereotype of a sexual assault suspect is a sex-crazed
maniac or psychopath. In reality, people who sexually assault are not always strangers to their victims. In more than
one-third of reported cases, the rapist is an acquaintance, neighbor, friend or relative.
Although sexual conduct is a component of this crime, suspects mainly
want to hurt, humiliate and degrade another human being. Regardless of the sexual nature of the crime, it is a crime of
How can it happen?
- "When the salesman
knocked on the door, I let him in. He was friendly at first, then all of a sudden he grabbed me."
- "I was downstairs
in the laundry room of our apartment building. I had been there alone many times before, but this time."
- "I was walking
to work in broad daylight. A car stopped next to me. The driver leaned over and asked for directions. When I got close to
the car, he pulled out a gun and told me to get in."
These simple examples show that the tragedy of sexual assault can
strike anyone, anywhere, at anytime.
Reduce Your Risk
What Should You Do To Prevent Sexual
- Always be aware
of your surroundings.
- Stay in well-lit
areas as much as possible.
- Walk confidently,
directly, at a steady pace. A rapist looks for someone who appears vulnerable.
- Walk on the
side of the street facing traffic.
- Walk close to
the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes and alleys where rapists can hide.
- If you think
you are being followed, walk quickly to areas where there are people and lights. If a car appears to be following you, turn
and walk in the opposite direction or walk on the other side of the street.
- Be careful when
people stop you for directions or money. Always reply from a distance and never get too close to the car.
- If you are in
trouble or feel you are in danger, don't be afraid to attract help any way you can. Scream, yell or run away to safety.
- Always lock
your car. Keep your car locked when you are away from it to keep someone from hiding and waiting inside. When you are inside
the car, lock the doors for safety.
- Look inside
and around your car before you get in.
- Be aware of
other people in parking areas, especially those close to your vehicle.
- If you think
you are being followed, drive to a public place or a police station to get help.
- If your car
breaks down, open the hood or attach a white cloth to the antenna. If someone stops to help, stay inside your locked vehicle
and ask them to call the police.
- If you choose
to carry any type of weapon for self-protection, give careful consideration to your ability and willingness to use it. Remember
there is always the chance that it could be taken away and used against you.
What Should You Do If You're a Victim?
Seek help immediately! If you are injured, call an ambulance or 9-1-1 for medical assistance or go to a hospital
emergency room. An important thing to remember is that you should not touch anything, change your clothes, wash, bathe, shower
or douche until you have been to the hospital and contacted the police. Doing any of these things will destroy valuable evidence
that is needed by the police and the prosecutor to identify, arrest and convict your attacker.
The emotional impact of a sexual assault is great and both medical
professionals and law enforcement officers know this. It will be difficult for you to confide in strangers about what has
happened to you. Every effort is made to have family members, friends, clergy or anyone you want present to provide support
during this difficult time.
The Child Victim
Each year thousands of children suffer some type of sexual abuse.
Who is the typical offender? In more than one-third of sexual abuse cases involving children, the child and his family know
the offender. In other words, the abuser is often a parent, relative or close family friend.
Because children are so trusting and defenseless, they are especially
vulnerable to sexual assault.
Children often make up stories, but they rarely lie about being a
victim of sexual assault. If a child tells you about being touched or assaulted, take it seriously. Your response helps determine
how the child will react to the abuse. Stay calm. Explain that you are concerned about what happened, and not angry with the
Many children feel guilty as if they provoked the assault. Children
need to be reassured they are not at fault, and they are right to tell you about what happened.
Sometimes a child may be too frightened or confused to talk directly
about the abuse. Be alert for any changes in behavior that might hint that the child has suffered a disturbing experience.