Resource Library

Some Ways to Reduce the Risk of Rape (Plan for Safety)

At home:

Avoid Isolated Places. This includes elevators, laundry rooms and garages, or when you are alone or feel uncomfortable with someone there.

Change the Locks on Your Doors/Windows. Make sure doors are locked even when at home.

Leave Lights On. Leave some lights on when you are out and have your keys ready when you return. Consider installing outdoor lights as well.

Install a Peephole and/or Quality Deadbolt Locks. Do not open the door to strangers, and have police and service people slip their identification under the door. Call the station or home office to verify the person’s business.

Vary Your Routine. Don’t be so predictable, change it up!

In social situations:

Be Aware of Red Flags Your Date Might Display. Avoid people who disrespect you or ignore your feelings or try to make decisions for you or act in an intimidating way.

Establish a Buddy System. When going to a party, go with a group of friends and don’t be afraid to let a friend know when someone is making you feel uncomfortable

Avoid Alcohol and Other Drugs. They can impair judgment.

Don’t Leave Your Drink Alone. This includes drinking something you didn’t get yourself. “Date rape drugs” can be mixed in drinks and put you at risk.

Be Clear About Your Boundaries. Make your limits clear before you get into a sexual situation.

Have Your Own Ride. As you are trying to get to know your date, having your own ride or driving yourself might be a good option to ensure you get home safely. You may also go with another couple and arrange your own transportation, especially if you don’t know your date well.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Avoid Secluded Places. This includes parks or deserted beaches. Meet in public where help will be nearby.

Avoid dangerous situations:

Walk Confidently and Plan Your Route. If you are being followed, go into a store or an area with people or knock on a door for help. Avoid alleys and isolated spots. Don’t wear headphones because staying alert is important.

Keep Your Keys in Hand When Going to Your Car. Check the backseat and underneath the car (from a distance) before getting in. Keep your doors locked and consider carrying a cell phone for extra safety. Never hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker.

Stand Near Others While Waiting for Public Transportation. Stand near others in well-lit areas. Sit near the driver or conductor. Avoid isolated subway cars and bus or train stops.

If You Are Attacked:

Trust Your Instincts and Act Quickly. The greatest chance for escape is usually when an attack begins. Depending on your situation, you can run or scream for help or kick, hit, bite or scratch, etc.

Remember, Your Goal is Survival. If you believe resisting would put your life in greater danger, cooperate. Don’t blame yourself later for what you did or did not do. It’s never the victim’s fault.

Go to a Safe Place. Call a friend or rape crisis center so someone can be with you.

Get Medical Attention. Go to the hospital as soon as possible. Don’t shower, brush your teeth, douche or change your clothes. Doing so might destroy medical evidence.

Report the Rape if Possible. You may report to the police or sheriff. This includes if you are at least 18 years old.

Get Continued Help and Support. Go to a therapist or a rape crisis center or visit some support groups if they are available.

About Self-Defense:

It is not a good idea to carry a weapon unless you are properly trained to use it. Weapons can be turned against you. If you decide to carry a weapon, follow state laws. A course in self-defense can help you think clearly and react quickly.


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