Knowing the Facts About Rape
Rape is a violent crime - a hostile attack - an attempt to hurt and humiliate. It is NOT the result of "uncontrolled passions." Rape can happen to anyone. Children, grandparents, students, employees, spouses, parents, and males are the victims of rape.
Rape can occur anywhere and at any time in public or in your own home, day or night.
Rapists are not necessarily strangers. In fact, in over one-third of reported cases, the rapist is an acquaintance, neighbor, friend, or relative of the victim.
First, know the facts about rape. Become aware of locations and situations where rape might occur, and avoid them. Consider your alternatives if confronted by a rapist. Practice possible responses so that you can recall them even under the stress of a real encounter. Consider taking a self-defense class.
- Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you - especially if you are alone or it is dark.
- Avoid use of ear buds or headphones for listening to music or talking on a phone while walking around campus as you are less likely to hear an attacker approaching you.
- When possible, walk or travel with a friend.
- Stay in well-lit and well-traveled 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 a rapist can hide.
- If you think you are being followed, walk quickly to areas where there are lights and people.
- If a car appears to be following you, turn and walk in the opposite direction, or walk on the other side of the street.
- If in danger - scream and run, yell fire, or break a window to attract attention.
- Many rapes occur in or near the victim's home. One of the best ways to prevent sexual assault is to practice good home security.
- Install effective locks on all doors and windows - and use them consistently.
- Install a peephole viewer in your door. NEVER open your door without knowing who is on the other side. Require salespersons or repairmen to show identification before you open the door.
- If strangers telephone or come to your door, don't admit that you are alone and don’t open the door.
- If you live in an apartment, avoid being in the laundry room, garage, or other publicly accessible areas by yourself, especially at night.
- If you come home and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, don't go in. Go to the nearest phone and call the police.
- Always lock car doors promptly after entering or leaving your car. Do not rely on self-locking mechanisms to eventually lock your doors.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Have your car keys in your hand and ready so that you don't have to linger before entering your car. Keys can also serve as a possible weapon against an attacker.
- As you approach your car, be alert and look under and around your car for anyone hiding nearby.
- Check the back seat before entering your car.
- If you think you are being followed, drive to a public place or a police station. Do not drive home.
- If your car breaks down, turn on your hazard lights if they are working, and if safe to exit your vehicle, quickly open the hood and attach a white cloth to the car antenna. Return to your car and lock your doors. If someone stops to help, stay in your locked car and ask them to call the police or a garage for assistance to be sent. Never accept a ride from a stranger. Never get out of the car to talk to the stranger.
Remember your main concern must always be your safety. No one can tell you whether you should fight back, submit, or resist. IT DEPENDS ON YOU AND THE SITUATION. However, your best defense is to be prepared - know your options ahead of time. Your safety may depend upon your ability to stay cool and calm. Consider taking a self-defense class at Ohlone or through a community group.
Carrying weapons for self-defense is controversial and sometimes illegal. Be safe - for more information, contact your local law enforcement agency.