Let me be really clear from the beginning of this post if you have been sexually assaulted, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. PERIOD. No matter what you did or did not do the choice was 100% the decision of the perpetrator. They could have chosen to not violate you, but they did not make that choice, so it is THEIR fault and only theirs.
Now with that said, I want to offer you some tips that can perhaps help protect you from being a victim of sexual assault, but I want you to understand that even if you follow all these steps or if you slip up on one of them, and you experience a sexual assault, it still is not your fault. These tips are simply meant to help make you more aware and lessen your chances.
15 Tips for Protecting Yourself from Sexual Assault
1. Trust your instincts. If your gut is telling you that you should not be alone with someone, leave. If you feel the party, you are at is getting a little too out of control, get out. If you are starting to get creeped out by how someone is looking at you or what they are saying to you, call a cab or find a friend.
2. Be prepared. Before you go out make sure your phone is fully charged, carry some cash, and have the number of a cab company programmed into your phone.
3. Don't share too much online about what your plans are. 61% of attackers are known by the victim.
Listen to this live call from Missy who was almost raped by her dad's friend.
If you have been sexually assaulted, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. PERIOD. No matter what you did or didn't do the choice was 100% the decision of the perpetrator. They could have chosen to not violate you, but they did not make that choice, so it is THEIR fault and only theirs.
At a Party
4. Stick together with your friends or let them know where you are going. It does not hurt to have code words to alert a friend if you are getting uncomfortable.
5. Be aware of your alcohol consumption. My first recommendation is don't drink especially if you are underage. But if you are going to have a drink, know your limits. There is no disputing the fact that alcohol compromises your ability to make responsible decisions and be accurately aware of your situation. Over half of sexual assaults among college students involve alcohol.
6. If you do have a drink, don't let it out of your site. You never know when someone might slip something into your drink. If you leave it unattended, get a new drink. Never accept a drink from someone you don't know.
7. Be ready to speak up to help someone out. If a situation seems wrong, step up. Find others to support you and then offer some distraction to rescue a friend or peer from a questionable situation.
When Walking Alone
8. Keep your eyes scanning - Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings.
9. Keep your ears listening - Don't have earphones in
10. Keep your feet moving - Walk with a purpose
11. Choose a smart route - Try to stick to well-traveled areas even if it is not the most direct path
On a Date
12. Tell a friend where you are going
13. Don't compromise your standards - Set your boundaries and be firm. I don't want to is a good enough reason.
14. Understand that consent to sexual activity can be withdrawn at any time.
15. If your date is making you uncomfortable - call a friend and use a code word, or, if you can, make an excuse and leave.
Since 1993, sexual assaults have declined by 60%. So, it is possible that by raising awareness and taking precautions, we can keep lowering the number of incidents.
If you are a survivor of a sexual assault, please take care of yourself and know that there is help for you.
Here are some resources for you:
Sexual Abuse and Assault Resources - The following are trusted resources from TheHopeLine and our partners to help survivors of sexual assault and their loved ones.
RAINN - Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization.