24 Hour Crisis Helpline: (386) 437-3505  (Voice/TDD/TTY)

Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a crime of motive and opportunity and the majority of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. Ultimately, there is no surefire way to prevent an attack. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the Family Life Center Crisis Hotline at 386-437-3505, the National Rape Crisis Hotline at 1-888-956-RAPE (7273), and the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

While you can never completely protect yourself from sexual assault, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted.

Avoiding Dangerous Situations

Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation.
Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.
Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be.
Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable.
Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have cab money.
Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be.
Don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.
Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.

In Social Situations

When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together.
Don't leave your drink unattended while dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you leave your drink alone, just get a new one.
Don't accept a drink from someone you don't know or trust. If you choose to accept a drink, go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself.
At parties, don't drink from the punch bowl or other shared open containers.
Keep an eye on your friends, and vice versa.
If your friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they've had, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place immediately. If you suspect that you or a friend have been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately.
Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you find a way out of a bad situation.
Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately (local law enforcement can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.)

If Someone is Pressuring You

Remember that being in this situation is not your fault. It is the person who is making you uncomfortable that is to blame.
Be true to yourself. Don't feel obligated to do anything you don't want to do. "I don't want to" is ALWAYS a good enough reason.
Have a code word with your friends or family so if you feel uncomfortable in a situation you can communicate your discomfort without the person you are with knowing. Your friends or family can then come to get you or make up an excuse for you to leave.
Lie. If you don't want to hurt the person's feelings, or if you are afraid, it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and feel uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Some excuses you could use are: not feeling well, having somewhere else to be at a certain time, or that you have to take care of a sick family member.
Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors and windows? Are there people around who might help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?

For more information on how to protect yourself or your children from sexual violence, please visit www.rainn.org.