Although a large segment of society focuses on rape where the perpetrator is a stranger, the majority of rape cases involve a victim who was previously acquainted with the perpetrator. Rapists plan their attacks in advance, and are looking for opportunities to assault victims. No victim nor any manual/guideline can prevent rape, as it is solely the crime of the perpetrator, but there are some general precautions that can be implemented that can reduce the risk of being assaulted in a social setting.
1. Avoid becoming intoxicated in public and at parties — keep yourself to a 1-2 drink limit. Alcohol decreases awareness, so people are less likely to take note of aggressive or coercive behavior. It is best to stay lucid, especially when with acquaintances and strangers.
2. Always keep your eye on every beverage you drink. Keep it with you always- even to the restroom. Date rape drugs like rohypnol (“roofies”), gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and ketamine, which all can cause loss of or altered consciousness, are easily mixed into drinks when you are not looking. They are mostly tasteless, odorless (difficult to detect) and have no known or easily administered antidotes. Do not drink from communal containers, such as punch bowls.
3. Once you lose sight of your drink, do not consume it any more. A substance could been added to your beverage during your absence, so get another drink. If someone offers to buy you a drink, watch the bartender prepare it and only accept the drink from the bartender.
4. Do not give out personal information (such as your location or mobile number or address) or your daily schedule online. Do not allow new acquaintances to know you are alone at an event or that you live by yourself.
5. Acknowledge and understand that consent to sexual activity can be withdrawn at any time. If you are uncertain that someone wants to engage in further sexual activity, or your sexual partner is not acting responsive to you, then you should stop and ask her/him how s/he feels before proceeding further. Do not take silence as a yes.
6. Communicate your sexual and relationship boundaries clearly. Never assume a person interprets your passivity correctly — where you are disinterested, they may perceive interest or believe that you wish to be pursued. If you are not interested in someone, make that clear to him/her. If a person’s advances make you feel nervous, have nothing to do with them.
7. “No” does not mean “yes, if you pressure someone long enough”. If a person turns you down for either a date or sexual activity, do not continue to press the issue. An individual has the right to end sexual activity, even if they have previously or are currently involved in sexual behavior with you. Do not push personal boundaries.
8. Be cautious if a person habitually tends to negate your opinions and feelings: “You don’t believe that,” or “You really don’t feel that way,”.
9. Be cautious with anyone who displays hostility towards a gender or tends to verbally degrade and stereotype an entire gender: “They’re all bitches or sluts”, “They say one thing when they really mean another,”.
10. Be assertive with anyone who ignores your personal boundaries, regardless of the length of time you’ve been acquainted with the person. You have every right to stop a sexual act from continuing at any time, regardless of your attraction to the other person or any prior sexual acts you have done with them.
11. Make an observation of how an individual treats service staff (waiters, clerks etc. . Is he rude and aggressive with them?
12. Date people whose background you are familiar with in real life. Always meet initial dates in public and do not allow them to come to your home until you have known them for some time. Do not be pressured into inviting an individual into your home, even it’s for an innocuous reason such as having a glass of water or using the bathroom.
13. If you feel uncomfortable during a date, but have no transportation, call a cab. Alternately, use public transport or ask a friend/relative to drop you home. If you have no safe transport, ask a local police person’s help. It is always better to prepare/plan for your return transportation in advance such as being aware of bus timings, cab numbers etc.
14. Avoid going into secluded areas with your date until you have known him for some time. Meet up for dates and leave separately. Or go on double dates until you feel comfortable being alone with your boyfriend/girlfriend.
15. Always let someone know who you are going with and what your itinerary is.
16. Never be alone with people who ignore your personal boundaries. This is specifically directed at individuals who won’t take “no” for an answer when you reject their romantic/sexual overtures and also those who attempt to coerce you into behavior that you find uncomfortable. If someone does this, cut off all communication.
17. A person should never make you feel obligated to engage in a sexual act (this includes kissing) simply because they paid for drinks/dinner/entertainment. You are also not obligated to engage in sexual activity with someone after an ‘X’ amount of dates. Never date a person who espouses those beliefs.
18. Do not go to an apartment or hotel room if you do not know the person well, and don’t let them follow you to your room. Do not give out your room number, and ask hotel/apartment staff not to give out your information to anyone who may call to ask about it. Once you are with someone in their room – or they, in yours – it is much more difficult to extract yourself from a bad situation.
19. If you are at a hotel, nightclub or restaurant alone, ask staff if someone can escort you to your vehicle. Notify staff if someone at the venue is harassing you.
20. Don’t be afraid to leave an uncomfortable environment. If your instincts are warning you to be afraid of a person or a situation, leave immediately.
21. Do not be afraid to make a scene if you feel threatened by an acquaintance. Yell, kick, pound on a wall, throw things, do everything possible to attract outside attention.
22. Act like a “bad” person if you feel threatened. Women especially are taught that in order to be “good,” we must be docile, accepting, quiet and polite. This is wrong, especially at times when you feel threatened. If your instincts tell you that you need to get away from someone, get away and don’t worry about hurting his/her feelings or causing a scene.
23. When going out with friends, watch out for each other. Arrive together, check in with each other at various intervals, and leave together. Don’t allow anyone you do not know take your friend somewhere else, even if it’s not that far away, without checking on your friend first. If a friend appears intoxicated or high, escort them to a safe place immediately.
24. Do not personally engage in or allow anyone in your presence to engage in sexual behavior with a highly intoxicated, high or unconscious individual. If you believe that a person is unable to give consent at that time, or that they are being coerced into a sexual act, make a scene. Tell the perpetrator(s) that you don’t approve of what he/they are doing, demand that the perpetrator(s) stop, and call the police.
25. Resist peer influence to join in on any abusive or criminal act.
26. Offer assistance if you feel that someone is at risk or is being targeted for sexual assault. Call a cab, offer to escort someone home if a situation seems to be getting out hand.
27. If you witnessed what you believe is a sexual assault, or an individual admits to having committed a sexual assault, you are obligated to report this information to the police.
28. During a sexual assault, a victim should follow her instincts, while observing the behavior of the rapist as much as possible. If you find yourself in this situation, do what your instincts tell you to do to survive.
29. Be aware of rape myths and the damage they do to victims, both genders, and general societal perceptions of the nature of sexual assault. Nobody “invites” sexual assault.
- Aim for the eyes and nose, it can impair his sight. Or if you palm him in the nose bone fragment can travel up to his brain and kill him. Or knocking him in the nose can distract him. He will most likely suspect the groin. But you can go for that too.
- Do not wait to tell someone what happened to you. Do so immediately. It can be extremely painful to recount the incident so soon after it happened, but the longer you wait, the greater the danger of it becoming a “he said/she said” situation, especially if your assailant is famous or well-respected in the community.
- If he pushes you against a wall and grabs your neck move your arms in a counter-clockwise motion and push his arm down away from you.
- Bring emergency cash for a cab ride home and don’t spend it. You may need it for other situations, like being dumped on the roadside or something. If in a foreign country, always possess the name, front desk phone number and your hotel address, (but never your room number) written in a language the cabbie will know. Leave information about where you’ll be, with whom, and when you should return to your room- and how someone might find you.
- Call your parents if you are stranded somewhere- or a friend who will help. What’s the worst thing you parents can do compared to being raped, killed, or any other unfortunate things? Never feel that you can’t call a parent or a close friend.
- If you go with a group, try and set guidelines before getting drunk. For example, ask your friends not to let you go home with a stranger after you are drunk, no matter how much you tell them that you feel “fine”.
- If you must run, take off your heels and go, you are more likely to fall and hurt yourself in heels. Or take off your heels and stab the creep in the face with them.
- Be cautious of large punch bowls or drinks served by others as drugs are easily slipped into them.
- Trust your instincts! If you feel uncomfortable in any way DO NOT TRY TO NORMALIZE IT! Tell your date you are sick and about to vomit, or get out of the situation some way. Never doubt your instincts or say you are misjudging him/her. Many look back and realize they had uncomfortable feelings before something bad happened.
- If the worst should happen, get to the nearest emergency room immediately. Do not bathe, change your clothes or wait until morning. This could compromise or destroy evidence that you were raped and make it much more difficult for the authorities to build a case against your assailant. Physical evidence is your greatest weapon against the person who hurt you.
- Go to parties with a sober friend or a designated observer who is not drinking, who can watch and protect you.
- Open your drinks yourself, and don’t share drinks.
- If they have any sexually oriented items that make you feel uncomfortable, don’t say anything. Just get out of there!
- If you absolutely must, disable a would-be-rapist so that you can escape.
- Place several people that love you and would answer and respond to your calls on speed dial. Then, if you are ever in a compromising situation, just hit one number and call without anyone knowing.
- Always carry your own car keys to get away and use as weapons.
- Don’t go out with strangers.
- Keep your wits about you- stay sober.
- Instead of screaming “Rape!” scream “Fire!” It is more clear and more people would actually try to do something about it.
- When walking to your car hold your keys like a knife, be ready to stab the creep in the eyes and make him scream. Carry pepper spray at all times in your purse. Attract as much attention as you can.
- If in a group, look out for each other and don’t let group members wander off alone or with someone unknown to the group.
- In some cultures, Western women are perceived as “easy.” This creates many problems for traveling women, like an unexpected danger because you may not have done anything that you perceive as provocative. To be safe, NEVER ASSUME THAT THERE IS A NON-SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN- no matter what age- AND ACT ACCORDINGLY. In many cultures, men and women are never casual, asexual friends and if you assume there is a sexual undercurrent (even if it is the last thing you’d imagine) prepare to protect yourself.
- If he/she starts touching tell them forcefully to stop and walk away, preferably to a place where people are.
- Always stay alert and aware of your situation.
- If the offender/rapist is trying to touch or assault you, put your hand in front of you and recite “STOP IT” or kick them in their groin. Never throw a punch unless necessary, it may give easy access to assault you even more.
- While you should do everything in your power to defend yourself, try and evaluate the situation. Keep “punishment should fit the crime” in mind. Don’t break someone’s nose because they asked for a dance twice or you may have to face assault charges. In any case better safe than sorry; if in doubt, it is better to face potential charges than get raped.
Source: Bara Murali