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.
Avoid Dangerous Situations
1. 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.
2. Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
3. Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.
4. Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be.
5. Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable.
6. Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have cab money.
7. Don’t allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.
8. Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.
Protect Yourself in Social Situations
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 in social situations.
1. 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. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation.
2. Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something
suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.).
3. Don’t leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you’ve left your drink alone, just get a new one.
4. Don’t accept drinks from people 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 bowls or other large, common open containers.
5. Watch out for your friends, and vice versa. If a 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.
6. If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.). Be explicit with doctors so they can give you the correct tests (you will need a urine test and possibly others).
From RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). (www.rainn.org)