It is one of those things that makes me furious, and helpless. Helpless to prevent those I love from being one in six women or one in thirty three men that are victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
I just participated in the first part of an event this evening. Take Back the Night is a protest against sexual assault and domestic violence. I've always felt strongly about this. But after tonight's event something else crept in. Helplessness. I am only one person. I can't save everyone. I can try, but it isn't possible or even realistic. What is possible is for me to share with you what I've learned. I'll try to keep it short.
Most perpetrators know their victims. 62% of rape and sexual assault victims knew the perpetrator. More than 40% of rapes and sexual assaults came at the hands of a person the female victim called friend or acquaintance. Female victims identified intimate partners as the perpetrator in 18% of rapes and sexual assaults.
Females age 12 to 24 are at the greatest risk for experiencing rape or sexual assault.
Boys who witness their fathers violence are 10 times more likely to engage in spouse abuse later in adulthood than boys from non-violent homes.
No one deserves to be raped. Being in a guy's place does NOT mean that a woman has agreed to have sex with him. Even being ready to go does NOT mean that a woman has agreed to anything. Don't fall for that blue balls bullshit. He'll get over it. Men are capable of exercising restraint upon sexual urges. Everyone's right to say "NO" should be honored, regardless of the activity that preceded it.
The fact that a woman has been drinking does NOT imply consent.
Women do not enjoy being raped.
Tips for keeping yourself safe
- Be aware of your situation.
- Watch for warning signs - being alone with someone you don't know or someone that insists on making all the decisions.
- Trust your feelings.
- Give yourself permission to be impolite or overcautious.
- User assertive resistance.
- Don't blame yourself for the situation.
- Use the buddy system because there is strength in numbers.
- Leave with people when you leave the clubs, parties, meetings, etc.
- Ask questions now. Who is this person? What is their full name? What are their references?
- Be alert.
- NEVER leave your drink unattended.
- Communicate your limits clearly.
- Self - Defense. Learn to defend yourself. I can help you with this. Ask me how.
- Tell someone you trust where you are, where you are going, etc.
- Keep gas in your car and keep it running well.
- Always park your car in well lit areas and always lock your doors especially when you are in the car.
- Avoid walking alone if you are upset. I've seen this happen so many times.
- Avoid a false sense of security.
- If you see someone being hassled help them or call for help.
- Practice your self defense training with friends. I CAN HELP!
- Don't listen to you, ignore what you say, or pretend not to hear you. Perpetrators generally have little respect for their victims.
- Ignore your personal space boundaries.
- Push you to drink beyond your tolerance level or wait to make their move until you are extremely intoxicated.
- Use hostile or possessive language about their victims. Words like bitch, whore, or stupid or derogatory language. They may refer to their partner as their possession. This is objectification.
- Have wrong or unrealistic ideas about women.
- A push for quick involvement. Take it slow, there should never be a rush.
- Verbal abuse.
- Sudden mood swings.
- Past battering.
- Threats of violence.
- Above all else, believe her.
- Acknowledge and support her for talking to you.
- Let her know that you consider her feelings reasonable and normal.
- Let her lead the conversation.
- If she asks you to do something you can't or don't want to do, say so.
- Tell her you care about her and her safety.
- Don't blame her for the abuse.
- Offer your help to find resources in the community for protection.
- Respect her pace and be patient.
- Remind her of her strengths, accomplishments, and positive attitudes.
- Always support her when she acts on her own behalf.
- Remind yourself that many communities still don't protect women's rights.
- With her permission, work on expanding her circle of support.
- Call police as soon as possible. DIAL 911 and tell them that you have been assaulted. If your keys are stolen with your information:
- Don't return home. If you have a roommate, call home and tell them, and replace your locks.
- Seek medical help.
- Have any police officer you speak with provide you with their name, badge number and your file number.
- Don't be ashamed, remember it's not your fault. Ask a friend to be with you as soon as possible.
- Try to detail on paper a description of the attackers and the incident.
- Seek help.
- RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline 1 800 656 HOPE (4673)
- Maricopa County Sexual Assault Hotline 480 736 4949