Preventative Measures Against Rape
It happens on streets, in cars, in schools, in parks, and in alleys. The rapist has no regard for age, race, or social status. Rape is not a selective crime. It is in most cases, random. Personal safety, however, must begin with the individual. Help protect yourself by taking the steps to protect yourself from sexual assault.
Safety at Home
- Replace or re-key locks when you move into a new home or apartment. Install a door viewer and a 1-inch deadbolt lock and use them. Look before opening your door to anyone.
- Keep doors locked at all times and instruct children never open your door to anyone.
- Require all strangers to show identification. If you haven't called for a repairman, don't let one inside. Leave him waiting outside and call his place of business to verify his reason for being in your area.
Rape Risk Reduction
Rape is the fastest rising violent crime in America. What can we do to prevent this crime from happening to you? Listed below are safety tips for you to follow that can reduce your risk of assault and/or rape:
- Secure your car and home. Keep a large flashlight, a cell phone, a map of the city you are in, and $5 to $10 with you when in a car. The flashlight can be used as a light or weapon; the phone is to call for help; and the money is for car emergencies only (e.g., new windshield wipers or gas). Always keep your doors and windows locked and evaluate the effectiveness of the locks. Never open your door to a stranger and never tell them you are alone.
- Avoid unsafe situations and strangers. If you are being followed, go to the nearest police or fire department, or any place where several people will be (convenience stores, gas station, etc.) Walk in groups at night.
- Flee if you are in a potentially dangerous situation. Yell or scream to attract attention. Carry a whistle that will make a loud noise.
- Engage in passive or active resistance. Passive resistance is to think and talk your way out of a situation. Active resistance is to react immediately to startle your attacker. Use any available item (hairspray, keys, purse, etc.) as a weapon.
- Think! Keep using your mind to think of alternative actions for escape.
- You are responsible for your own safety. Call your local police department or rape crisis center and set up a schedule for a law enforcement officer to speak to your employees or neighbors.
- Don't let a stranger inside your home to use the phone; make the call for him.
- Never admit that you or a neighbor are home alone.
- Women living alone should use only initials on mailboxes and in telephone listings.
- Leave outside lights on at night, and keep lights on in more than 1 room.
- If you receive an obscene phone call just hang up and don't react.
Safety Tips While Walking
- When possible, avoid walking alone. Walk with someone, or walk in areas where other people are near.
- Stay in well-lighted areas, away from alleys, bushes, and entryways.
- Avoid shortcuts through parks, vacant lots, and other deserted places.
- Don't hitchhike or accept rides from strangers.
- If a driver stops to ask you directions, avoid getting near the car.
- If you are being followed, go to the nearest business or residence for help.
- If you are harassed by the occupants of a car, simply turn and walk the other direction. The driver will have to turn around to follow you.
- Hold your purse close, not dangling, and avoid carrying extra money or valuables on your person.
- When you return home, have your door key ready so that you can enter without delay.
- Don't walk or jog at night wearing headphones. You need to be able to hear someone driving up or walking up behind you.
Above all, be aware of the people around you. Be aware of your surroundings and the total environment.
Safety Tips While Driving
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- Keep car doors locked at all times. While walking to your car, look under car.
- Before entering your car, look into the back seat and on floor board.
- Always have your keys ready to unlock the car door and enter without delay. Never walk across the parking lot digging in your purse for your keys; have them in your hand before leaving the building.
- Make certain that you have enough gas to get where you are going and always keep your vehicle in good running condition.
- If possible, travel on well lit, busy streets and avoid isolated back roads and short cuts.
- If your are being followed, drive to the nearest open business for help, or drive to the police or fire station.
- Never leave your house keys with your car keys at a service station or parking lot.
- Women driving alone should never stop to aid a stranger in a stalled vehicle. Proceed to an open business, and report the stalled vehicle to the police.
- If you have trouble, raise the hood, and stay in your vehicle. When someone offers assistance, roll the window down just enough to talk to them. Ask them to stop at the first phone to call a relative, friend, garage, or the police for you. Never get into a stranger's car.
Safety Tips for Youth
- Children should be made aware of the dangers of accepting rides from or talking to strangers.
- Children should be encouraged to talk with their parents if they ever have a problem, not only with a stranger but also with a friend or relative.
- Children should know a safe, well-traveled route to take to and from school. Isolated areas should be avoided.
- Teenage baby-sitters should not accept jobs with people they do not know, or who have not been referred by people they know.
- Babysitters should call the police immediately if anything suspicious happens at the house. They should never open the door for strangers.
- The sitter's parents should be called at the end of the evening to inform them that the sitter will be home shortly.
- You may follow the advise and safety tips recommended and still find yourself confronted by an attacker. If it happens, you will have only seconds to decide your method of defense, so you must prepare mentally for the possibility of rape happening to you.
Reporting a Rape
The police can only arrest a criminal if they are made aware of the offense. If you are raped, call 911 or the Police Department at 414-351-9900 immediately. Do not change clothes or take a bath or shower and do not eat, smoke, or chew gum. All physical evidence, including seminal fluids, hair, blood types, and scrapings of flesh form the victim's nails are used in court. Avoid using the bathroom prior to the exam if possible.
Information Most Needed by the Police
- Car license plate, and the make, model, and color of the car
- Race of assailant
- Approximate age, weight, and height
- Hair color and length of hair
- Color of eyes
- Any unusual marks, scars, tattoos, rings, etc.
- Any facial hair or odors
Practice being observant so that if you are raped or attacked you will be able to remember and identify the assailant.