Facts and Information About
- Sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere, at
- The typical stereotype of a sexual assault suspect is a
sex-crazed maniac or psychopath. In reality, people who sexually assault are
not always strangers to their victims. In more than one-third of
reported cases, the rapist is an acquaintance, neighbor, friend or relative.
- Although sexual conduct is a component of this crime,
suspects mainly want to hurt, humiliate and degrade another human being.
Regardless of the sexual nature of the crime, it is a crime of violence!
How can it happen?
Reduce Your Risk
What Should You Do To Prevent Sexual Assault?
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible.
- Walk confidently, directly, at a steady pace. A rapist
looks for someone who appears vulnerable.
- Walk on the side of the street facing traffic.
- Walk close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes and
alleys where rapists can hide.
- If you think you are being followed, walk quickly to
areas where there are people and lights. If a car appears to be following
you, turn and walk in the opposite direction or walk on the other side of
- Be careful when people stop you for directions or
money. Always reply from a distance and never get too close to the car.
- If you are in trouble or feel you are in danger, don't
be afraid to attract help any way you can. Scream, yell or run away to
- Always lock your car. Keep your car locked when you are
away from it to keep someone from hiding and waiting inside. When you are
inside the car, lock the doors for safety.
- Look inside and around your car before you get in.
- Be aware of other people in parking areas, especially
those close to your vehicle.
- If you think you are being followed, drive to a public
place or a police station to get help.
- If your car breaks down, open the hood or attach a
white cloth to the antenna. If someone stops to help, stay inside your
locked vehicle and ask them to call the police.
- If you choose to carry any type of weapon for
self-protection, give careful consideration to your ability and willingness
to use it. Remember there is always the chance that it could be taken away
and used against you.
What Should You Do If You Are A Victim?
Seek help immediately! If you are injured, call 9-1-1 for
medical assistance or go to a hospital emergency room. An important thing to
remember is that you should not touch anything, change your clothes, wash,
bathe, shower or douche until you have been to the hospital and contacted the
police. Doing any of these things will destroy valuable evidence that is needed
by the police and the prosecutor to identify, arrest and convict your attacker.
The emotional impact of a sexual assault is great and both
medical professionals and law enforcement officers know this. It will be
difficult for you to confide in strangers about what has happened to you. Every
effort is made to have family members, friends, clergy or anyone you want
present to provide support during this difficult time.
The Child Victim
Each year thousands of children suffer some type of sexual
abuse. Who is the typical offender? In more than one-third of sexual abuse cases
involving children, the child and his family know the offender. In other words,
the abuser is often a parent, relative or close family friend.
Because children are so trusting and defenseless, they are
especially vulnerable to sexual assault.
Children often make up stories, but they rarely lie about
being a victim of sexual assault. If a child tells you about being touched or
assaulted, take it seriously. Your response helps determine how the child will
react to the abuse. Stay calm. Explain that you are concerned about what
happened, and not angry with the child.
Many children feel guilty as if they provoked the assault.
Children need to be reassured they are not at fault, and they are right to tell
you about what happened.
Sometimes a child may be too frightened or confused to
talk directly about the abuse. Be alert for any changes in behavior that might
hint that the child has suffered a disturbing experience.