Risk Reduction

Risk Reduction Tips from GNESA

 

One of the most important issues that our society faces is the prevention of sexual assault. However, it is important to remember that only the rapist can prevent rape. While you can take basic steps to reduce the risk of being sexually assaulted, you can’t prevent sexual assault from occurring. Because the responsibility for preventing rape is on the rapist, you should never place blame and think that you could have prevented rape or sexual assault.

 

Danger Signals

 

Beware of anyone who:

  • Does not listen to what you say, ignores you, or talks over you

  • Invades your personal space boundaries

  • Does what they want regardless of what you want

  • Makes you feel guilty if you are not comfortable having sex

  • Is excessively jealous or possessive

  • Drinks heavily

  • Deals with stress by raising his/her voice or uses physical force

 

General recommendations for reducing risk:

 

  • Set sexual limits. It is your body, and no one has the right to force you to do anything you do not want to do. The sooner you communicate firmly and clearly your sexual intentions the easier it will be for your partner to hear and accept your decision.

 

  • Be assertive on your dates. Do not do anything you do not want to just to avoid disagreement or unpleasant interaction.

 

  • Maintain control of your comfort level. If you feel things are getting out of your control, be loud in protesting, leave, or go for help.

 

  • Use a confident voice and body posture. If you want the person to stop, look directly at him or her and say “NO” in a firm, serious voice.

 

  • Trust your intuition. If you feel uncomfortable, scared, or pressured, voice your discomfort or leave the situation.

  • Avoid secluded places.

 

On dates or in social situations

  • Don’t leave your drink unattended

  • Get your own drink and open it yourself

  • Have your own ride home

  • Avoided secluded places

  • Avoid people who ignore your feelings or try to make decisions for you

  • Always let somebody know where you are going to be

  • Set limits for yourself

  • Be assertive and say what you want

 

At home

  • Leave some lights on when you’re not at home

  • Use the “peepholes” when someone is at the door

  • Never allow a stranger to enter when you are alone

  • Use deadbolt locks when home alone

 

Walking

  • Plan your route and walk confidently

  • Avoid alleys and other isolated spots

  • Be aware of who is around you

  • If you are being followed, go into a store or knock on a door for help

 

In your car

  • Have your keys out and ready when walking to your car, especially at night

  • Check the back seat and underneath your car before getting in it

  • Keep your car doors locked, even when you are in it

  • If possible, carry a cell phone

 

On the phone

  • If you receive an obscene phone call, just hang up

  • Don’t let anyone know that you are home by yourself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Important Reminder

 

 

No one asks to be sexual assaulted, even if:

  • You feel she/he is teasing you

  • She/he dresses provocatively and leads you on

  • You think “no” means “yes”

  • You have had sex with her/him before

  • You have paid for dinner and/or given her/him expensive gifts

  • You think she/he enjoys being forced or persuaded to have sex

  • She/he is under the influence of alcohol or drugs

 

Guidelines for prevention

  • Be clear about how your partner feels. If you are confused about the messages you are getting, ask for clarification.

  • Do not assume you know your partner’s comfort level in intimate situations. You and your partner may not want the same degree of intimacy. Do not pressure your partner into any sexual activity.

  • If your partner is not comfortable with having sex, do not feel rejected as a person. Your partner is expressing a decision about participating in a single act at that time.

  • Be clear that sexual excitement does not justify forced sex.

  • Realize that desire for affection is not the same as desire for sex.

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