Prevention & Resources
You can't completely protect yourself from sexual assault, but there are things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
- Notice who is out there and what is going on.
- Lock your door and windows, even if you leave for just a few minutes. Don't prop open self-locking doors.
- Know who's on the other side of the door before you open it.
- Watch your keys. Don't lend them, leave them or lose them...and have them ready to use.
- Be wary of isolated spots, like underground garages, offices after business hours, and apartment laundry rooms.
- Park in well-lit areas and lock the car, even if you will only be gone a few minutes.
Plan for Safety
- Keep your car in good shape, with plenty of gas in the tank.
- Avoid walking or jogging alone, especially at night. Vary your route. Stay in well-traveled, well-lit areas.
- In case of car trouble, call for help on your cell phone. If you do not have a phone, put the hood up, lock the doors, and put a banner in the rear window that says, "Help. Call Police."
- Learn about "date rape" drugs that can be slipped into a drink when you're not looking. Never leave your drink unattended, no matter where you are. If you've left your drink alone, just get a new one.
- When you go to a social gathering, go with friends. 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.
Be Self Aware
- Walk with confidence. The more confident you look, the stronger you appear.
- Be assertive - don't let anyone violate your space.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, call 911 immediately.
- Know your limits when it comes to using alcohol.
Educate Yourself and Others
The following resources will help you to
- Understand the range of behaviors that constitute sexual violence
- Discover what you can do to reduce your risk of sexual assault
- Recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships
- Learn how to make a difference
Love Is Respect
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
The No More Project
Womanshelter/Compañeras (Domestic abuse resources for the Pioneer Valley)
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center
The United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women