Avoid dangerous situations
While you can never completely protect yourself from sexual assault, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation.
- Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
- Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be.
- Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags, as this can make you appear more vulnerable.
- Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have cab money. Enter the cab company’s phone number into your phone.
- Don’t allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.
- Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.
If someone is pressuring you
If someone is pressuring you to engage in sexual activity, it is important to remember that being in this situation is not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong; it is the person who is making you uncomfortable who is to blame. But if you need to get out of an uncomfortable or scary situation, here are some things that you can try:
- Trust your instincts. Don’t feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to. “I don’t want to” is always a good enough reason.
- Be true to yourself. Do what feels right to you and what you are comfortable with.
- Have a code word with your friends or family so that if you don’t feel comfortable you can call them and communicate your discomfort without the person you are with knowing. Your friends or family can then come to get you or make up an excuse for you to leave.
- Lie. If you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings, it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Some excuses you could use are needing to take care of a friend or family member, not feeling well, having somewhere else that you need to be, etc.
- Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors? Windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?
- If you and/or the other person have been drinking, you can say that you would rather wait until you both have your full judgment.
In a social situation
While you can never completely protect yourself from sexual assault, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted in social situations.
- When you go to a party, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check-in with each other and leave together.
- Practice safe drinking. Try not to leave any beverages unattended or accept drinks from someone you don’t know or trust.
- Have a buddy system. Don’t be afraid to let a friend know if something is making you uncomfortable or if you are worried about your or your friend’s safety.
- If someone you don’t know or trust asks you to go somewhere alone, let him or her know that you would rather stay with the group.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation.
**Taken from http://www.rainn.org/