How I wish someone had shared with me what I’m about to share with you. If they had, perhaps the events of June 7, 1987 would have ended very differently.
Today I’m continuing the post I began on Monday, sharing my journey of healing from sexual assault…from victim to victor! To read the post, click here. For a free chapter from my book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, sharing my story, click here.
A few years ago, Oprah Radio invited me to Chicago to share my story and the facts, statistics and practical lessons I learned from my experience. I’m sharing that same information with you today. I write this NOT to instill fear but to inform and educate. I invite you to read through to the end…inform and educate yourself… and share it with your friends. Today we’ll take about…
- The facts
- The effects
- Ways to prevent becoming a victim
- What to do if it happens to you
- Did you know that 1 out of 4 college women are sexually assaulted every year?
- Did you know that 1 out of 6 women some time during their lifetime will be the victim of sexual assault?
- Did you know that approximately 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported every year? And 97 percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail.
Victims of sexual assault are:
- 3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
- 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
- 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
- 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
- 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
(Statistics taken from RAINN )
For help, contact 1-800-656-HOPE
Ways to Prevent Becoming a Victim
Monday I shared spiritual lessons I’ve learned through my journey of healing. But I have also gained practical wisdom and want to pass it on to you to keep you S.A.F.E and protect you and those you love from being a victim.
Sexual assault Is A Crime Of Opportunity!!! What do I mean by that? Rarely is a woman assaulted by a stalker. A perpetrator selects his victim because, by her unintentional actions, she has made herself an easy target. By following a few simple steps, you can avoid being an easy target. I learned some of these first hand. Please share them with all the women you know!
S – Avoid Compromising Situations
When you go out….
- never leave your drink unattended (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
- never accept a drink from a stranger and accept drinks only when you see the bartender pour it and hand it directly to you
- never leave the keys to your home with anyone (valet, service station, car wash)
- never be alone with someone you do not know
- always be sure a friend or family member knows who you are with and where you are going
A – Be Aware of Your Surroundings
- know where you are at all times
- know what is going on around you
- know who is around you
- never have conversations within range of a stranger that reveal you will be home alone, closing a business alone, traveling alone, etc.
F – Go With Your Feelings
- if your intuition tells you something is not right, pay attention and respond (chills down your spine, hair stands on end)
- flee if you feel uneasy or uncomfortable
- call 911 if you sense danger
- never ignore your feelings because they may save your life
E – Don’t Be An Easy Target
- secure your home and car by locking your doors and windows at ALL times
- never walk alone at night ANYWHERE
- never open your door to a stranger and ALWAYS ask for identification when expecting workmen
Some of these sound simple and obvious. But I violated three of these prevention steps. I had a conversation outside at the pool which unintentionally announced to everyone around me that I would be home alone that afternoon. We left our front door unlocked, which allowed the rapist easy access. I had a “strange” sensation when I walked in the apartment and saw our front door locked because we usually left it unlocked for each other. But I ignored that “feeling” and walked up the stairs right into the arms of an armed, masked man.
THE KEY TO AVOID BEING A VICTIM IS AWARENESS. Please read these, learn them, and follow them! Pass them on to your friends. You may very well save a life!
What to Do If It Happens to You
- Immediately call 911 no matter what your attacker threatens
- Do not change your clothes
- Do not shower
- Do not move or remove any item from the location of the attack
- Write down anything you can remember immediately (race, age, height, weight, hair color, hair length, eye color, distinguishing marks, facial hair, clothes, weapon, odors
- Go to the emergency room
This is a message I’ve shared on many college campuses and radio and television interviews. I invite you to share what you have learned today with those in your sphere of influence…women you care about…it could save a life! If you do, please leave a comment and let me know who you shared it with and why. Just as I did Monday, I will do a giveaway. But today I will choose two comments to win a copy of my new book, Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life.
**The winners of Hidden Joy from the Monday post are Kat who posted on May 19th at 1:53 pm and JJWD who posted on May 19 at 4:55 pm. Please contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org by next Friday with your full name and mailing address.**