May 23, 2014

Moms and Daughters: Tips to Protect Yourself from Being a Victim

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

The Facts

  • 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.

The Effects

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 deuteronomysix@aol.com by next Friday with your full name and mailing address.**

Blessings,

Comments

  1. Hi Wendy, I shared this link on my Facebook timeline for all of my family & friends to read. It’s definitely a must read post. I shared this link in hopes of bringing awareness of the steps one can take to protect yourself. I wanted to share it with as many ladies as possible. Sexual abuse has personally touched my life in my early childhood. Coping with the lingering effects from that is something I would not wish on anybody ever. I’ve found it very hard. I am getting through my own process with it now but it’s been very slow going at times. I’m very thankful to God for bringing me to that place in my life 3 years ago where things weren’t working for me anymore & I knew I needed to seek out help through counseling. I was a part of your Hidden Joy book study through P31 ministries too. At some point I would like to go back through that study again since when I did it the first time I was in the very beginning stages of getting help. Thank you for all you have done for women everywhere Wendy! I can’t wait to read the new book!

    • Trish, thank you for taking the time to share a bit of your story and for your kind words about the post. It means so much that you are sharing it!!

      I am so sorry for the abuse you suffered at the hands of an adult as a child. It breaks my heart to hear it. I am thankful you are seeking healing from the ONE and only ONE Who can fully and completely heal such deep wounds. As you seek Him more, He will be faithful to heal those wounds and make all things new!! If you go through Hidden Joy again, I pray that as God exposes you to His Word as shared through my story it will penetrate deep places and stir up all that is hidden and put it up against HIS TRUTH and expose any lies you may be believing. I pray the Lord will heal your heart fully and completely and restore fully to you the JOY of your salvation!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  2. Theresa Frerking says:

    Hello Wendy!
    Thank you for the great information your shared today. I forwarded it to a number of moms I know who have college aged daughters. As I clicked send, I said a prayer for each one, for His protection, but also for His wisdom to make good and safe choices.
    God bless you sister!

    • Thank you for sharing this and also for the prayers you offered up for each woman. What a precious gift!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  3. Thank you, Wendy! I shared this with both of my daughters, my mother, my best friend and my facebook. You cannot hear this information too many times. These women are so important to me; I truly appreciate your clear, concise, empowering message!

    • Thank you for sharing, Toshua!! And for your kind words. I am praying it will make a difference!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  4. Thank you for all the great info. I realized I’m not as safe as I thought I was being. :-/ I shared your email with all the wonderful women in my family.

    • Thanks for sharing! And, yes, I think we all get comfortable in our lives. I pray these words of wisdom I have learned help keep you safe and make you feel more confident as you go out and about.

      Blessings,
      Wendy

  5. Becky Steinberger says:

    Thank you for sharing this Wendy! I have shared it on my timeline. I want to be able to help others that have gone thru what we have. In my case it happened 39 years ago and i still have issues! people can not be to careful!

    • Becky, thank you for sharing. And I pray that the Lord will help you work through your issues. HE IS ABLE!! I pray you receive healing through His Word and restoration through the power of His Holy Spirit.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  6. Shelly Green says:

    Thank you Wendy! I know several people who have been in these kind of situations. May I add a couple of other notes? One of my friends was date raped…by a cousin…he had been making advances towards her all evening. If ANYONE you know is acting inappropriately, please be on guard!

    And just yesterday, I was at a garage sale, sifting through the books. A little voice kept insisting that I purchase a book, Katie.com (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/443997.Katie_com). I have no idea at this time who the book is intended to go to, but it is the story of Katie, who at age 13, met a guy on the internet. He was not a boy her age, and all manner of bad things happened.

    So I say in addition to being aware of your surroundings, you must also be aware of the internet dangers.

    Bless you for being strong and sharing your story, you will touch so many lives!

    • Shelly, these are GREAT tips! Thank you so much for sharing. Especially the Internet tip. That is such a scary place for kids and young adults today.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  7. Mitzii Roughface says:

    I shared these with the ladies around my office and other friends, I even shared it with some men to pass on to their ladies.

    A local new anchor give talks like you shared. She reports on the crimes in our city. One thing she suggest is to practice remembering what someone looks like when they pass you…their clothes, hair, skin color, age, etc. She said her mother used to laugh at her for doing this when they’d go shopping together. One day it paid off for her. She was approached by a man at a gas station one evening, luckily she was able to avoid the assult because she instinctively paid attention to her intuition. She was also able to describe him from his hat down to the whole in his shoe. She didn’t realize she had noticed all these things about him, but because of her practice, she did. They found him a few blocks away because she was able to describe him so well.

    We can never be to careful. Don’t question your intuition about people you know either. God gave us intuition for a reason.

    • Thank you for sharing. And OMGoodness!! What a great practice to get into…remembering what people look like and “practicing” while you are out. Just today, I saw a suspicious car parked outside a school. I called the office after I drove away and realized I could barely describe the car besides its color and number of doors. Thanks for sharing this wisdom with us!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  8. Wendy, I shared your story on my timeline. God will use this information to save someone. The information is common sense but we do think it will not happen to us. They just showed on the news how when you are shopping and you are distracted, especially mom with small childrens, they steal your purse. Blessings Diana

    • Thank you for sharing this with your friends and for what you learned on the news. We don’t have to walk around scared…just educated…and observant.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  9. Dear Wendy,
    Thank you for taking this difficult subject on, and out into the light. So necessary and not easy. My daughter is almost 16 and the fears I have for her are growing as she makes her way into the world. She has not even had her first kiss yet, and I pray almost daily that her life is always so sweet. I copied and pasted your suggestions onto a word doc and printed it for her. She has heard me tell here all of this but I know the more I say it or show it to her, the better chances the behaviors will become second nature to her. Thank you again.

    • Shelly, it means so much you shared it with your daughter. Thank you! It gives purpose to my attack when I know God opens doors for me to educate and help others!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  10. Jeanie Kelley says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I think this was such a good blog. Before Warren and I got married I had taken tae kwon do learning self defense. I had a client that I was doing for and he gave me the willies. His mom and dad would never be over to sit with him while I was there working so I made up my mind to do something like self defense. I learned a lot from it. They also had a self defense for women as well and enjoyed that immensely. Thanks again for posting.

    • Jeanie, I’m sure taking such a class is very empowering and you carry yourself with greater confidence. Great advice to share!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  11. Wendy, I am going to print this out and forward this email to those I know that have daughters going away to college or already in college, but also forwarding to friends and family to read and share as well! Thank you!

  12. sharing this with my 18 year old daughter. At that age you just don’t think anything can happen to you.

    • Vicki, I totally agree. Sometimes it helps for them to hear a story of an event happening to someone who was/is their age. Thank you for sharing it with her.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  13. Wendy,
    You have really opened my eyes… and I’m so glad you did! This is invaluable… for me… my daughter… and for educating EVERYone! I can’t thank you enough. Thank you for revisiting such horrific memories in order to bless us with these needed measures of safety! What a gift you are… Love you.

    • As you know, I want to honor God’s Word and take what man intended for evil and use it as God would want it used… for our good and His glory!!

      Love you,

      wendy

  14. Scream - for hELp says:

    The thing you can do immediately, is scream. God says so.
    People are supposed to come and help you if they hear you scream because there is someone/ something currently threatening you.

    It’s God’s rule and system, and he makes it work, I have seen it work so many times. Please don’t forget this. If you have called on God, he will answer somehow. When you use God’s screaming rule, you call on him, and he is awesome and mighty to save.

    Even if you get stuck, you have called on God, and God will not forget you.

    • Yes, this is always a great option if we are somewhere out where people can hear us. Some people even say don’t scream for help but yell fire because that will really get people to stop and pay attention!

      Blessings,
      Wendy

  15. Wendy,
    Thank you for helping women identify vulnerable areas where they may become victims. You have opened my eyes and I am sharing this information with my friends, teenage students, and daughter when she becomes old enough to understand. Your advice for after such a horrific event is so helpful. If you hadn’t shared, we wouldn’t know. I am grateful God gives you the confidence to use your story for His glory by raising awareness, and helping women find restoration and redemption in Christ. I’m grateful for you.
    You are truly a blessing to so many…

    • Mindy, thank you for your kind words and for sharing my message with friends and family. That is why I wrote it, so it means so much to hear that you have shared it.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

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