Protect Yourself from Sexual Assault
The Scouts have it right: always be prepared. Here are some things you can do to lower the risk of assault.
How to protect yourself
At your apartment
• Keep your doors and windows locked. Don't forget balconies. Rapists can come in second or third floor balcony windows.
• Lock your doors during the day. Criminals may enter the home during the day and hide.
• Communicate with your roommates about using locks. Make sure everyone keeps things locked.
• Have plenty of outside lighting. Leave lights on while you are gone.
• Trim shrubs and plants close to doors and windows.
• Get to know your neighbors. Watch out for one another!
• Have your keys ready to use when entering your apartment. Don’t fumble around at the front door.
• List only last name and initials in phone books and on mailboxes.
• Never admit a stranger to your apartment, even if that person looks "safe." Get a peephole, and offer to call 911 if the stranger needs assistance.
• Request that "panic buttons" be installed by your landlord.
On the road
• Keep your car locked.
• Be aware! Criminals are known to hide in the backseat.
• Have your keys ready before you get to your car. If you can, walk with someone to your car.
• Park in well-lit areas.
• If you have car trouble, raise the hood, lock yourself in, and wait for police. If someone stops and offers to help, do not unlock the doors. Ask the person to call for assistance.
• Don’t stop to help stranded motorists: this is a standard scheme used by assailants.
• When giving your keys to parking lot attendants, repair shops, etc. Only give your ignition keys. Never give your apartment key out.
On the town
• Arrange to ride with someone you know well when leaving a party. Never ride with strangers. Don’t assume you are safe.
• If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. If you become intoxicated, you may lose the ability to make wise decisions and/or communicate your feelings appropriately. Some men plan ahead to use alcohol or drugs to intoxicate women.
• Don’t be afraid to make waves if you feel threatened. Loudly protest, leave, or go for help.
• If you’re going to a party, go with a friend. Agree to look out for each other and leave together.
• Don’t drink anything unless you’re absolutely sure it has not been dosed. Date-rape drugs are everywhere, including here in Manhattan.
On a date
• If you’re dating a new person, go on a double date. Go to a public place and/or make sure you have your own transportation. Avoid secluded places.
• Don’t fall for a line. Intimacy can always be stopped without any physical or emotional damage to either party.
• Know your sexual intentions and limits. You have the right to say no to any unwanted sexual activity, at any point. Communicate your limits firmly and directly. Don’t remain quiet because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
• Make some noise. Carry a whistle or noisemaker.
• If you carry a self-defense weapon such as pepper spray, hair spray, or an umbrella, keep it in your hand ready to use. Weapons are often taken away and used against the victim.
• Realize that 9 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.
• Avoid people who show no respect for women. Someone who does not respect women as a group may not respect or hear your wishes regarding sex.
• Do not put personal information—your class/work schedule or vacation times—on social networking sites.
• Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or think you may be at risk, get out of the situation as soon as possible.
Where to get help
Call Mercy Hospital
Emergency room: 785-776-3322
SANE-SART nurses (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Team): 785-323-6880