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The Facts About Sexual Assault

The Victim:

Sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time!

The Suspect:

The typical stereotype of a sexual assault suspect is a sex-crazed maniac or psychopath. In reality, people who sexually assault are not always  strangers to their victims. In more than one-third of reported cases, the rapist is an acquaintance, neighbor, friend or relative.

The Crime:

Although sexual conduct is a component of this crime, suspects mainly want to hurt, humiliate and degrade another human being. Regardless of the sexual nature of the crime, it is a crime of violence!

How can it happen?

bullet"When the salesman knocked on the door, I let him in. He was friendly at first, then all of a sudden he grabbed me."
bullet"I was downstairs in the laundry room of our apartment building. I had been there alone many times before, but this time...."
bullet"I was walking to work in broad daylight. A car stopped next to me. The driver leaned over and asked for directions. When I got close to the car, he pulled out a gun and told me to get in."

These simple examples show that the tragedy of sexual assault can strike anyone, anywhere, at anytime.


What Should You Do To Prevent Sexual Assault?

bulletAlways be aware of your surroundings.
bulletStay in well-lit areas as much as possible.
bulletWalk confidently, directly, at a steady pace. A rapist looks for someone who appears vulnerable.
bulletWalk on the side of the street facing traffic.
bulletWalk close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes and alleys where rapists can hide.
bulletIf you think you are being followed, walk quickly to areas where there are people and lights. If a car appears to be following you, turn and walk in the opposite direction or walk on the other side of the street.
bulletBe careful when people stop you for directions or money. Always reply from a distance and never get too close to the car.
bulletIf you are in trouble or feel you are in danger, don't be afraid to attract help any way you can. Scream, yell or run away to safety.
bulletAlways lock your car. Keep your car locked when you are away from it to keep someone from hiding and waiting inside. When you are inside the car, lock the doors for safety.
bulletLook inside and around your car before you get in.
bulletBe aware of other people in parking areas, especially those close to your vehicle.
bulletIf you think you are being followed, drive to a public place or a police station to get help.
bulletIf your car breaks down, open the hood or attach a white cloth to the antenna. If someone stops to help, stay inside your locked vehicle and ask them to call the police.
bulletIf you choose to carry any type of weapon for self-protection, give careful consideration to your ability and willingness to use it. Remember there is always the chance that it could be taken away and used against you.

What Should You Do If You're a Victim?

Seek help immediately! If you are injured, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance or go to a hospital emergency room. An important thing to remember is that you should not touch anything, change your clothes, wash, bathe, shower or douche until you have been to the hospital and contacted the police. Doing any of these things will destroy valuable evidence that is needed by the police and the prosecutor to identify, arrest and convict your attacker.

The emotional impact of a sexual assault is great and both medical professionals and law enforcement officers know this. It will be difficult for you to confide in strangers about what has happened to you. Every effort is made to have family members, friends, clergy or anyone you want present to provide support during this difficult time.



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