Millions of Americans have fallen victim to sexual assault. In fact, one person experiences sexual assault every 92 seconds, amounting to hundreds of sexual assaults every day. Although you can’t prevent yourself from encountering threatening situations altogether, you do have the opportunity to protect yourself in this frightening context. Following safety tips can reduce the number of dangerous situations you find yourself in and can help protect you during potentially threatening interactions.
Sexual Violence Statistics
Although sexual violence can happen to anyone, predators often target a certain demographic. According to statistics from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN):
- 69% of sexual violence victims are between 12 and 34 years old. This means almost three-fourths of all victims are under 34.
- One in every six women are victims of assault.
- 82% of all youth-related sexual violence cases involve female victims.
- 90% of all adult sexual assault victims are female.
- Women aged 18-24 experience three times more risk than women in general.
- One in every thirty-three men are victims of sexual violence.
- Males in college, aged 18-24, experience five times more risk than males in general.
Sexual violence can impact anyone, but statistically, young females are at an increasingly high risk of assault. Acknowledging this pattern is the first step in properly protecting yourself from sexual assault. The next steps require following several important safety tips.
On College Campuses
College campuses are not always safe. When traveling on campus, especially at night, exercise the following precautions:
- Walk with a friend, or group of friends.
- Utilize your campus’ map designating emergency phone locations. Keep track of these locations in case you need to make an emergency call or report a suspicious figure.
- Don’t lend your keys or building keys/access cards to anyone or obtain spares. These are important tools that can help you escape a dangerous situation.
- Use your phone. If you suspect a predator is following you, call a friend, parent, or your resident advisor. This introduces a witness who will either deter the predator from attacking you or act as insurance if the predator does attack you.
- Carry a whistle, alarm, pepper spray, or other defense device makes loud noise or physically deter the predator.
- Do not wear headphones.
Ride Sharing Services
Ride sharing services like Uber are currently under fire for sexual assault cases carried out by their drivers, or predators posing as drivers. Remain vigilant and alert when entering any stranger’s car.
- Check your app for the car’s make, model, and license plate number.
- Verify the driver looks like the individual presented on your app.
- Ask the driver who they need to pick up. Do not offer them your name – if they are your driver, they will know your name without your help.
- Ride in the backseat. This gives you more opportunity to escape if a driver becomes dangerous.
- Notify a friend or parent you are entering a ride sharing vehicle.
- Carry some form of protection on your person. One common deterrent is pepper spray.
Remain alert and prepared while doing anything out in public. Though the world is not always a safe place, exercising caution means you can still enjoy yourself while out.