Who commits it? Unfortunately, all kinds of people; a current or former intimate partner; a family member, friend, or acquaintance; a person in a position of power or trust, or a stranger. According to the CDC, in a nationally representative survey that looked at the first rape experience of female victims, perpetrators were reported to be intimate partners (30.4 percent), family members (23.7 percent), and acquaintances (20 percent). This means that the victims knew over 71 percent of the perpetrators.
What are the risks? The short-term risks are getting pregnant (for women), acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, or being injured. But there are also long-term risks that can affect your physical or emotional health:
- Chronic pain
- Fear and anxiety
- Problems trusting others
- Anger and stress
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts
What can I do to prevent it?
- Avoid using excessive amounts of alcohol and drugs. It interferes with clear thinking.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Be cautious and alert.
- Try to walk in groups rather than alone, especially at night.
- Take a self-defense class.
- Lock all doors to your car and residence at all times.
- Believe in your right to set limits that match your sexual desires and limits.
- State your limits clearly and loudly, including “NO” if necessary.
- Yell “Fire” or carry a whistle and blow it. It attracts people’s attention.
- If the rapist is unarmed, fight back, shout “NO” and run away as soon as possible.
- If the rapist is armed, try to talk him out of continuing the assault or resist passively by pretending to faint, vomit or urinate
What do I do in case of rape?
- Go to a safe place and call a friend or family member to be with you.
- Take some slow deep breaths and realize that what happened is wrong, it’s not your fault and that you have value.
- Call the police; rape is a crime.
- Do not bathe, douche or change clothes.
- If you choose not to contact the police, go to a hospital emergency department to be checked. You do not have to report to police to get medical care.
- Write down as much as you can remember about what happened and the person who did it while it is most fresh in your mind.
- Contact a rape treatment center. A counselor there can be of great help.