What to Do When You are Attacked
There are no set rules because every situation and every person is different. Here are some alternatives to consider.
· TALK — say anything that may allow you to escape (i.e. “I’m pregnant”; “I have VD”; “I have AIDS”; etc.)
· FIGHT — aim for sensitive parts of the body; groin, eyes, windpipe, kneecap. The first blow is very important and must be accurate. You may not have a second chance.
· SUBMIT — submitting is not the same as consenting, and it may be the only way to save your life; however, do not allow the rapist to tie you up. At that point, you will loose all your options to escape and may not be able to get the situation back into control.
· RUN — your main objective is to get away. Look for crowds, houses with lights on, a busy street, etc.
· REMEMBER — Violence is seldom far from the surface of a rapist’s mixed-up mind. Rape is a crime of violence using sex as the weapon. If persuasion and resistance do not work, concentrate on identity: age, height, hair color, eye color, scars or birthmarks, clothes, car and license number. Personal protection articles carried in your purse are not easily accessible and can be used against you. Mace should not be used outdoors because the wind can cause it to blow into your face, not the face of the attacker.
· WHAT IF — consider circumstances and places that someone may try to attack you and play the “What if” game (i.e., what could you do to avoid an attack at the mall, in your home, in your car). Surprise and fear are two tactics rapists use to their advantage. By being aware at all times (not paranoid), you can eliminate these and remain in control when someone approaches you. Keeping your wits about you is the key during the first three minutes of an attack. Concentrate on the situation. If you scream, can anyone hear you? If you run, is there anywhere to hide?
AFTER A RAPE . . .
· Don’t destroy evidence by bathing, douching, washing hands, brushing teeth, changing clothes or linens, eating or drinking.
· DO notify someone immediately. It may help you if a friend or neighbor goes with you to the hospital and police.
· DO seek medical attention in the ER of a local hospital. You need to have a rape exam even if you decide not to press charges. The exam is used to collect evidence (which will be needed if you later decide to prosecute) as well as assure you that you did not sustain injuries, which may not be visible yet (i.e., internal injuries, bruises).
· DO call police as soon as possible. Even if you don’t want to file any charges, you can file an informational report that may help police locate your attacker and protect others. Most rapists are repeat offenders!
· DO take a change of clothes with you to the hospital.
· DO write down the details about the rapist and the circumstances of the rape as soon as possible.
· DO call the Rape Crisis Center in Bryan, Texas or your local rape crisis center if you need someone to talk to or answer questions or if you want someone from the center to accompany you to the hospital, police station, or courthouse.
REACTIONS TO RAPE . .
Rape can affect a victim in many ways. All of the following reactions are normal. Some of them should be expected.
Anger – Shock – Disbelief – Suppression.
Fear of being alone. Fear of crowds
Fear of the return of the attacker
Obsession with assault
Fear of men
Fear of husband/friends/family finding out
Embarrassment / Guilt
Disruption of normal sex life
SERVICES OFFERED THROUGH THE
RAPE CRISIS CENTER, BRAZOS VALLEY
(ALL SERVICES ARE FREE).
* 24-Hour hotline
* Friends of the Family support services
(for adolescent sexual assault victims)
* 24-Hour advocates to assist victims through
* Anonymous, Confidential Internet Support Service
* Referrals to other professionals
* Free books for victims and their family/friends
* Information and speakers on topics related to sexual assault
* Training sessions for new volunteers
* Weekly survivor/victim support group meetings
* Individual support counseling by appointment
* Support groups for adolescents and their parents