Personal Safety Guides: Protect Yourself Against Sex Crimes

by Scott Grabel

safety guide Any illegal sexual act or behavior is known as a sex crime. An illegal sexual act may be in the form of sexual violence. Examples of sexual violence include rape, sexual assault, or abuse. Other sex crimes include sexual harassment or coercion. Although people in the United States most often associate these types of crimes as acts against women, victims can be either female or male. In a sexual violence survey by the Center for Disease Control, the number of women who had been a victim of forced sexual contact in their lifetime was around 10.6 percent. While the numbers were lower for the men who participated in the study, it did show that 2.1 percent of the male participants indicated that they had been a victim of forced sexual violence in their life. Because most sex crimes are not reported, these numbers are likely higher than what studies and statistics indicate.

To avoid becoming victims of such crimes, people must know how to protect themselves. This means understanding what may put them at risk, even when in the presence of people who are familiar to them. Some statistics show that although 25 percent of the time a victim is assaulted by someone who he or she is unfamiliar with, 48 percent of the time the offender is a person that he or she knows, or has met. Even worse, 17 percent of the time the victim is assaulted by someone who he or she is intimate with, like a spouse or lover.

  • What to do to Reduce the Risk of a Sexual Assault: A page on the Speaking Out Against Rape (SOAR) website that lists how people can reduce the chances of being a victim of a sexual assault. Tips are given for different scenarios, such as reducing the risk while walking, taking the bus, driving, at parties, and if pressured.
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  • Safety Tips to Help Prevent Sexual Assault: A web page that discusses what the crime of sexual assault and rape. It gives the reader information on precautions that should be taken. Safety advice is given for going home and drinking.
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  • Sexual Assault/Rape: This website gives advice and tips on several rape related topics. The reader will learn nine ways to avoid rape, what to do in a risky situation, and what should be done in the event of a rape. Tips for both women and men are given on how to prevent rape. Dating and domestic violence are also discussed.
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  • Preventing Sexual Assault - Reducing the Risk and Coping with an Attack: An article for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that gives information about sexual offenses and preventing an assault. Although the website is designed for students of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, much of the advice that is given is useful for all women, regardless of whether they are students or not.
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  • Reactions to Sexual Assault: A brief article that discusses the many different effects sexual crimes, such as assault, can have on the women and men who are victims of it. The list of reactions is listed in a bulleted format.
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  • Avoiding Rape: A section in an article entitled Rape: Psychology, Prevention and Impact, that discusses how women can avoid rape. The article discusses avoiding situations where women are vulnerable to rape, such as hiking or walking alone at night. It also discusses self-defense and words or behavior that may turn away a rapist.
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  • What is a Sex Crime: The University of Illinois in Chicago Campus Advocacy Network defines what a sex crime is. The key points of the definition are listed in a bullet point format.
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  • Receiving Medical Attention: An article on the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network website that discusses the importance of receiving medical attention following a rape. The article explains why it is important and what victims should not do in order to best save any of the perpetrator's DNA.
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  • Sexual Assault is a Crime: This page appears on the National Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response website. It provides readers with a definition for sexual assault and explains why it is a crime. The website lists the most common effects that sexual assault has on its victims and describes who is at risk.
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  • Restraining Orders, and Other Protections for Sex Crime Victims: An article that explains the different types of restraining orders that sexual assault victims can get to protect themselves from harassment by their assailant.
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  • Sexual Assault Fact Sheet: A page on the WomensHealth.gov website that answers common sexual assault related questions. Information provided includes where to go for help and how to lower the risk of being assaulted sexually.
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  • Sexual Violence: Statistics on sexual violence listed on the Victims of Crime website.
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  • The Realities of Sexual Violence: The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape lists common beliefs about sexual crimes and violence in a fact versus fiction format. The article explains the belief, why people believe it, followed by the facts.
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  • What to do if You Are Raped: A list of steps that people should follow if they are raped. The steps are written in bullet point list.
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  • Acquaintance Rape: This sex crimes and safety page gives an overview of what acquaintance rape is.