Invest in good locks for your doors and windows use them. The best type of lock to use on your doors is a deadbolt lock. A one-way peep hole is also advised and should be located at eye level in the center of your door. All entrances to your home, apartment, parking lot or garage should be well lighted, especially at night. All bushes and shrubbery around your doors and windows should be neatly trimmed. This reduces the possibility of using the land scape for concealment purposes. Never hide your door key in a flower pot, over the door, or under the mat. When home at night, keep the doors closed and locked. Keep windows shades or drapes drawn. Never reveal to anyone at the door or on the phone you are alone. Pretend to have a conversation with a fictitious person to get the point across. All family members, especially children, should be told never to give out information about who is home, who is out, when they will return, or how long they have been gone. Attackers have been known to use the telephone as a tool to get information about you and your home. If you receive a number of mysterious or obscene calls be assertive. A loud blast from a whistle into the phone will discourage the caller. Do not talk to the caller. Hang up the phone immedi ately. If the calls continue, contact the telephone company and your local law enforcement agency. It's good policy to require identification from all repair and utility representatives. If you are suspicious for any reason, call the company and verify the identity of the person(s) and the purpose of the visit. Be safe, not sorry. Don't admit strangers into your home until you know who they are and what their intentions are. Do not let anyone out of your sight in your home. If you begin to feel uncomfortable about someone's presence, ask the person to leave immediately. If the person will not leave, then you leave and get help. If you live alone, list only your first initial and last name on your mailbox. So the same for the public telephone directory. The addition of "dummy" names to mailboxes of unoccupied apartments in your building may also deter crime. Avoid entry into elevators when they are occupied by a stranger. Stand by the control panel so you can sound the alarm button if necessary. If a suspicious-acting person follows you into the eleva tor, get out and wait for the next one.
Always carry yourself assertively. Be aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts. Be prepared to react accordingly. If you need to respond to a situation in a verbally assertive manner - do so. Deal with catcalls, unwanted comments or questions by walking away, or making your feelings known by telling the harasser to stop the behavior. Other responses to uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situations may include running away, yelling, or fighting. Assess your situations and react with clarity, purpose, determination and confidence. Always carry a flashlight when it is dark. Avoid poorly lighted streets, alleys, vacant lots and parking areas. Keep a respectable distance from alley entrances and tall or overgrown shrubbery. Walk on the side of the street where you face the traffic. You can see the approaching traffic and they can see you. Never accept a ride from a stranger. Never hitchhike - day or night. Carry a loud whistle in your hand when you are walking. If you find yourself in danger, blow the whistle. Do anything you can to attract attention and get help. (Do not depend entirely on an object such as a whistle to always be available in times of danger. Whistles are fine - but no better than a loud yell.) Be on the alert. If you think you are being followed, turn around and look. Project a strong, confident image. Yell, head for bright lights and people. Be ready. Use your whistle. Avoid carrying large, bulky purses and packages. They make it hard for you to keep your balance or move quickly. Though high-heeled shoes and clogs are fashionable, they will get in your way if you have to react quickly to a dangerous situation.
Car doors should always be locked. When you are in the car, lock the doors. When you leave the car, lock the doors. Before getting in the car, check the floor and back seat for intruders. When driving, keep the doors locked. And remember - no hitchhikers. If you think you are being followed, drive to a busy, well lighted, populated area. Honk your horn for help. Flash your lights on and off. Call the police. Avoid out of the way stops, especially by yourself, Do not drive in poorly lighted areas. Make sure your car is operating properly and has sufficient gas before you leave home. If you park in an open lot or a public garage, be aware of loiterers. Always have your car keys in your hand ready to use. This avoids fumbling for them in your purse or pocket. Try to park in a lot or garage with an atten dant. Always park in well lighted areas. If you must work late, ask your employer or a friend to accompany you to your car. Or plan to leave as a group. When getting out of your car at home, always look around before unlocking the door. Make sure your house key is out and ready to use. Helping the driver of a stranded vehicle is admirable. BUT do not stop and get out of the car. Stop at the nearest phone and call for help. Depending on the situation, 911 is the emergency number in Ohio. If you have a citizens band radio, turn to channel 9 and ask for a law enforcement agency. If you should have car trouble, signal for assistance. You may place a sign in the back window that says "CALL POLICE." Raise the car hood, tie a white flag to the antenna or the driver's side door-handle. Look around before getting out of your car. Move quickly and then get back in your car and lock the doors. Remain locked in your car until the police or other identified help arrives. If a motorist stops to offer assistance, do not get out of the car. Roll the window down slightly, just enough to allow appropriate hearing, and ask the motorist to call the police or sheriff's department.
If you ride public transportation after dark, try to wait in a busy, well lighted area. Avoid isolated, out of the way spots. Be sure to stand away from the curb until the bus arrives. Once on the bus, be alert. Look around you. Note who is on the bus. If there are only a few people and you are traveling alone, sit near the operator. When you are leaving the bus, look around to see who else is getting off the bus at your stop. If someone seems suspicious, is showing too much interest in your activities, or appears to be following you, walk quickly to the nearest well lighted area. Get help if necessary.
Despite all your precautions, if you are attacked, keep a level head. Think, don't panic. Your life is too important to risk. Always look for a way to escape. Most women escape possible rape by running and yelling. Statistics show that a combinations of strong verbal response (yelling) and physical resistance (which includes run ning) provides the greatest chance to escape. Traditional approaches such as pleading, stalling, reasoning, or crying are relatively ineffective in avoiding rape. Instead, women should immediately establish their refusal to be victimized. Take the first opportunity to resist and escape. Woman have many tools to harm their attacker. They include gouging the eyes, smashing the nose or Adam's apple, kicking the knee, smashing the instep, grabbing the groin. The attacker can be deterred regardless of size if you try some of these methods. If other objects are available, use them to attack. Keys, pencils, pens, umbrellas, a book, a briefcase, and purse are all items that can be used to fend off an attacker. Try to smash the attacker in the face, throat, nose or any other vulnerable area. Any of these strategies may be used even if the attacker has a weapon. Frequently knives and guns are only used to intimidate the victim. Training in self defense or martial arts is not necessary to successfully resist rape. They will help you prepare both emotionally and physically to increase your odds of success. Remember, though, self-defense must be practiced regularly in order to be effective when used. NO ONE CAN TELL YOU WHAT SPECIFIC TACTICS TO USE TO RESIST RAPE. EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT. YOU MUST DEAL WITH THE RAPIST AS AN INDIVIDUAL. YOU MUST CHOOST THE BEST METHOD. BE ASSERTIVE. THINK CLEARLY. DON'T PANIC. DO THE BEST YOU CAN WITH WHAT YOU HAVE.
If you are actually attacked and raped, don't panic. Try
to remember everything you can about the rape. This will be a
difficult time for you. But it is important to cooperate with
the authorities so that they can help you and other potential
victims from this terrible experience always report any rape or
attempted rape to the police. Notice every detail about the assailant.
Try to determine his height, weight and what clothes he's wearing.
Note any physical characteristics such as type of complexion,
any distinguishing marks or scars, hair, eye color and body build.
Try to determine the age and nationality. Try to note the direction
taken when he's leaving. If a vehicle is involved, note the make,
model, and year. Try to get at least the first few letters\digit
of the license number. Try to remember every thing about the surroundings
if you are raped someplace other than home. Leave your fingerprints
everywhere you can. Leave some personal items which can be identified
as yours such as a button, earring, ring lipstick, glove scarf,
etc. Do not bathe, change or wash clothing. Do not clean your
nails or apply any medication. Your body holds important evidence
which will be used in the prosecution of the attacker. Call the
police immediately. Be willing to cooperate and prosecute. Police
officers must conduct a thorough investigation of the crime. Although
it is unpleasant to recount, the incident must be discusses and
explored in detail. The assailant must be stopped from hurting
you and others. You may want to ask a friend to accompany you
to the hospital for examination and tests. If you feel more comfortable
talking to a policewoman, ask if one is available. Many cities
have rape crisis centers. They provide counseling and legal advice
which can help you . They may be able to advice a lawyer when
the charges are brought to court. STAND FIRM! Only your testimony
can convict the rapist. Your testimony can reduce the chances
of another woman falling victim to rape. For more information
on what you can do to prevent rape, contact your local rape crisis
center or police department.
To obtain additional information contact AWSDA@nais.com the American Women's Self Defense Association 713 N Wellwood avenue Lindenhurst , N.Y 11757 or the Ohio Crime Prevention Association, 1560 Fishinger Rd., Colos, Ohio 43221