This is not the end all guide to rape prevention and what to do if you are raped. This is only a guide with statistics and information that may help. If it prevents one rape or helps one rape get successfully prosecuted then I will feel as if the page has been successful. Knowledge is power.
If you have been raped get counseling and treatment. Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. A counselor can help you work through these emotions and begin the healing process. Counseling speeds the healing process. One national hotline is the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE. As a community we can help rape victims by listening and offering comfort. Go with her or him to the police, the hospital, or to counseling. Reinforce the message that she or he is not at fault and that it is natural to feel angry and ashamed. Be available for them. Remember helping a victim can help remove a rapist from the streets, their next victim could be you or a loved one.
If you have been raped
Preserve the evidence so the rapist can be prosecuted. Don’t be ashamed it is never the victims fault. You can preserve the evidence by:
- Getting medical care right away. Call 911 or have a friend or family member take you to a hospital emergency room. Don’t urinate, douche, bathe, brush your teeth, wash your hands, change clothes, or eat or drink before you go. The hospital will use a “rape kit” to collect evidence.
- Call the police from the hospital. Tell the police exactly what you remember. Be honest about all your activities. Remember, nothing you did — including drinking alcohol or doing drugs — can justify rape.
- Ask the hospital to take a urine (pee) sample that can be used to test for date rape drugs. The drugs leave your system quickly. Rohypnol stays in the body for several hours, and can be detected in the urine up to 72 hours after taking it. GHB leaves the body in 12 hours. Don’t urinate before going to the hospital.
- Don’t pick up or clean up where you think the assault might have occurred. There could be evidence left behind — such as on a drinking glass or bed sheets.
- About 85 to 90 percent of sexual assaults reported by women are perpetrated by someone known to the victim; about half occur on a date.
The use of date rape drugs is rising at an alarming level.
How can I decrease my risk of sexual assault or rape?
There are things you can do to reduce your chances of being sexually assaulted or raped. Some of these tips are from the National Crime Prevention Council.
- Be aware of your surroundings — who’s out there and what’s going on.
- Never leave food or drinks unattended – Date rape drugs are often used to incapacitate victims
- If going out use the buddy system – Bring a friend that you can trust although most rapists are known by the victim.
- Never accept a beverage from a stranger at a bar or party. Many substances used in date rape are colorless, odorless and tasteless.
- Open cans and bottles yourself.
- Keep your drink with you at all times, even when you go to the bathroom. If not have someone you implicitly trust watch it.
- Don’t share drinks.
- Don’t drink from punch bowls. They may already have drugs in them.
- If someone offers to get you a drink from a bar or at a party, go with the person to order your drink. Watch the drink being poured and carry it yourself. it just takes a second to spike a drink.
- Don’t drink anything that tastes or smells strange. GHB can taste salty. (GHB takes effect in about 15 minutes and can last 3 or 4 hours. )
- Have a non-drinking friend with you to make sure nothing happens.
- If you realize you left your drink unattended, pour it out.
- If you feel drunk and haven’t drunk any alcohol — or, if you feel like the effects of drinking alcohol are stronger than usual , get help right away.
- Alcohol alone can be used as a date rape substance. It can make it hard to think clearly and impair judgement.
- Many people meet online as many as %80 date people they met online. Meet in a public place, verify their identity and let people know where you are and who you are with.
- Walk with confidence. The more confident you look, the stronger you appear.
- Know your limits when it comes to using alcohol.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in your surroundings, leave.
- Don’t prop open self-locking doors.
- Lock your door and your windows, even if you leave for just a few minutes.
- Watch your keys. Don’t lend them. Don’t leave them. Don’t lose them. And don’t put your name and address on the key ring.
- Watch out for unwanted visitors. Know who’s on the other side of the door before you open it.
- Be wary of isolated locations, like underground garages, offices after business hours, and apartment laundry rooms.
- Avoid walking or jogging alone, especially at night. Vary your route. Stay in well-traveled, well-lit areas.
- Have your key ready to use before you reach the door — home, car, or work.
- Park in well-lit areas and lock the car, even if you’ll only be gone a few minutes.
- Drive on well-traveled streets, with doors and windows locked.
- Never hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker.
- Drug Enforcement Administration, DOJ
- Food and Drug Administration, HHS
Phone: 800-332-4010 Hotline or 888-463-6332 (Consumer Information)
- Men Can Stop Rape
- National Center for Victims of Crime
Phone: 800- 394-2255
- National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, HHS
Phone: 800-662-4357 Hotline or 800-662-9832 (Spanish Language Hotline)
- Office of National Drug Control Policy
Phone: 800-666-3332 (Information Clearinghouse)
- Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network