RAPE PREVENTION


WHAT IS RAPE?

In the state of Kansas, rape is defined as an act of sexual intercourse without consent when:

         the victim is overcome by force or fear, or;

         the victim is unconscious or physically powerless to resist, or;

         the victim is incapable of giving consent because of mental deficiency or disease, or;

         the victim is incapable of giving consent because of the effect of alcohol or other drugs which condition was known by the offender or was reasonably apparent, or;

         the victim is under 14 years of age.

 

As such -

         An employee can be raped by her boss.

         A teenager can be raped by her date.

         A wife can be raped by her husband

 

Rape is a crime, which affects all members of society both as its victims, and as those close to them. The more informed all citizens are about the crime of rape, the better prepared they will be to prevent rape. (Although not as common, the incidence of males sexually assaulting other males is on the increase. Thus, whenever discussing the crime of rape, it is important to remember that women are not the only victims.)

THE MYTHS -

         Rape is an act of passion.

         Women secretly desire rape.

         Women invite rape by acting or dressing seductively.

         Rape is a crime, which takes place in dark, isolated locations.

         Rapists look and act strangely.

         Only young, attractive women are raped.

THE FACTS -

         Rape is an act of violence and hostility - not an act of passion.

         Fantasizing about aggressive sex is not the same as desiring rape.

         Approximately 50% of rapes occur in or about the home.

         Approximately 50% of rapes occur during the day.

         The rapist is often known to his victim.

         The majority of rapists are not armed.

         The majority of rapes are pre-planned.

         Rape has been reported in cases where victims were under 1 year of age and over 90.

         Nationwide, only 1 out of 10 rapes are reported.

The first line of defense against rape occurs when a woman admits to herself that she is a potential victim regardless of age, perceived degree of attractiveness or socio-economic status.

SAFETY ON THE STREET – 

         Travel in well-lighted, well-traveled areas.

         If possible, walk in pairs.

         Walk facing traffic.

         Plan your route ahead of time.

         Know your neighborhood - be aware of nearby businesses, their hours of operation and their locations.

         Avoid shortcuts, bushy areas, and alleyways.

         Dress for ease of movement.

         If possible, don't carry a purse.

         Don't burden yourself with bulky packages or belongings.

         Walk assertively and maintain a sharp awareness of your surroundings.

         If you sense you are being followed, immediately cross to the opposite side of the street and head for the nearest open business or occupied dwelling.

         When seeking help from the occupant of a residence, yell fire as opposed to help, rape, or murder, and use any means necessary to draw attention to the situation.

 SAFETY IN THE HOME –

         Install good locks on doors and windows and use them.

         Only put your last name on your mailbox, or consider inventing roommates.

         If you choose to list your phone number, only list your first initial and last name. Never include your address in the telephone book.

         Install a door eye-viewer in your door.

         Never automatically open your door without knowing who is on the other side - talk through the door.

         Don't rely on chain latches and screen doors for security, as they are no barriers to intruders.

         Instruct your children in safe door and telephone techniques.

         Don't answer questions asked over the telephone.

         Ask for identification from service people. If still not satisfied, call the business and verify that the visit is a legitimate one.

         Have someone present whenever a man is going to be performing a service in your home.

 

SAFETY IN THE CAR

           Have your keys in your hand when going to and from your car.

         Lock the doors and roll up the windows whenever you leave your car.

         Keep the doors and windows locked whenever you are in your car.

         Prior to entering your car, always check both under the car and behind the front seat.

         Park in well-lighted, well-populated areas.

         Be aware of your surroundings as you walk through parking lots—suspects often hide between parked cars.

         If your car breaks down, raise the hood and turn on the emergency flashers. Remain in your locked car until help arrives. If someone stops to offer assistance, ask them to send a tow truck or to contact local law enforcement. Talk through the window.

         If you are being followed, don't turn into your own driveway. Head for the nearest populated area or open business.

          

SAFETY IN A SOCIAL SITUATION –

 Our increasingly mobile society necessitates added caution in the areas of dating and meeting people. As it is no longer realistic to rely solely on personal references and introductions when meeting new people, it becomes even more important to maintain a degree of caution in unfamiliar social situations.

         When first meeting a new friend, exchange phone numbers, not addresses.

         Keep someone apprised of your whereabouts when dating a man for the first time.

         It is a good idea to refrain from going to bars and clubs alone. However, should you choose to do so, have your own transportation available, and use it.

         Don't allow alcohol or drugs to cloud your common sense.

         If a man persists in asking for your phone number, and you feel it would cause a problem should you refuse, give him a phony number (i.e., a recorded message).

         Know what your personal social standards are and stick to them. Don't allow your judgment to be overruled by an aggressive pursuer.

 SOME ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS -

         Don't enter elevators with a lone man. If you do end up alone with a man, stand next to the buttons and push them all if attacked.

         When at the bank, don't discard deposit slips in the available receptacle—they contain information (i.e., name and address) which you would not want falling into the hands of strangers.

         Consider printing your work phone number as opposed to your home phone number on checks.

 SELF DEFENSE -

For years a certain amount of controversy has surrounded the issue of whether or not a woman should resist a sexual assault. Studies exist which support points of view ranging from strong resistance to total submission. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to self-defense. Ultimately, the decision rests with the individual and should be based on considerations such as the location (isolated vs. populated), whether or not a weapon is involved, the victim's physical capabilities, and the perceived chance of success.

PASSIVE SELF DEFENSE –

         Talking your way out of a situation.

         Telling the rapist you're pregnant, menstruating, or afflicted with a communicable disease can be an effective ploy.

         Faking submission and waiting for an appropriate opportunity to make an escape.

         Urinating, defecating, or vomiting.

 NOTE: Initiating a passive defense may not work in all situations. If it fails, you can then escalate to an active defense.

 ACTIVE SELF DEFENSE –

         If you choose to fight, fight effectively. A half-hearted attempt at resistance could be worse than no resistance at all.

         Before initiating a physical defense, you should be aware of your capabilities—both physical and mental. If you cannot imagine yourself exerting whatever force necessary to ward off an attacker, then perhaps a more passive approach is more viable for you.

         Have some idea of what you intend to do should you be attacked. If you have given prior thought to the matter, you will be better prepared to avoid debilitating panic.

         Self-defense classes aimed at teaching everyday defensive maneuvers can help build confidence.

         Don't underestimate the power of your voice as an effective defensive tool. If you feel your voice may fail you when you need it most, practice screaming.

 DEVICES -

Whistle - can be a good attention getting device. However, whistles can be difficult to blow when breathless or frightened. Should you carry a whistle, never wear it on a string around your neck or wrist.

 Shrill alarm - another good attention getting device. Shrill alarms are compressed air or gas and emit a shrill piercing sound.

 Pepper Spray (OC Spray) - a chemical irritant, which causes burning and irritation of the eyes, nose, and skin. Pepper Spray will not permanently incapacitate an attacker. It is primarily useful as a temporary diversion.  While Pepper Spray can be an effective defensive device, it does not work in all situations. Pepper Spray has little or no effect on individuals who are seriously intoxicated, under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs, or who have a condition, which affects the nerve endings. If used on a windy day or in an enclosed area, mace could affect not only the suspect, but the victim as well

 Note: For these devices to be useful, they must be immediately accessible should you be attacked. If left in trunks, desk drawers, or buried at the bottom of a purse, they will not help you in an emergency.

REPORTING A RAPE -

 Over the years there has been a great deal of negative publicity devoted to the treatment of sexual assault victims by the Criminal Justice System. In the past, victims often felt that they, rather than the rapist, were on trial. Victims' prior sexual conduct became a routine part of court testimony; thereby raising questions regarding the victim's morality and as such the validity of the sexual assault charge. Fortunately, the Criminal Justice System is now sensitive to the plight of the sexual assault victim. Legislation has blocked the admissibility of questions relating to the victim's sex life. Additionally, law enforcement agencies have realigned their approach to the investigation of rape cases by using specially trained sexual assault investigators who are sensitive to the needs and concerns of the sexual assault victim.

 WHAT TO EXPECT-

         When you first report a rape, a uniformed officer will respond to your location. His or her first responsibility is to secure your safety and well being.

         The officer will take a brief statement from you and will then transport you to the hospital for a rape examination. You may have a friend, relative, or Rape Crisis counselor with you throughout this process. In order to preserve valuable evidence, it is imperative that you neither bathe, douche, nor change clothes prior to reporting the rape. In addition, it is advisable to leave the crime scene undisturbed. Bedding, items touched by the suspect, cigarette butts, etc. can yield vital information regarding the identity of your assailant.

         Should an arrest be made, and should the case go to trial, you will undoubtedly be asked to testify. Keep in mind that rape trials are no longer the horror stories once depicted. A counselor from Rape Crisis can alleviate your concerns somewhat by letting you know what to expect and by accompanying you throughout the court process.

 THIRD PARTY REPORTING -

 In order for rapists to be apprehended, it is necessary for a sexual assault to be reported. However, if you believe that you are not prepared to cope with the criminal justice process you should still seek support from the Rape Crisis Center.  These advocates can help you deal with the aftermath of the rape.  Victims in the saline County and surrounding areas should call the Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas (D.V.A.C.K.) at 785-827-5862.