8 tips to prevent sexual assault

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Women are at a greater risk than men for violent crimes. This includes sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence. Seven out of 10 reported sexual assaults are committed against women (Statistics Canada).

It is not the victim’s fault

Women are not sexually assaulted because of the clothes they wear. It is not because they are drunk or alone. It happens because a person decided to commit a violent act against them.

You cannot control these people. But you can do something to make it hard for them to commit this crime. Here are 8 tips to prevent sexual assault:

  1. Be alert

    • Don’t use your mobile phone while walking. Don’t use a headset when outside.
    • Always check your surroundings.
    • Walk with purpose. Don’t look like you are lost.
    • Walk on well-lighted streets. Avoid places where there are no people.
    • Go to a store or restaurant if someone is following you. Ask for help.
  2. The Buddy System

    Ask a friend or co-worker to walk with you. Ask a friend to come with you to a party. Watch over each other. Make sure that you and your buddy get home safely.

  3. Stay sober

    Know your limit when you drink alcohol at parties. Stop drinking when you can’t speak or become dizzy. Rest and recover. Watch your drink. Someone can put a drug in it.

  4. Don’t share too much on social media

    Don’t post too much about your life on Facebook, Instagram and other social media. Someone can use the information to trick you. Don’t put your address, full name, birth date or your work place. Don’t give away your location.

  5. Trust your instincts

    Avoid any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Leave or say something to stop a situation that you feel is not right. You don’t need to be polite. You need to be safe. Don’t be afraid to defend yourself if you are about to be harmed.

  6. Be watchful and act

    Say something when you see a possibility of assault. Help protect other women from possible attackers. Ask the help of others or call 911 if it will be dangerous for you.

  7. Be prepared

    Know risky situations and prepare for them. Do you work the night shift? Do you have to walk alone to reach your workplace or bus stop? Let someone know where you are going. Tell them what time you should be coming back. Carpool with co-workers or walk with a group to the bus stop. Make an emergency plan. Look for a nearby shelter that you can go to when you don’t feel safe. Charge your mobile phone. Bring a flashlight, high-pitched whistle or learn self-defence.

    Did you know that you cannot bring pepper spray in Canada? Only the police is allowed to use it. Bear spray is sold to the public but only as a safety device for hikers. It is illegal to use it for self-defense.

  8. Support education

    Teach your children about respect and boundaries. They should tell you right away when someone, especially an adult, is making them feel uncomfortable. Support programs that teach sexual assault awareness. Those who commit sexual assault believe that a victim is less than them. They think that women deserve to be controlled, humiliated, intimidated or abused. Teaching everyone that this is wrong and against the law is the most effective way to stop sexual assault.

Sources: 4 things women can do to lower their risk of sexual assault, Rachael Rettner, LiveScience; You are not alone, Manitoba.ca; and Sexual assault and harassment fact sheet, Canadian Women’s Foundation. All retrieved September 20, 2018.

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