Every day hundreds of individuals are affected by sexual violence. Every 68 seconds an American is sexually assaulted, cases of sexual assault at top hotel chains are making headlines, and 13 percent of college students experience sexual assault.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month to raise awareness and recognition that sexual assault can and does happen in society and to bring hope and support to victims and survivors.
Since 2010, SABRE has proudly supported RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. SABRE donates a percentage of the sales from purchases of the Pepper Gel with Snap Clip to help support RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline. A donation is also made every time an individual takes a Personal Safety Academy course.
The signs that someone you know was a victim of sexual assault aren’t always clear, but recognizing certain physical, behavioral, and emotional warning signs can help you know when to act.
Much like anybody can be a victim of sexual assault, it’s important to remember that anyone can also be an assailant. 8 out of 10 victims of sexual assault knew their assailant in some capacity before the assault, whether it be a friend, a current or former partner, a coworker or employer, or a family member.
Below are steps you can take to help prevent a sexual assault and be an ally to victims and survivors.
- Be engaged with your surroundings: Engaged means being alert to what is happening around you and actively scanning an area or situation for anything out of the ordinary.
- Remember 10 seconds to safety: This method is used when you arrive at a destination. Within the first 10 seconds, you should assess and be engaged with your surroundings. Is anything out of the ordinary? Does everything feel right?
- Know your campus safety measures: Colleges and universities are required to publish annual campus crime stats and details about efforts to improve safety, including prevention of and response to sexual assaults, dating violence, and stalking. Simply Google your school’s name + Annual Safety and Security Report.
- Safe travels: Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group, pack safety tools that will alert you if someone attempts to enter where you’re staying uninvited.
- Make sure your rideshare driver is who they say they are: Confirm that the license plate matches your assigned car on the app and ask who they are picking up rather than asking if they are there to pick you up. For example, ask, “Who are you here for?” rather than “Are you here for Susan?"
- Be conscious of your drinks: At a bar, restaurant, or party, watch your drink as it’s made to make sure it’s not spiked. You can also opt for a drink in a bottle or can instead of a glass. Since the top of a bottle or can is smaller, it’s harder to sneak substances into them.
- Know how to leave an unsafe date: Is your date not who they said they were online? Do you feel unsafe?
- Learn about consent: Consent is always required, and “no” is a complete sentence.
David Heineman (SABRE Ambassador) teaches a women's self-defense class.
- Take a personal safety course: Self-defense classes empower you to be confident and can teach you the skills needed to get out of a threatening situation.
- Intervene in situations that don’t look or feel right: If you see someone being taken advantage of (for example, you’re at a party, and they are drunk or passed out), you may be able to prevent a sexual assault by stepping in or getting help.
- Empower survivors of sexual assault: Provide victims with a safe space to speak and listen with a compassionate ear. Help combat the culture of secrecy surrounding sexual assaults by believing survivors and giving them your support.
- Find support and seek out resources: If you have been a victim of sexual assault, know that you are not alone and it’s not your fault. There are people who will believe you and want to help. Consider speaking with a trusted friend or family member or seeking therapy or a support group. You can also call RAINN’s free National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or access the National Sexual Assault online chat service to speak with someone anonymously.
SABRE recognizes that all sexual assaults are different. These steps are not meant to serve as a ‘How-to’ guide for preventing a sexual assault. These steps serve as a guide to help you live a safe, confident, and empowered life, aligning with our mission to help you Make It Safe.
Featured Image: Priscilla Du Preez | Unsplash