Every day hundreds of individuals are affected by sexual violence. Every 68 seconds an American is sexually assaulted ( RAINN), and more than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience sexual assault at least once in their lifetimes (CDC).
During April, Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month takes place to raise awareness and recognition that sexual assault is a prevalent problem in society and to bring hope and support to victims and survivors.
Since 2010, SABRE has proudly supported RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. SABRE donates a percentage of the sales from purchases of the Pepper Gel with Finger Grip and Snap Clip to help support RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline. In addition, SABRE donates every time an individual takes a SABRE Personal Safety Academy course.
Much like anybody can be a victim of sexual assault, it’s important to remember that anyone can also be an assailant. According to RAINN, 8 out of 10 victims of sexual assault knew their assailant in some capacity before the assault. It could be anyone you are familiar with—a friend, a current or former partner, a coworker, 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.
- 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?”
- 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?
- 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” does not mean “yes.”
- 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.