“Take Back the Night” events across the country in April are a grim reminder of just how serious a problem crime against women has become. From domestic violence to date rape, from assault in a parking lot to rapes on a college campus it seems as though women are targets of these predators wherever and whenever it pleases them-and the numbers are staggering.
Statistics show that every two and a half minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. And while the numbers show and increase the scary part is there are still 39 percent of rapes in 2002 that went unreported for a variety of legitimate reasons ranging from embarrassment, fear, or shock.
“Take Back the Night” events are well meaning, feel good events that typically happen on college campuses where a surprisingly large number of sexual assaults occur. The main focus of these events is to heighten awareness of the problem which is a nice first step but really does nothing in a practical way to help protect the potential victims from either physical or sexual assault.
According to Bureau of Justice statistics 17 percent of women can expect to be raped in their lifetime. In 2004 for every 1000 people there is one rape or sexual assault, two assaults with injury and 2 robberies-that’s a one in five chance that you are going to be next.
When an assault occurs most victims are, justifiably so, caught off guard, panic and don’t think clearly. But with a little common sense and practice (YES practice) your survival instincts will kick in.
As a practical matter you practice for everything else, from studying, playing an instrument, sports, rehearsal for a wedding, to memorizing the alphabet, why shouldn’t you practice some survival skills that might save your life? Simple discussion groups with friends or family on some basic survival techniques and plans of action will, over a short period of time, develop good reflex reactions instead of pure unmitigated fear when faced with a real emergency situation.
Here are some ideas to kick around with your friends at a “practice” session.
When confronted by a potential attacker or rapist:
1. MAKE NOISE. Scream, yell, if you have a whistle use it, Try to attract as much attention as you can. The noise will eventually attract someone and in the process may deter the attacker.
2. STALL. Time is on your side. Stall as long as you can. Tell your attacker you have STD’s or AIDS. The longer you delay the better your chances. Don’t show any fear, stay calm as long as you can.
3. GET ANGRY AND FIGHT BACK. This is not a garden party. Learn how to fight dirty. Gouge the eyes, hit and kick where it will do the most damage. Use whatever you have available as a weapon.
Additionally get used to being aware of your surroundings. Be leery of strangers asking directions, of sudden crowds around you, of a stranger approaching your car. Most of all trust your instincts-if your gut tells you something is wrong don’t be afraid to react.
And lastly get used to always carrying some sort of personal defense device-a whistle, an alarm, a siren, mace pepper spray even a stick if you’re out on a walk-anything that can help you MAKE NOISE, STALL, FIGHT BACK. Remember it’s your life on the line-BE PREPARED-PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!