The University of Georgia Police Department places an emphasis on the personal safety of women within the University community and Athens-Clarke County. One of the goals of the Crime Prevention Unit is to reduce sexual assaults in our community by considering steps people can take to reduce the likelihood of being targeted for these types of crimes.
Sexual assault is a growing concern of most women in today’s world. According to RAINN.ORG (2015 Statistics), every 107 seconds a sexual assault occurs in the United States. While there is never an absolute plan to avoid an attack, there is a theory that can make you less vulnerable. The University of Georgia Police Department teaches a four-pronged theory to aid you in your fight against sexual assault.
- Alertness: Being aware of the facts about rape and other sexual assaults.
- Prevention: Avoiding an attack by placing yourself in a less vulnerable circumstance.
- Precaution: Making your surroundings more secure against an attack.
- Preparation: How to defend yourself against an attack and what to do if you are attacked
- Rape is not a sexual act but rather a severe crime of violence against a woman.
- Rape is not always a dark alley crime. Over half occur in a residence.
- More than half of raped college women tell no one of their victimization
- Between 20% and 25% of women will experience a completed and/or attempted rape during their college career.
- One out of every eight college women is raped while in college.
- In over half of all rapes, the victim knew the rapist.
- Students living in sorority houses and on-campus dormitories are 3 times and 1.4 times (respectively) more likely to be raped than students living off-campus (5)
- 90% of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol.
- Most sexual offenders rape between 20-25 women before they are apprehended.
- 30% of the college women who said they had been raped contemplated suicide after the incident.
Precaution and Prevention
In Your Residence...
- List only your first initial and last name on bills, your mailbox, and in the phonebook.
- Keep the outside of your residence well lit.
- Use good deadbolt locks and solid core doors.
- Install a door viewer to identify persons seeking entrance.
- Don’t allow strangers into your residence.
- If a service repairman or deliveryman comes to your door, ask for his identification (through the door viewer) and verify him through the company he works for.
- Never walk alone, use the “buddy system.”
- Avoid poorly lit streets, alleys, parking lots and wooded areas.
- Walk close to the curb facing traffic. Avoid areas of concealment such as shrubs, trees, and building entrances.
- Be aware of your surroundings and don’t be overconfident.
- If someone is following you, create a disturbance and run toward an open building.
- Don’t sleep on public transportation.
- Attackers expect passive victims, so walk with a steady pace and appear purposeful.
- When leaving a building, look around the area outside before exiting the building.
In Your Vehicle...
- Always lock your doors even while you are inside your vehicle.
- From a distance, look around and underneath your vehicle before approaching. Check the back seat prior to entering the vehicle.
- Have your keys in your hand so you don’t have to search for them.
- If you are involved in a small accident, stay in your vehicle, crack your window, and pass the information through the crack
- If your vehicle breaks down, raise the hood and wait in your locked vehicle. If someone approaches to help, ask them to call the police.
- If you are being followed, drive to a police station or well-lit, highly populated area.
Dating in a college environment…
- Remember that a man, at no time, ever has the right to force you to have sex with him no matter how much money or time he has spent with you or even if you have had sex before.
- Never accept a ride or lodging from someone you just met no matter how nice they seem.
- The use of alcohol and/or drugs can seriously impair your judgment. If you intend to participate in these activities, have a “buddy system” worked out with someone you can rely on.
- Be aware that ineffective communication can lead to serious misunderstandings. Don’t give out confusing signals. If you mean no, say “NO” and act accordingly.
- If you are on a date and become uncomfortable, trust your feelings. It is okay to be direct with someone who is sexually pressuring you even if it hurts his feelings. Remember, he is not worried about yours.
- When going on a date, especially with someone new, make sure a responsible person knows who you are with, where you’re going, and what time you expect to be back. If it’s a first date, you may want to suggest a double date.
You are now aware of some basic facts dealing with rape and sexual assault and you have read about the preventative and precaution measures. While these are all very important in building your defense against an attack, common sense is your best defense. If your intuition is telling you something is wrong, rely on it! You are probably right.
Preparation Resistance Techniques...
According to the FBI in 2013 42 rape cases were reported within the University and College systems in the State of Georgia (fbi.gov). State wide 1,939 rape cases were reported to police in 2013 (gbi.georgia.gov).
While these statistics are alarming, according to, “Criminal Victimization in the United States”, 2008, a publication distributed by the U.S. Department of Justice, 65,465 women used some form of resistance and were successful. This number represents approximately 53% of the total reported attacks in this study. You can see where using some form of resistance could be beneficial.
The two basic types of resistance are passive and physical.
With passive resistance you are attempting to gain the confidence of your attacker and change his mind about going through with the attack. These types of techniques should not aggravate the situation.
Physical resistance is a personal choice that you have to make for yourself. Be aware that once you physically resist you may receive harsh physical aggression from your attacker. The best physical resistance is “fight-to-flight” defensive tactics. With these techniques you will cause a great deal of pain for the attacker allowing you to run to safety.
If you are raped, follow these steps:
- Don’t bathe, douche, or change clothes. Attempt to preserve any physical evidence.
- Try to remember any physical attributes of your attacker as well as details of the attack.
- If the attack occurs in a place other than your residence, try to leave a personal item that can be traced back to you.
- Go to your local hospital and allow them to perform a “rape examination” and treat you for any injuries you may have sustained from the attack.
- The choice is yours as to whether or not you want to report the incident, or prosecute the case. You may at a later date decide that you want to prosecute. To make this possible, you should report the incident to the police and allow them to collect physical evidence. By alerting the police to the incident, you allow us to concentrate on a particular area or person. This may keep another woman from going through the same anguish; it may even save a life.
- We highly recommend that you seek counseling for the incident at one of the following locations: The University of Georgia’s Women’s Clinic at the University Health Center, The Cottage Center, or at one of our local hospitals
For more information contact the flowing:
UGA Women’s Clinic
Rape Crisis Hotline
The Cottage Center
(706)353-1912 or 1-877-363-1912
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network