Sexual Assault

Things to Remember
  • Rapists aren’t always strangers.
  • When someone you know - a date, steady boyfriend, or casual friend - forces you to have sex, it’s still sexual assault.
  • Sexual assault is about power, control, and anger - not romance and passion.
  • Sexual Assault is a serious crime. It’s a betrayal of trust and can have long-lasting emotional injuries.
Why Does it Happen?
Let’s look at sexual stereotyping and how men and women talk to each other.
  • Although things are changing, society still frequently encourages men to be competitive and aggressive and teaches women to be passive and avoid confrontation.
  • Men often misunderstand a woman’s word and actions - the “She said no, but she meant yes” excuse.
  • Some people still believe that it’s okay for a man to demand sex if he buys a woman dinner or gifts, and it’s not wrong for a man to sexually assault a woman who previously had sex with him or another man.
Preventing sexual assault
As a woman, you can:
  • Talk openly about sex, and keep talking as you get deeper into a relationship.
  • Be careful not to let alcohol or other drugs decrease your ability to take care of yourself and make sensible decisions.
  • Trust your gut feelings. If a place or the way he acts makes you nervous or uneasy, get out.
  • Check out a 1st date or a blind date with friends. Insist on going to a public place like a movie, sporting event or restaurant. Carry money for a phone call and taxi or take your own car.
  • Don’t leave a party, concert, game or other social occasion with someone you just met or don’t know well.
  • Take a look at the men around you and be wary of anyone who puts you down or tries to control how you dress or your choice of friends.
As a man, you can:
  • Ask yourself how sexual stereotypes affect your attitudes and actions toward women.
  • Accept a woman’s decision when she says “no.” Don’t see it as a challenge.
  • Avoid clouding your judgment and understanding of what another person wants by using alcohol and other drugs.
  • Realize that forcing a woman to have sex against her will is sexual assault, a violent crime with serious consequences.
  • Never be drawn into a gang sexual assault at parties, fraternities, bars or after sporting events.
  • Seek counseling or a support group to help you deal with feelings of violence and aggression against women.
If sexual assault Occurs
 If sexual assault happens:
  • Get help. Phone the police, a friend, a rape crisis center, a relative. Don’t isolate yourself, don’t feel guilty, and don’t try to ignore it. It is a crime that should be reported. Sexual assault by someone you know is a violation of your body and your trust.
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible. Do not shower, wash, douche or change. Valuable evidence could be destroyed.
  • Get counseling to help deal with the emotional trauma caused by sexual assault.
If it happens to someone you know:
  • Believe her.
  • Offer comfort and support. Go with her to the hospital, police station or counseling center.
  • Let her know she’s not to blame.
Take a Stand Against sexual assault
  • Ask your student government or a parent group to sponsor a workshop on sexual assault and sexual stereotyping for middle and high school students. Work with a hot-line or crisis center to persuade rape survivors to join the panel.
  • Volunteer at a rape crisis center or hot-line
  • Monitor the media for programs or videos that reinforce sexual stereotypes. Write or call to protest. On the other side, publicly commend the media when they highlight the realities of sexual assault.
  • Ask college or professional athletes or other role models to talk to high school students about sexual stereotyping and responsible behavior.
  • Ask your church or civic group to organize a speaker and panel discussion on the theme, “Please listen to me - How men and women talk to each other."
Crime prevention tips from:
National Crime Prevention Council
1700 K Street, NW
2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20006-3817

The National Citizen’s Crime Prevention Campaign is substantially funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.