What are suggested rape prevention strategies*?
One step to creating a safer environment is for both men and women to clearly and openly communicate about what they want and do not want sexually. Clear and open communication is crucial in any sexual situation.
- Examine your needs and desires before you get into a sexual situation.
- Clearly tell your partner what you want. If there are limits that you want to maintain, state what they are and stick to them.
- Clearly ask your partner what he/she wants.
- Listen to each other.
- Be aware of non-verbal cues, but do not rely on them. If you are not sure, ask.
- Challenge the myths and stereotypes. Challenge your friends who minimize rape or don’t understand it, who accept definitions of sex and gender roles that include forcing someone to have sex or getting them too drunk to say “No.” Talk with friends and give one another the opportunity to be assertive, respectful, honest and caring.
- Think about your sexual desires and limits and how you respond to social pressures. How do alcohol and/or drugs affect your sexual-decision making? How do you learn someone else’s desires and limits? How do you express your own? Knowing these things before going on a date can help prevent any misunderstandings later.
- Communicate clearly and be assertive. Saying “yes” or “no” may be difficult, but it is important. Passive or polite approaches can be misunderstood or ignored. Be direct and firm with someone who is pressuring you. Tell your partner what you want or don’t want.
- If you feel uncomfortable during a conversation, perhaps as a result of hearing dirty jokes or derogatory remarks, stop the conversation. If you feel uncomfortable because of unwanted physical contact, such as rubbing your back or stroking your hair without your permission, ask or tell the person to stop.
- If you are uncertain about what you want, stop and talk about it. It is okay to be unsure, and perhaps it means you want to wait. Remember that saying “no” now does not mean that you will never want to have sex with this person and saying “yes” doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind.
- Trust your instincts. Even if you can’t explain why you feel a certain way, you have the right to trust your feelings and have them respected.
- Listen carefully to what the other person is saying and pay attention to what is happening around you. Are you getting mixed messages? If so, stop. Explain why you are confused. Do you understand the other person? If not, ask rather than assume. Talk together about what would be most enjoyable for each of you. Always watch for nonverbal clues.
- Remember that effective and assertive communication may not always work. Sometimes people just don’t listen. However, no one ever deserves to be raped!
General Strategies for Safety
- Avoid secluded places.
- Tell someone where you are going and have a way to get home.
- Know your limits and observe them. Alcohol and drugs impair everyone’s perception and judgement.
- Watch your drink carefully; do not leave your drink unattended or accept one from someone you do not know well or trust.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel something is wrong, do not ignore your feelings.
- Assert yourself. If you do not like something that your partner is doing, tell them clearly and firmly to stop.
- Use a buddy system when you go to parties. Before you go to the party, agree with your friends when you are going to leave, or under what circumstances you will leave each other.
- Agree upon signals to give your friends that will indicate needing an “escape” or a way out if a situation becomes uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to intervene if you think your friend is in a bad situation.