Strategic Living

Suggested Education and Materials on Sexual Assault

What You Need to Know About Acquaintance Sexual Assault and Rape

Not-So-Fun Facts:

Most rapes are planned in advance. The perpetrator carefully selects targets who seem distracted, naive, preoccupied, impaired, or have a strong desire he will promise to fulfill. He cultivates their trust, and leads them to circumstances that favor a successful assault. The perpetrator often tries to diminish their target's decision-making ability (90% of teen sexual assault involve alcohol and/or drugs), as well as their ability to effectively respond or fight back against an assault.

In 75 to 90% of cases, the perpetrator and victim knew each other. Perpetrators are most often friends, friends of friends, family members, classmates, boyfriends, or ex-boyfriends. In fact, the closer the relationship the more likely it is for a rape to be completed rather than attempted.

The after-effects can be profound and long-lasting. Victims of sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression; 6 times more likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder; 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol; 26 times more likely to abuse drugs; and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide than their peers.

Top Five Actions to Take when Feeling Threatened:

  • Pay attention to your gut feelings! Intuition is powerful and critical to your safety. "Creepy" feelings are your brain's way of saying PAY ATTENTION!
  • Pay attention to unusual behavior. Most assailants are people you know. When contemplating assault, their body language changes; you may not understand why, but a feeling that something's wrong is an alarm.
  • Unusual behavior is often a "test." This is the test you want to fail! The test is often a minor boundary violation the assailant commits to gauge your reaction. Do you assert your boundaries (bad victim), or giggle nervously and tolerate the violation (more likely victim)?
  • Interrupt. Nobody every REALLY died of embarrassment - but women have died because they didn't want to make a scene. Use your voice, and insist on controlling your own safety. Leave an uncomfortable situation.
  • Fight back. It works. Most women who fight back, prevail. Predictors of successful self-defense are (a) the target recognizes that an assault is happening, (b) she resists the assault.

Nobody ever asks to be raped. Unfortunately we live in an environment where victims are often blamed for the actions of the rapist. Remeber, the rapist is the one who made the choice to rape.

More Actions You Can Take:

Make a deal with your friends that you'll all look out for each other at parties. If you think your buddy was drugged, go to the ER ASAP. Know available resources in your community (see this list for some of Seattle's resources). Take a self-defense class.

For college girls: Know where the emergency phones are. Have the numbers for late-night vans and NightWalk services in you cellphone. Have agreements with your roommates about overnight guests. Know the help resources available on campus as well as in the community.

For Everyone: Demand justice.

Download the PDF, in full color, to hang on your wall or fridge.

Recommended Books


Seattle Area Resources

King County Sexual Assault Resource Center runs a 24/7 rape relief hotline (888-990-6423) and has a host of other material available online.

Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress' website has a collection of fact sheets and resources, as well the menu of services they offer.

Crisis Clinic of King County offers a 24/7 hotline (866-427-4747) as well as online resources.

Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Information Service (SARIS at the University of Washington) is a confidential and safe starting point for students affected by sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking.

SlutWalk Seattle is a grassroots protest movement aimed at eradicating victim-blaming.

Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to unite agencies engaged in the elimination of sexual violence, through education, advocacy, victim services, and social change.

Sexual Violence Law Center has a page that points to the RCW (Revised Code of Washington, a/k/a"the law") on a viairety of topics around sexual assault, such as protection orders, mandatory reporting, stalking, and sex offenses.

ACT for Kids -- lots of booklets and info for kids of all ages, from toddler to teen, as well as their parents, teachers, and other caregivers.

Men Against Sexual Violence -- why this is a men's issue too, and what men can do to make a positive difference.


National Resources

RAINN's National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

Speaking Out Agains Rape (SOAR) runs national awareness, education and prevention programs to empower survivors of sexual violence and transform the public?s understanding and acceptance of rape victims.

Safer Campus empowers students to hold their colleges and universities accountable for strong sexual assault policies and programming.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center has a rich e-learning selection of mostly free videos, recorded webinars, and podcasts.

Safe Schools Coalition has a large collection of material for educators, students, and parents.

Centers for Disease Control has fact and stat sheets on all kinds of violence and the impact of sexual assault.

Green Dot is a national movement committed to developing materials and training to end power-based violence.

The Date Safe Project has a wealth of information, some free and some for fee, on consent. How to begin, and continue, conversations between parents and children, and among peers.

There's an App for That

Circle of 6 is a new iPhone app that aims to prevent violence before it happens. Winner of the White House's "Apps Against Abuse" Challenge of 2011, this app gives you pre-programmed contact with up to six of your most trusted friends and allies should you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

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