I just got another email from a well-meaning friend who wants me to take special precautions to avoid being raped by a stranger. I have been trained to watch for these things since I took my first self-defense class with my family when I was about 12 years old. I think I know most of these, but it’s still valuable to be reminded. When we commit these to memory, we are more likely to use them instinctively under an attack.
Regardless, the email struck a nerve because there is not enough information circulating about how to protect ACQUAINTANCE rape. Did you know that more than 50% of all sexual assault incidents reported took place within a mile of the victim’s home? Forty percent occur in the victim’s home.
I am not shocked by the statistics. Many of you already know that earlier this year I was raped and sodomized by a man I knew. That’s a story I share in detail only in private and to inspire others at this stage. Thanks to the wonderful counseling of Dr. Rohini Vira, I am well on my path to complete healing and do not want sympathy–or even revenge. I want to get the word out about the true dangers.
Click below to familiarize yourself with the statistics.
We tend to have Hollywood visions of what a rape will look like. We think it will only happen if we are in a bad neighborhood at night and alone. Some of my friends think only minority, poor, drug-addicted, or other demonized stereotypical men commit these crimes. IT’S NOT TRUE. My abuser was a Caucasian CPA with a good job, two nice homes, and a wife. I had known him for nearly seven years. But I let him into my home, knowing he was very drunk and had passed the point of making good judgments hours before. I failed to trust my own good judgment because I was trying to be “a good friend.” Rather than leave this grown man to take care of himself, I took on the problems he created and offered him a place to pass out. In retrospect, I realize this was stupid for a list of reasons.
My advice? The very second anyone pushes their wants on you and stops listening to your needs–whether it’s about what time you are going somewhere, where you are going, and especially about his hand on any part of your body–remove yourself from the situation. A selfish man will hurt you. He might not rape you, but he is incapable of giving you and your needs equal status. He will hurt you in a number of ways and the injuries may very well escalate to physical pain.
I was raised in Kentucky, in a very Catholic family, so I completely understand that young girls are taught to be nice and to put their needs last. STOP IT. You deserve to be respected. Your needs are important. Put yourself first. Trust your instincts. Don’t feel bad about not being nice if you feel uncomfortable. That’s the best way to protect yourself that I know.
Finally, if you are passionate about preventing rape, please volunteer your time. My attack occurred on a Friday, and even the crisis hot-line was limited in the services it provided on the weekend. I was essentially told to put my breakdown on hold until Monday during regular business hours. Fortunately, I was strong enough to keep myself together.
Be safe. Be strong. Put yourself first. Educate yourself. Volunteer if you can, but do it for yourself (at least 50%), too.
Afraid you didn’t always have or give consent?
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City attorney and mediator who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills, especially in business and employment disputes. Her holistic, integrative approach to conflict resolution draws from her experience as a crime victim, human resources supervisor, minor league sports agent, and trial attorney. She is a 2001 graduate of the State University of New York Buffalo Law School trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).