It’s been exactly one year since Hollywood was rocked by numerous allegations of sexual assault against some of the best and brightest in this world of glitz and glamour. It all started when New York Times published an article on October 4 last year telling of the atrocities committed by media mogul Harvey Weinstein. This expose led to the #MeToo movement. Actors, actresses and other alleged victims of sexual assault and harassment have spoken up and helped open the minds of many about this well-kept Hollywood secret.
It opened a Pandora’s box of some sort as men and women who have been victims of these sexual predators have opened up about their dreadful experiences. Sexual assault is sadly an ongoing problem not just in Hollywood but also in work offices, schools and probably every other institution we have.
Still, it is not enough to talk about sexual assault and harassment openly. You still need to know what to do in case you’re being victimized. It’s also important to learn how to prevent these dastardly deeds from happening. We’re not talking about dressing “appropriately” or any other supposed reason why victims are at fault. For Pete’s sake, stop blaming the victims for the criminal acts of others.
In fact, this article should be about the tips on how NOT to sexually assault other people but there’s doubt that sexual predators would be googling this.
Avoiding Sexual Assault At A Party
Some people go to bars or parties to have fun. Others go with the intention of meeting someone. There is a thin line between two people mutually hooking up and one person taking advantage of the other, especially with alcohol involved.
Don’t let your guard down. First of all, don’t touch alcohol if you are not old enough to drink. Second, control your alcohol consumption. Set an alcohol limit and tell your friends to help you keep your promise to yourself.
Don’t accept drinks from strangers and never let your drink out of your sight. It’s pretty easy to slip something into your drink. If you forgot about your drink for a bit, get a new one. Better safe than sorry.
Sexual Assault Prevention At School
If you’re new in campus, make sure you learn the ins and outs pretty quick. Find the safest routes to and from where you’re staying. Look for ones that are well-lit and have lots of people around. Also, take note of the routes you shouldn’t take. If a place is too dark at night, avoid it as much as possible.
If you’ve seen Pitch Perfect, you might have found the “official B.U. rape whistle” joke to be funny. In reality, that would actually help. If you feel you’re not safe, say a stranger is following you, use a whistle to scare your would-be attacker and get other people’s attention.
You’ll likely attend a least one college party in your life. A lot of people, especially women, have been taken advantage of during such frat parties. Sadly, many of these young sexual predators go scot free while the victims of sexual assault are ostracized. Not always but there are instances.
Sexual Harassment At Work
The law states you have the right to a workplace free from sexual harassment. Despite this, sexual assault and harassment are quite common. You must fully understand what accounts for sexual harassment to avoid being victimized.
Behaviors considered forms of sexual harassment include offensive jokes, name calling, hurling insults, ridicule, intimidation, offensive objects and pictures, interference with work performance, unwelcome sexual advances, physical threats, and requests for sexual favors.
Perhaps the worst form of sexual harassment in the workplace is when a boss requires sexual favors in return for keeping your job or getting promoted. In some cases, job applicants are forced to do inappropriate things just to be hired.
One way to fight this is to let the higher-ups know that it’s their responsibility to ensure that their employees feel safe. Remind them that, in some states, companies are required to have a sexual harassment policy. It’s also required that everyone gets a copy and acknowledges the policy.
You can also spearhead some changes in your place of work. Make your bosses know that they should have individuals who are trained to handle sexual assault and harassment allegations. Some employees may be too scared to report any wrongdoings by workmates. Your office should have a proper complaint process and a hotline where employees can report such incidents without exposing their identities.
If you feel you’re sexually harassed, you must make this clear with the offending party. Tell him or her that you find their words or behavior inappropriate and offensive. You should document the harassment by writing down what happened, when it happened, and who are involved. Report the harassment to the HR or your immediate manager. You also have the right to report the incident with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or to consult a lawyer.
Ever since social media became a thing, there have been likely thousands of victims of sexual harassment online. It’s easy to spew out demeaning words if you sit behind a computer with no one knowing who or where you are.
Even worse, there are people who use the internet to bait their victims. Some cases of sexual assault stem from strangers befriending the victims online only to take advantage of them when they meet in person. The best way to avoid this is to stay off social media or at least be wary of potential predators. If you really have to meet someone you met online, make sure you don’t go alone.
The internet can be used in other ways by sex offenders. If you post everything about your life on Facebook or other sites, you’re opening yourself up to these people with bad intentions. Avoid putting your whereabouts on your profile. Even strangers can find out where you are or where you like to hang out if you post it online. Surprisingly, around 61% of sexual assaults were committed by someone the victim knows. Also, never ever say that you’re all alone as delusional people may see this as an invitation to come and assault you.
You have the right to do anything with your social media pages since they’re yours. The unfortunate truth, however, is that some people may use your posts against you or to take advantage of you. It will take some time before society finally figures out that fingers should be pointed at the perpetrators of sexual assaults and not the victims.
Other Ways to Prevent Sexual Assault
It’s not enough to be careful and wary of your surroundings. Some criminals don’t deter easy and you will need something you can use to defend yourself from an attack.
One way to protect yourself from sexual assault is to physically fight your attacker. Go to a class that teaches different self-defense techniques. You will learn what moves you can do to escape specific scenarios. It’s also advisable to learn martial arts. You should always stay fit so you can take someone in a fight.
If you don’t know any self-defense tactic, your best bets are to scratch your attacker (preferably on the face) with your fingernails, pull their hair, bite, and kick them where it really hurts. For male attackers, kicking or punching their midsection will give you enough time to make your getaway. Once you’re safe, don’t wash your hands, particularly your nails. The skin under your nails (from scratching your attacker) could help identify the perpetrator.
Anywhere you go, you should bring something you can use to ward off an attacker. Even if you attend self-defense or martial arts classes, you’re in a better position to avoid being a victim of sexual assault if you have everyday carry items. As the name suggests, these things are tools you bring with you all the time that could help you survive emergency situations.
A flashlight is an EDC tool, which will prove useful when you have to pass through a dark place or when power goes out. A whistle is small enough to bring all the time and is loud enough to scare off attackers and alert other people.
Mace or pepper spray is another popular tool you can use to deter attackers and avoid being a victim of robbery and sexual assault. Practice using one properly so you know what to do when attacked.
When it comes to weapons like knives, handguns, and even tasers, you should check your local laws first. You can purchase them legally but you need the proper permits, especially if you plan on including them in your everyday carry. Also, it’s important you know how to use them. You should be responsible enough to know that they are not some toy you can brandish when you want to.
Invest on a tactical pen. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a writing tool that’s made of sturdy material and designed in a way that you can use it as a weapon. You can also use a tactical pen to break windows to escape if you’re held against your will.
Your phone does a lot of things including protecting you from sexual assault. Aside from having a built-in flashlight, you can also download apps on your smartphone that could help you in emergency situations.
It would be nice if your car could transform into an Autobot and apprehends your would-be attacker. A supporter-like device that sex offenders should wear to keep them from, well, offending anyone seems like a ore realistic idea but it’s doubtful it would get that much support.
Your best option, aside from your EDC, is to have anti-rape devices with you all the time. Such devices can be as simple as keychains, lockets, pendants, earrings, and other small wearable items that give off an alarm when needed.
As a parting advice, please remember that victims of sexual assault are not at fault. Even if you failed to do the valuable tips above, it is still not your fault if you were sexually assaulted or harassed. You never gave permission for the offenders to violate you. What society can do to finally end this culture of rape is to teach everyone that it is NOT okay to violate anyone.
Check out the link below for a short list of everyday carry items. It may give you a better idea on what you can bring in your bag or purse that could help you avoid being a victim of sexual assault. You can also go to The Gentleman Pirate and read more articles about overcoming such dire situations.
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