Risk Reduction of Sexual Assault - University of Houston
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Risk Reduction of Sexual Assault

While you can never completely protect yourself from someone who may wish to do you harm, here are a few tips, so that you can better protect yourself or someone that you care about. There are a number of ways to both reduce your chances of becoming a victim. For instance, a report by the National Institute of Justice reveals that self-protection actions such as weaponless attacking, running, hiding, getting help, or struggling seem to decrease the risk of rape completion by 80%. Many colleges offer personal development courses in basic self-defense. If you can’t find one on campus, explore your local Y, nearby gyms, and dedicated martial arts studios to learn about their training options.

Know your alcohol limits

Over half of sexual assaults committed against college students involve alcohol, according to researchers at Wayne State University. Intoxication can make you significantly more vulnerable to assaults by impairing your judgment or inhibiting your physical ability to fight off an attacker. Binge drinkers are at a particularly high-risk of suffering incapacitation, blackout or unconsciousness.

What equals 1 drink?

Look at the icons below to see how much of Beer, Wine, or Hard Liquor equal one drink.

12 oz

Wine Glass
5 oz

1.5 oz

Watch your drinks

Take your drink to the restroom with you. Never drink a beverage that has been given to you by someone else or taken from a communal alcohol source (like a punch bowl).

Trust your gut

How many times do you wish you would’ve listened to your first mind? If you get a bad feeling about a location or a person, leave immediately. We often subconsciously process body language and other danger indicators without realizing it. If something feels very wrong or you feel pursued, head in the direction of the nearest crowd, lighted area or building. Start talking loudly on your phone. Many attackers are unwilling to pursue victims who are aggressive or loud, which draws attention to the crime.

Stick with your friends

Attend social gatherings with a group of friends that you trust. Look out for each other and help each other arrive home safely. If you do go out alone, always tell someone where you are going and avoid walking in unlit or untrafficked parts of town or campus.

Be aware of your surroundings

If you have a cell phone or an Ipod, try to avoid having both earphones in your ears. If you don’t know where you are going, walk with confidence anyway, and avoid walking and texting.

Go to social gatherings with a friend

If you arrive with your friend, don’t leave without your friend. Stay loyal to the friends you went to a party with. If your friend gets too intoxicated to stay at the party, take them home. Leave no one behind.

Don’t leave your drink unattended

An old school trick to keep your drink safe, was to place a napkin over your cup, to help alert you if someone is trying to place something in your drink. If you walk away from your drink for any reason, just get a new one.

Think before sending/posting that risque picture

It may seem like a good idea at the time, but if you have a sexy picture to show someone, unless you trust them completely, just offer to show them in person instead of sending it or posting it online.

Don’t be careless about your location on the internet

Using the ‘check in’ option on applications such as Facebook, to let others know where you are, can also give someone vital information about your home. Not only is it saying that your residence might be free to invade, but an attacker could be waiting for you to make your grand re-entrance back home. Feel free to post your whereabouts after the event is already over.

Let someone know that you’re coming or going

Give a quick call ahead to let someone know that you’re on the way or to let them you know that you arrived safely at your destination.