Welcome Back to our Second Semester of the College Safety Initiative. During this semester we are going to delve a little bit deeper into the world of the Rapist and Sexual Predators to allow us to identify threats before they become a problem.
This semester as is this entire course content is presented to you FREE of CHARGE as a Public Service by your friends at the SELF DEFENSE COMPANY OF GREATER BOSTON (www.SDC-GreaterBoston.com)
In all honesty within this course content, we discuss some touchy subjects, some that you would most likely never want to even think about, but the content is totally relevant and information that you as a young lady need to know to be better prepared to protect yourself and prevent your self from becoming a victim.
Semester Two – Identifying Rapists & Sexual Predators
Sexual Predators & The Methods They Use
A Woman attending college or University is more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than if she did not. A Startling and somewhat frightening statistic, or is it really?
One might assume that the statistic simply makes sense if you consider the college lifestyle. Now once again it is not my intention to shock or upset you the reader but that is a sad reality of life. With the young woman many of whom have never really lived away from home, being in a free environment where they are exposed to such things as the college party life, alcohol, drugs, etc. it is no big surprise and it is quite easy for a young woman to fall prey to the sexual predator.
As unacceptable as that statistic is and it has way to often been conveniently ignored by the colleges and universities, but they are coming around and realizing that they must change the campus culture, especially the attitudes of some of the young male population towards their female counterparts.
Of course, there are certain safety precautions that we can learn and put in place that when understood would help us to better understand, identify, predict, and yes even prevent such senseless acts of violence from being committed by the sexual predators that would exist in such an environment.
A stark reality is that in today’s society, there are many people who hold the belief that the responsibility for a crime lies entirely with the criminal, and while this may be true from both a moral and legal standpoint, this opinion does very little to actually prevent crimes from being committed.
One thing that we all should clearly understand is that unfortunately there will always be criminals, including the rapists and the sexual predators, and that even though they are ultimately responsible and to blame for their crimes, unless we take a certain level of personal responsibility for our own safety, there is a really good chance that we will end up being their victims.
Now you might be of the belief that you should be able to leave your door unlocked and not have your house or your dorm room burglarized, or that you should be able to go to a frat party, without a chaperone, and even get completely intoxicated, that you should not fall prey to the predator and be sexually assaulted.
But, that simply and unfortunately is not the real world that we live in, and accepting reality as it is, we do know that if we leave our doors and windows open when we are out, we put ourselves at risk of being burglarized, and that if we were to get blind drunk at a frat party that we are putting ourselves at a much higher risk of being sexually assaulted. Please understand that in neither case am I implying that the victim is in any way to blame, nor should they ever be made to feel responsible, but, this is of little value when you are dealing with the consequences of these crimes. And the sleazy defense attorney’s whose job it is to get that ratbag off based on some false assumption that you led the poor lad on. An argument that in my opinion holds little water, after all, if that were the case and halfway through the foreplay you simply changed your mind and said “No” then the irresponsible behavior of the other party to pursue and force the issue by violent means is nothing less than RAPE.
Being sexually assaulted has consequences and some of those consequences are in fact life-changing. Looking at that from a purely practical perspective, many women who are raped when attending college or university end up dropping out, and as a result fail to complete their education.
The long-term effects of that decision to leave school leave them with a less competitive edge when it comes to getting a high paid job and/or into the career field that they desire, not to mention the responsibility that they will continue to bare for whatever student debt they may have incurred to that point.
Now from another angle, of course, we need to look at both the emotional and psychological perspective of the results of the crime. Many victims end up suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after such a violent attack, and these are things that they may have to live with for the rest of their lives.
When we combine all these issues, we begin to see just how unfair and saddening the whole situation is. All while the perpetrator of the assault often simply is able to go on with his life, because the crime was either not reported by a victim that felt she would be ridiculed or made to look like the aggressor, or even worse not believed. Yet the scumbag walks around campus as a silent hero, feeling like he got away with it again.
This Semester, of course, is not meant to be about such injustice as it is that the victim of such an assault faces and endures, but it is to teach you how you can adopt some basic practical measures, while learning to identify the potential sexual predators and the situations that they create, and most importantly the focus on this semester is to be able to prevent yourself from being targeted and victimized.
The Real Truth About Rape & Sexual Assaults
As a society, we often fail to accept or even understand what the statistics that are available to us tell us. As a defense mechanism we have built into our personality a sense of optimism, and often refuse that we will ever become “that person” or that the startling statistics actually apply to us. Those kinds of things don’t happen to me.
If I were to ask you where would you most likely be raped, in which location would you be?
Well in a SEPS Academy survey 87% of the female respondents replied that they would most likely be either in their home or in the home of someone else’s home.
In that same survey, another question was asked… “Who is most likely to rape/sexually assault you?” With 67% of the woman answering that it would be a friend or an acquaintance (someone they knew and most likely trusted).
Another interesting question that was asked was how they felt a rape or sexual assault was most likely to occur? Here is a strange reply however with the majority of these women believing that a rape or assault would most likely be committed by someone they knew and, in their home, or someone else’s. 51% of the women surveyed replied that they believed that the rapist (or attacker) were most likely to hide or conceal themselves somewhere and jump out at them or ambush them either on the street or in a park or other public place.
It seems to me that there is somewhat of a total disconnect in this thinking, they knew that the attack would most likely be from someone they knew, and n a location they were familiar with, yet the felt that if they were to be attacked it would be an unknown attacker in a somewhat unfamiliar environment.
The truth of the matter is that most attacks or sexual assaults are by people that you do know and in an environment in which you feel at least a little secure. The attacker has no need to jump out of the bushes (although that is a possibility it is also less likely than the familiar attack).
Now let’s look at the reasons for this:
The attacker is already in your sphere of influence, they don’t need to engage you outside of the sphere.
The attacker is where you are, they don’t come looking for you.
The attacker is most likely already engaging you, and you him.
You trust the attacker based on the fact that they are known to you. This makes it easier for them to approach you or violate your personal space.
This is how most attacks or assaults actually do occur.
Now most of us would love to believe that we are better judges of character than that and that we would be able to spot a predator a mile away. But most sexual predators look like the guy next store. Like your brother or maybe even your best friend. So is it really possible to spot them a mile away? Unfortunately, not.
We would love to imagine that we would be most likely to be assaulted as we walk alone down the street at night and would refuse to accept the possibility that it could be in our own dorm room by an invited guest. Yet in all reality within the safety of our own room is where we are most vulnerable.
Now we, of course, should not walk along totally oblivious when we are walking home alone at night because an assault is possible then but understand that statistically speaking it is less likely to happen in that situation as opposed to the situation discussed above. And when we disregard the most likely scenario because we feel safe within that environment and with the company that we keep, we may tend to let down our guard.
It is never easy for us to accept or admit that we know and trust would be capable of such a vile, despicable act toward us. But that is the sad reality of it all. One reason for this is that we have the preconceived notion of the sexual predator or rapist as being different from us and would stand out in the crowd. This simply is not so, the only real difference is their deviancy, their sense of entitlement, and total disregard for anyone else except their own sick and demented pleasures at any cost. Other than that, they are just like you and me.
It Just Can’t Be True, Joe Is a Good Guy, He Would Never Do Something Like That…
It is that very thinking that causes so many victims to be not believed, and in many cases of rape or assault causing the victim to not report the incident.
I have to tell you though if you are ever a victim of such an assault it is important that you report it, and do so sooner rather than later. The longer you wait to report the worse it is for you. Shame on your part in the event of such a sexual assault should not deter you from reporting the incident and believe me the assailant will most likely try to convince you that you were to blame, but sorry to say and please excuse me, but that is sheer and utter Bullshit. Nothing More.
Rape is Rape, once you have removed your consent by simply saying ‘Stop” or “No, I really don’t want to do this” if the other person continues on, it is nothing more than RAPE.
This same type of disbelief is often prevalent in the case of pedophiles (those who sexually abuse prepubescent children) and it ran rampant in the sexual molestation cases in the Roman Catholic church during the ongoing scandal. After all “Father Tim would never do something like that, you must be lying.” This was the reply I imagine that so many victims heard when they first attempted to tell someone their story. It was that belief that allowed the behavior to go on for years before coming to the surface and finally being exposed for what it truly was a terrible abuse of position, power, and influenced by a select group of priests and church administrators that moved the violators from one parish to another and covering up the deplorable acts.
Yet in many such cases when the truth was told so many people acted in disbelief, “he was a nice man, a quiet man.” That fact alone has nothing to do with a person’s ability to commit such heinous acts against another human being. That ability comes solely from his belief that his victim his there for his pleasure, consent or not, their total disregard for the law or the consequences of their actions, and their lack of emotion, sympathy for their victims. They simply do not care about anyone or anything except their own selfish perverted desires.
I know that I have stated this previously, but it surely bears repeating. The rapist or sexual predator, for the most part, is skilled in the art of social behavior. They are well aware how to overcome people’s objections and misgivings (and often even our own common-sense thinking abilities), they are able to paint themselves in a favorable light, and even convince us that what they want is what we desire as well.
Now that being said they have mastered a game that we may have never even played, and we are an unarmed opponent. But throughout the process, they do however offer clues as to their personalities. They do use certain tools so to speak, they even follow specific patterns to get what they want. The good news is that once we understand how they think and act then we are able to minimize our risk of falling victim to their warped desires. So, in this next section, we are going to examine a stereotypical profile of a rapist.
Profiling A Rapist
There are a few things that we must understand as we begin this section. The first point I must make is that rape is for the most part not primarily about sex. Now that may seem odd to some because it is a sexual act right? But it is about a lot more than just the sexual climax and release of the rapist.
It is in most instances more about:
And we will examine the elements of each in this section.
But we must also understand that many rapists have unknowing partners who are unaware of the true devious behavior of their partner. So, we are not by default safe because the predator is in a relationship.
There are four main types of Rapist (three of which) that were identified by Dr. Nicholas Groth the author of his study published in 1979 “Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender” which was later expanded by the FBI to include a fourth type. These four are listed here:
- Power Assurance Rapists
- Power Assertive Rapists
- Anger Retaliatory Rapists
- Anger Excitement Rapists
Now let’s examine each.
The Power Assurance Rapists, tend to be immature, socially awkward individuals who don’t know how to or haven’t had any experience interacting with the opposite sex, socially or sexually. They live under the mistaken belief that during the process of the assault, their victim will change from a non-consensual, unwilling partner to one that is willing – and may indeed fall in love with their assailant. Often referred to as “Gentleman Rapists”, because they ironically “care” about their victims, and want them to enjoy the experience. They may even go as far as to ask and check to see if their victim is comfortable, and whether or not they are enjoying the particular sexual act they are being forced to engage in. In almost all cases when dealing with such individuals, simply shouting and screaming is enough to scare them off, as this wasn’t part of the fantasy they created or imagined.
No matter what the profile of the rapist, rape is usually born out of a masturbatory fantasy, for example, the rapist masturbates over the fantasy, whether it is of their victim, actually enjoying the assault and eventually becoming agreeable such as in the case of the Power Assurance Rapist, or over the power and control that they have over their victim.
Whilst many rapists and sexual assailants will try and make out that they misread the signals being given off by the other person (the victim) who is being targeted. The truth is, however, that at some point they had created a sexual fantasy around the assault.
There is always a degree (however small) of premeditation in any sexual assault.
The Power Assertive Rapists, this individual tends to have a strong sense of entitlement when it comes to sex and their relationship with women. This is, in my opinion, the most likely type of rapist that one might encounter on campus, usually someone who knows their victim socially. They tend to be an Alpha male personality, who believes that they are better, stronger and more important human than those around them, especially those they consider to be subservient (women).
These individuals tend to include but are not limited to the Football Players and other sports team members who engage in sexual assaults, because they believe their position gives them the right to whatever it is they want whether or not their victim’s consent. In such cases, the rapist is asserting their power over the victim. Now with that understood please understand that I am not saying that every college athlete is a pig or a sexual predator, and also understand that there are Power Assertive Rapists, who do not play sports at all.
You should never be fooled by that quiet and modest person nor excluded them from being a sexual predator. Some people hide their anger and entitlement quite well. However, they may often give themselves away when in the expressing the opinions they have about a woman, or by the things that they may say. We will cover this in more detail a little later in this semester.
The Anger Retaliatory Rapists, tend to be those sexual assailants who have usually been dominated, even emasculated by a strong female character in their life (although not always but usually their mother), and because of that domination, they have developed anger, resentment, and sometimes even rage towards women in general.
During the assault, they work out their anger and aggression, and try and get back some of the power and control they felt they lost or was denied them in their past.
These assaults tend to be physically brutal, aiming to punish and hurt their victims, as such they often use much more, or even excessive force to control the person they’re assaulting. Such assaults involving these predators tend to be brief in nature (more of a slam, bam type of assault) committed quickly (reason being is that there is only so long that a person can stay in such an emotional state). These are one of the few types of rapist who may feel genuine remorse and guilt for what they’ve done afterward. The Power Assertive rapists may apologize for their actions but because of their sense of entitlement to act how they want, it is rarely heartfelt, and is usually done to lessen the consequences of their actions, feeling that such remorse and sorrow although not real will often get sympathy from their victim and avoid them being reported and ultimately punished for their despicable deed.
The Anger Excitement Rapists, although this particular group makes up only a very small percentage of sexual predators, are the ones we should fear the most. Their satisfaction comes from experiencing the joy of inflicting pain on other people. They are however not indifferent to their victim’s pain but rather glory in seeking it out, testing and experimenting with what causes the most pain and distress to the victim.
These type of assaults tend to have a more ritualistic nature, and they may have an order of events that they like to follow. Such an assailant is best described as a sadist. The reason that they should be considered the most dangerous there is always the chance that their fantasies become darker and darker, and if their actual assaults fail to live up to the expectations that come with those fantasies they may eventually end up planning to kill their next victim, in order to enjoy the ultimate sadistic thrill of taking another person’s life.
But with all that stated we need to do a risk evaluation to determine who you are at the greatest risk from and who you are most likely to be targeted by.
The answer to that simple evaluation is that you are most likely to fall victim to either the power assurance or the power assertive rapist.
How to Predict Sexual Assaults
As we have previously stated, the facts are that you are most likely to be sexually assaulted by male friends and acquaintances.
One of the best preventative measures you can take is to alter your definition and perception of what a friend and what a stranger is. Our normal definition of a stranger is someone that we don’t know. But, from a personal safety perspective, it becomes almost necessary to extend this definition to something more along the line of, “anyone who you don’t know how they’d act and behave in a certain situation.”
Personal Safety is often situational and that is why you will see me refer to situational awareness often throughout our education here.
Imagine that you are at a party at somebody’s house, when you come across a boy who you’ve been in a couple of study groups with, maybe even had a couple of classes together, or collaborated on a number of projects with, as part of a group (yet in all instances you have been in a group setting). You always perceived him as a likable guy, maybe you even wanted to get to know him better.
It turns out that this party is at his house, apartment, or even Frat house, and he asks you (seemingly innocent enough) if you want to come to his room because it’s a bit noisy, so you can talk and get to know each other a little better. At that point in time, you are most likely not thinking about this individual as a stranger. But WAIT ONE SECOND HERE (let me go back to our new definition of a stranger just above), “anyone who you don’t know how they’d act and behave in a certain situation.”
Do you know how he is going to react in that situation? NO, YOU DO NOT! As a matter of fact, you only know him an academic context, not in a one on one setting. You might have a few ideas about his views towards women based on the social conversations you have had with him in the group settings of the past. BUT, you have absolutely no experience being alone with him. So based on our expanded definition above he is a stranger still because you’ve never really experienced him in a one on one social setting before.
The problem is that because you are thinking to yourself that you might actually like him, you feel like you want to go with him to his room. After all, not doing so would be awkward, even possibly socially embarrassing, and may even God forbid offend him. That, of course, being something that you would not want to do if you were ever to stand a chance of getting to know him better or even developing a relationship outside of school
The last thing that you are thinking of at that moment is that he may be a sexual predator, of course, we have been teaching all along so far that if he was, this would be the type of setup he might try.
In such a case you want to try to defuse the situation. Even better understand what your alternatives are whilst satisfying the stated intent behind the request.
The young man, of course, has one of two intentions, he either wants to get you into his room for whatever reason, or he wants to be able to talk and communicate with you in a more suitable location.
Now if it is the latter, then as an intelligent smart thinking, situationally aware young lady you realize that doesn’t have to take place in his room, it can take place anywhere where there isn’t a lot of noise.
So with that in mind, you could offer an alternative location, which is more visible and public. After all, there is usually safety in numbers right? But, if he is adamant about going to his room, it is obvious he has other intentions than just talking to you. And those intentions are most likely not honorable.
Such action on your part will let this young man know that you are willing to get to know him a little (little being the operative word here) better at this time, but that as an intelligent young woman that you hold yourself to certain standards that you have set for yourself and that you are not willing to compromise those standards.
That being said if his intentions are in fact honorable, he should have no problem with your suggestion to simply go to a corner where it might be a little quieter to have that conversation. If his intentions are less than honorable, he will most likely excuse himself and go try to find another victim. This can easily be done as follows by you stating, “Well I was just thinking of stepping outside onto the porch to get some fresh air, why don’t you join me?”
The Power Assertive Rapist, as we mentioned earlier may often reveal their attitudes and opinions about women, in the conversations they have with both male and female friends.
They may talk even talk about women leading men on, and/or men not being able to help themselves, etc. These types of statements are aimed at removing the responsibility from them and placing it on the potential victim.
A statement like “men are unable to control themselves sexually” is pure Bullshit! Yet by making such a statement, they are also saying that they are not responsible for their actions. And in their mind (as warped an distorted as it is) allows them to engage in non-consensual sex with the get out of jail clause that there was nothing they could do to control their sexual urges. Even that their behavior is natural and to be expected sexual behavior – it is not their fault that they acted in this way.
When a guy makes such seemingly harmless comments, they should be taken note of rather than simply dismissed, or written off as just boys being boys. They are actually strong clues into an individual’s attitude towards sex and their sexual relationships.
Making the argument that women lead men on, also is an attempt to take away his responsibility for behaving respectfully toward women. It tries to place the blame for wanting to sleep with a woman, squarely on the woman’s shoulders.
Another statement that gives away this type of attitude is when a man proclaims when a woman dresses provocatively that they are somehow “Asking for it”, and shouldn’t be surprised when a man refuses to accept their “No” as really meaning “NO!”.
People often reveal a lot about who they are, and what they believe in what they say, and we should take note of it.
When a person exhibits unexpected behaviors and actions these should also set off alarms. One such unexpected and even borderline acceptable behavior might be when male friends and fellow students, show up at your room or your house at uninvited or unexpected hours. Say, for example, someone knocks at your door late one evening. And when you open it, it is one of your fellow study group members standing there. Before you even have time to speak, he begins to explain why he’s there. He tells you, that he is really struggling with a particular paper, and it’s due in two days and he is still unsure what direction he should take with it. He continues on before you can get a word in edgewise he really needs to get a good grade on this one, and his GPA is suffering this semester, and he needs to get a good grade on this particular paper to get it back up, blah blah blah… and on and on. Then he continues on that you are the only one in the group who can help him.
Well, this scenario is a prime example of WTMI (Way Too Much Information) far more than you really needed to know, and when people give you too much information, they are doing so intentionally.
Most of the facts in that story elaborated on by the other student are irrelevant, but the point I want to emphasize to you is that the intention could be to take up enough mental bandwidth, as you process all the useless random facts, in hopes that you don’t ask the only important question: what is he doing at your room at this time of night?
Instead, you might actually ask him, what he wants. And he might reply that he just wants to come in and quickly go over the outline of his paper with you so that you can give him some constructive criticism, and help him get a better grade.
You suggest that the two of you might go to the library. He then persists insisting that would take too long and he only needs 10 minutes of your time.
You being an intelligent and aware woman then suggest that you go to the common area in your dormitory. Which he insists that he passed it on his way to your room, and it was packed.
If it seems like every alternative that you offer as opposed to letting him in your room, he has an objection to. Gavin De Becker, a renowned security professional refers to this as, “Discounting Your No”.
With each alternative you deliver, you are effectively saying, “No”, that you don’t want him in your room, and he continues countering with reasons why it should be your room. Understand that predators are persistent, and will attempt to keep chipping away at every objection and alternative you give until you run out of them or give up.
This type of behavior is a dead giveaway and should set off all sorts of bells and whistles or alarms that should cause you to raise your guard.
A method that some people use to try to turn a “No” into a “Yes” is something called Typecasting. If it seems that he isn’t getting the entry he desires he might attempt to turn the tables by saying something like, “Well I didn’t want to believe what the other students in the group were saying about you, that you always turn your back on people in need.”
You, of course, know that this isn’t true, as you’ve offered some alternative locations in which to study and help him, and he’s turned these down. But, Typecasting is a powerful tool, and everything about you wants to turn and say to him, “That’s not true, I’m not that type of person” and let him in (which was all he wanted in the first place). Remember these types of people have practiced all sorts of deceptions to satisfy their demented desires, and typecasting is an aggressive accusation that puts you in a socially awkward position – something that sexual predators like to do. In an attempt to convince you to give in. Don’t fall for it, you know the old saying forewarned is forearmed.
Another trick used by these predators in an attempt to get you to comply with their demands/wishes is “Loan Sharking”. This can take many forms and can even be retrospective. It works on the foundation that human beings want to repay the kindness shown to them, by being kind in return or giving back.
So, the persistent boy continues on or changes the focus of his attack by referring back to things that he has done to help you or for you in the past – it may be that they deliberately did these things – in hopes of being able to use them as ammunition insinuating that you owe him and that your help in his time of need would be payback.
Now we all know that it is immensely difficult not to feel in debt to an individual that has, in fact, helped you or done something for you in the past. And feeling that you should pay them back, but by this time it should be more than obvious that the most important thing to this person is not to get your assistance but to get into your room.
You may by this time be weakening. He is using every tool at his despicable disposal to break down your defenses. His constant prodding and pushing is tiring and exhausting due to its socially awkward nature and you may start to wonder if you are being overly suspicious of his motives.
The skilled predator is well attuned to recognizing when you’re ready to give in, and they may make an Unsolicited Promise, saying something like, “Look, I really could use your help, and you are the only one I can turn to, just let me come in for 10 minutes, don’t worry nothing is going to happen.”
Well if you ever watched a horror movie and heard this line or a similar one, you’d know what the next scene would look like, and it wouldn’t be a good ending for the person who’d just heard this. After all, you have not even raised an objection based on safety, so why is the person at your door telling you not to worry?
This particular technique is based on a classic sales technique called “Closing Doors”, salesman uses this to close a deal. The concept of this close is to knock down all your actual objections to the point where you just have to come out and say that you simply don’t want what the person is selling. It is either that or they feel as though they have gone through the whole sales process most people don’t say this and end up signing.
Imagine for me that you were looking to buy a car, and the salesman asks you if you’re ready to sign the paperwork.
The truth of the matter is that you don’t want the car but you feel you need to put up some objections. So, you say that your maximum budget for financing was $150/month, and they are currently offering you an option that would cost you $175.
Well at that point the salesman must either close that door and overcome that objection to lose the sale, so he extends the financing by another year bringing the monthly payment down to $135.
Objection overcame… You tend to feel like you have accomplished your objectives and sign the deal buying the car.
Predators attempt to do the same, and just like the Car salesman, they have a pile of tricks up their sleeves to do this. As they sense that they are close to closing the deal, in this case, making their way into your dorm room, they will attempt to close the door on the last objection you can make; that concern for your own personal safety.
Although you had not yet voiced the personal safety objection the predator knows that at some point, he will have to overcome it You may have even avoided this in hopes of being polite, and not offending their feelings by suggesting that you didn’t feel safe with having them in your room. There close here by saying, “don’t worry, nothing’s going to happen”, clearly plays the personal safety card and says specifically that you are refusing to let them in, is because you think something will happen. But this battle has raged on and you are worn down, and feeling that they won’t go unless you let them in, and with the knowledge that if you don’t it will look like you think they’re a threat (which in some people’s minds would be rude and awkward), you may well let them come in. But let me pose an alternative solution for you. By saying, “You are probably right that nothing is going to happen, however, I don’t know you well enough, to risk my safety by letting you into my room. If you really want me to help you with your paper I will gladly meet you tomorrow morning at the library.” This is most certainly not rude, and if they take it that way then so what? What is really is, of course, is just setting and staying true to your own personal boundaries and good common sense about situational awareness and your own personal safety.
So, let’s look at that and summarize it here again.
This process of grooming – which involves getting you to gradually hand over control of a situation to the predator – is made up of the following steps:
- Too much information
- Discounting your “No”
- Loan Sharking
- Team Building
- The Unsolicited Promise
When you feel that someone is attempting to groom you in this way, you need to get away from that situation as quickly as possible. Violent situations can develop faster than you may think, and assaults can happen extremely quickly.
Now, you may think that in the situation described above, it would be safe to invite the male student who needs your help, into your room as long as you keep the door open, and that would be okay or that you can give him 10 minutes of your time and that will be that. But you just never know. After all, 10 minutes is a long time, and anything can happen and change in that amount of time.
Or you may even think that it’s ok to let him in because your roommate will be back in 5 minutes. But will they really? You never know.
Far be it for me to be an alarmist, but, women have been raped on subway trains between stops and all within a matter of seconds. We can often confuse the sexual assault with consensual sex, where it may take the man a certain amount of time to become aroused and be capable of having sex. Yet the predator may already be aroused when they attack their victims and are ready to have sex as soon as they can get their victim undressed to a point where this is practical, and a short skirt doesn’t have to be pulled up too far nor a pair of panties pulled down too far to make this possible. As soon as the attacker’s intentions become realized you should make every attempt to escape the situation. If you are retreating to your dorm room to avoid the attack be sure to close and securely lock your door and stay in your room, or if in your room get out of there and head for the nearest public place.
Dating Is Fun and Should Be Enjoyable But Never Ignore Personal Safety While on Dates
Most college-age women have most likely had some dating experience as they made their way through high school, but if you haven’t started dating yet, or have little experience dating, you may want to consider a few things when you set up your dates.
You have met the most wonderful guy, he is good looking and quite charming. Seems like a great idea when he finally asks you out on a date. But as we have preached throughout this segment all along you need to be aware of certain conditions and circumstances that you must be aware of when it comes to dating safety. No matter how much you like somebody, it is important to realize that in the beginning you really do not know them on more than a casual level.
Now I know you might be thinking to yourself “Gee, how am I ever going to get to know them if I can’t be with them?” And there is a certain element of truth to that. But you need to proceed with caution.
Start off by going out with them in a group environment, possibly even a double date. It is never a good idea to put yourself in a position where you are alone with someone until you have gotten to know them better. It is always better to err on the side of caution, and always better safe than sorry.
You need to realize that this charming guy that seems like the nicest guy in the world can act and behave very differently when you are in a situation where you are alone with them. He may normally be chatty and confident in a group environment yet quiet and introverted in a dating scenario. This wonderful guy who you thought was nice and considerate, turns out to have some views and opinions that he feels safe to express to you, that you find to be extremely offensive. It is always worth remembering that dates can and often do go bad.
It is always better to keep first dates short, and always give yourself room and reasons to exit the situation without causing offense.
Often first dates are the best midweek. A date set for a Friday or Saturday night would lead the person you are meeting to assume that you have most likely cleared the evening to spend with them and that you have nothing else planned.
If the weekend date scenario if the date starts to go bad, it is more unbelievable that you can make the case that you have something else planned for the evening, excusing yourself because you have something else to do isn’t really believable. On the other hand, if you set dates for weeknights, you can always make legitimate arguments, about having to get back early to finish a paper that is due the next day, or you have to study for an exam the next day.
It is often best for the first date to arrange to meet for a drink somewhere, or for coffee. Bring along a friend if that makes you feel more comfortable explaining that you forgot you had made plans to spend the evening together but didn’t want to blow him off, so you hope he doesn’t mind (this type of message can easily be texted to him an hour or so before your scheduled meeting, and if he has an issue with that then you might want to reconsider meeting him in the first place. But as you do meet up if things are going well, and If you like the person, you can possibly stick around for a second drink or cup of coffee. But if things seem to be going in a direction that you feel differently or unsafe you can make your excuses and leave.
Before going out on that first date especially if you are meeting him (always in a well-lit public place where you both will be seen by other people both working there and other customers) be sure to have a prebuilt excuse that gives you the opportunity to leave, and states this at the start of the date.
Have a friend call you an hour or so into the date to check on you and make sure that you are alright, and if you feel the need to bail out using that phone conversation as your exit excuse. At which point you can tell your date that your roommate has fallen ill, and you told her that if she took a turn for the worse to call or text you, and that you’d come back. As a preemptive measure, you can always at the start of the date, apologize that you may have to leave if you get a call or text. This is a much more effective and believable way of getting away from the bad date than suddenly making an excuse after a 5-minute period of silence, or after your date has said something that upsets you or makes you uncomfortable.
It is a great idea before the start of the date to set a time limit and stick to it, and don’t accept any sudden changes of plan that your date makes. If you have agreed to meet for a drink at a bar, meet for a drink at a bar. You have told your friends, parents, or roommates where you are planning on being. Never let your date change the venue when you get there. This is a trick often employed by the Predatory individuals, as they will often attempt to make sudden changes to a plan, so you don’t have the time to consider the consequences for you of that change. This sudden attempted change in venue can put you in a socially awkward situation.
If you have agreed to meet at a local bar for drinks it is always a good idea to ask a friend to come along and go to check it out beforehand. The last thing that you want is to suddenly realize that your date is taking you to a seedy, poorly lit dive bar. Remembering that you have set that time limit and your date is trying to convince you to go somewhere else, you really want to stick to your plans. After all, if their offer is good today, it should be good tomorrow, and you can take them up on that offer another time.
You have made a certain commitment when you decide to go on a date with someone, you have picked out the right clothes, spent the time prettying yourself up, got yourself to where ever it is that you are going to meet. Realize however that you should be prepared to lose your investment in the date, and not convince yourself that you should keep on with it if it is going badly.
Sometimes in our lives, we really want things to work out. We may really be attracted to that boy, he may make us feel good in that group setting. He may be our dream guy and we are hoping that it will work out so badly, that we may make some really bad decisions. But even though you have invested your time and energy preparing for this date, it is not the end of the world if it does not work out the way you hoped it had. You may after just a short time decide that you don’t actually want to spend any more time with this person.
Remember that on this first date that your date is basically still a stranger to you, so don’t expect too much and if it does work out then that will simply be a bonus. The reality is that it doesn’t matter what other settings and contexts you know them in, and have experience of how they will act and behave. This is a dating scenario, and you have no knowledge of how they act in such a setting. This is, however, a good rule to keep in mind, until you have more experience of them in a dating context.
The Sexual Assault & Alcohol
There are quite a few problems with the consumption of alcohol, especially at the college level. The fact that the average college-age student is not legally of age to consume alcohol but that is not the focus of this posting, and I refuse to lecture on that subject.
In a perfect world, however, you should be able to consume as much alcohol as you want, without ever putting yourself at risk. We, of course, do not live in a perfect world, and we all realize that drinking too much has many adverse effects. One of which is it increases our chances of being sexually assaulted. There are of course a few reasons for this:
- Alcohol consumption reduces our inhibitions
- Alcohol limits our ability to make sensible and safe decisions
- Alcohol can affect us physically, making it difficult to resist an attacker
- Alcohol can make us tired and sleepy
One of the reasons people enjoy drinking is that they become more confident because of it. Lulling them into a false sense of euphoria. It is much easier to overcome your inhibitions allowing you to talk, or to dance with somebody if you’ve had a couple of drinks. There is nothing wrong with this of course as long as you drink and act responsibly.
Over consuming however often causes us to set aside our better judgement and our inhibitions that you might later regret. After all, with our limited or diminished inhibitions it might seem like a great idea to flirt and chat closely with one or more of the guys in attendance giving them entirely the wrong message. You may have the most innocent intentions and simply hoped to have a bit of fun, yet your actions could be interpreted as a sexual invitation by some. Now it may be that nothing actually happens at that time, but by the time you wake up and sober up the next day, the story is making its way around campus on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and any other social media platforms. The unfortunate truth is that what goes up on the internet stays on the internet. It is there forever for the world to see.
It is a fact that under the influence of alcohol, your ability to make good responsible decisions will surely be impaired. You may find yourself accepting rides from strangers or people you’ve just met, you may decide to walk home rather than get a taxi, things you would never do sober. Or even worse deciding if you are tired and exhausted, you may decide that dealing with this is your number one priority, and that staying with somebody you’ve just met in their room makes the most sense. It will be okay because they have told you not to worry because nothing is going to happen.
Alcohol can possibly make it hard and/or near impossible for us to put up any form of resistance against an assailant. You may have taken somebody’s offer of a bed or a couch for the night, believing that everything would be okay or that nothing would happen, only to find yourself being undressed as you sleep. If you have drank too much, you may find it difficult to coordinate enough resistance and to prevent them from doing this.
Many rapists are able to use this lack of resistance as part of their defense if they are prosecuted that the sex was consensual, even though it wasn’t, and unfortunately too many times their side of the story is believed.
As we covered in the First Semester it is not in a college/university’s best interest to get to be known as an establishment with a high number of sexual assaults, and so there are many institutions that will only judge it to be rape in the most clear-cut of cases.
Rape and Sexual Assaults can occur, and be prosecuted, even if the victim didn’t say no. If it can be proved that what occurred was non-consensual, regardless of whether the individual did or did not explicitly say “No”, then it is a sexual assault.
It should also be noted that you can be raped and sexually assaulted by a partner or boyfriend. Being in a relationship does not protect a partner who engages in forced and non-consensual sex with you. Once you exercise your right to refuse if the other person persists on then it is not consensual whereby making the forced act one of rape.
So please be aware that despite the initial euphoria and energy that alcohol brings, over consumption will quickly tire and exhaust you.
If you are at a party drinking at a faster rate than your friends, you may get tired and want to leave before them, even though you all agreed to leave together. This can find you trying to make your own way home in a disorientated state such a decision could possibly put you at risk.
Also, be aware that others will also notice the state you are in, and may well try to take advantage of it, knowing that you’ll have difficulty remembering everything that happened to you.
If you find yourself at a party where somebody is refilling or getting drinks for you, and attempting to get you to speed up your drinking, take note of that action and slow down.
Your college/university years as you conclude your education and prepare to make your way into the real world should be fun ones, and you should want to capitalize on the investment that you have made in your education, by finishing and graduating with your degree in your chosen field.
But, being sexually assaulted, can and will change your life, and the possibility of that assault is one of the biggest risks that you will face for dropping out. Whilst you should never have to take responsibility for your safety, the responsibility to avoid becoming a victim, the sad fact is that you must. If you have the reputation as somebody who sets boundaries and sticks to them, you will go a long way to letting people you know that you are not an easy target.