Prevention & Resistance

Real rape prevention consists of teaching potential rapists to choose NOT to rape, rather than teaching potential victims how to avoid a rapistís choice. Focusing on potential victims implies their responsibility. Rape is the rapistís choice, not the victimís. No matter what someone does or does not do, rape is never the victimís fault. No one asks for it or deserves it.

Most prevention lists assume that the attacker is a stranger. In fact, 4 out of 5 rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. This list discusses what you can do to avoid rape by acquaintances as well as strangers.

Know Your Rights—You have the right to feel good about yourself, to control your own body, to initiate or to refuse sexual activity, to set limits on sexual activity, to say NO at any time, and to change your mind.

Trust Your Feelings—If you feel uncomfortable or your intuition tells you something is wrong, then trust that feeling or intuition and do whatever you need to do to feel safe again. Get out of the situation, no matter how foolish you think you may appear. Chances are your intuition is right, and if it's wrong, so what? Pay attention to your "little voice" and "vibes".

Stay Alert And Aware—Know where you are, where you are going, who is ahead of you and behind you. Briefly look others in the eye and let them know you know they are there. Pay attention to odd behavior.

Communicate Assertively—Know what you want. Tell people, in no uncertain terms, how you are feeling. When you say NO, mean it, and when you say yes, know what it is you are agreeing to. Walk confidently and purposefully, and even if you are lost, look like you know exactly where you are going.

Remain In Control—Stay sober. If you like to drink, drink in moderation. Pay for your own way on early dates so there are no unstated "obligations." Go only to places you know, always have a ride home and enough money for a cab or a phone call. Set up a buddy system with someone you know.

Take A Practical Self-Defense Class—You don't need a black belt in karate to defend yourself effectively. If you carry a weapon, be trained in its use and realize that it is often out of reach and could be used against you. Classes in punching and kicking can empower you. Many groups offer inexpensive classes periodically.

Rape Aggression Defense System (R.A.D.) is offered by Case Western Reserve University Police and Security Services. Contact: Karen Gregor at 368-6811 or at

If you are confronted by an attacker

Stay Calm—Although difficult, try not to give in to panic, but remain as calm and assertive as possible. Quickly check out your situation (how dangerous, where is nearest help, etc.).

Try To Escape—The two most effective methods of escape are yelling and running. When you have chosen a method for escape, DO IT, and have an alternative plan in mind. If there is a weapon involved, you may want to bide your time, but never give up looking for a chance to escape. Don't worry about what others think or about embarrassing yourself. Demand help from anyone nearby.

Resist Immediately—If you need to resist physically, do so decisively and quickly, then escape. The goal of any physical self-defense is to buy a chance to escape by temporarily incapacitating the attacker. Most resources say don't quarrel with an attacker, and try not to cry.

Take Mental Notes—Realize that giving in is not consent. Sometimes victims cannot escape an attacker; your priority then becomes to survive and not to let the attacker's crime go unpunished. Take mental notes on everything that happens. Get some of the attacker's clothing and leave something of yours in the place where you are attacked.

If I donít feel safe, what can the university do for me?

A university representative can work with you to identify options that will help you feel safe, such as finding another place to live, changing parking and transportation routines, and looking at academic and social concerns. Usually, the Office of Student Affairs coordinates these efforts. However, representatives from other on-campus resources can also assist you.

University Police and Security Services officers are available to provide walking or riding escorts in the University Circle area, 24 hours a day. To arrange for an escort call 368-3333. Reporting any unusual or suspicious activity to University Police immediately will help the university maintain your safety.