*Information gathered from RAINN
While you can never completely protect yourself from sexual assault, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted. These are some of my personal tips I follow that are recommended by RAINN.
• Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation. If I am going some place new I always make sure I have my gps with me or a map printed out and someone knows where I am going and when I should be back.
• Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around. I avoid isolated areas like the plague, I also fully try to trust my gut instincts and if something doesn’t feel right I leave. Which is also the reason I always drive myself places and don’t catch rides with friends.
• Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do. I always try to walk with strong tall posture, keys in one pocket, cell phone in the other and I look straight ahead and walk with a purpose.
• Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be. I am always ready to leave someplace I don’t feel comfortable and always have a backup plan incase I start to feel uncomfortable.
• Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable. When ever I am going to my car I have my keys in hand and try to have one hand free, and I am quick. I don’t hang around my car fiddling with shopping bag, door is opened, bags in and as I close my door I lock it instantaneously. It has become a habit.
• Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have cab money. I need to get better about having some form of money on me, but I never go anyplace with out my phone.
• Don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know. This is the reason why I always drive myself places.
• Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone. A must, very important in order to be fully aware of your surroundings.
Sexual assault is a crime of motive and opportunity. Ultimately, there is no surefire way to prevent an attack. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotlines at 1-800.656.HOPE, and online at rainn.org