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Are you prepared?

  • Every 68 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.

  • 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted).

  • From 2009-2013, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated or found strong evidence to indicate that 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse.

  • A majority of child victims are 12-17. Of victims under the age of 18: 34% of victims of sexual assault and rape are under age 12, and 66% of victims of sexual assault and rape are age- 12-17.

Helpful Hints: 

1. Practice boundary setting every day. “Say no, ask for more space, opt out of something you don’t want to do. Don’t worry about being perceived as being rude,” Susan said. The more you practice assertiveness and give yourself permission to have needs, the easier it gets to defend them. The problem isn’t having boundaries— it’s people who don’t respect boundaries. 

2. Trust your gut. “Our instincts are often totally on point, but we override them with second-guessing,” said Aishah Shahidah Simmons, an abuse survivor and author of Love WITH Accountability: Digging Up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse. “Women are socialized to play nice. We have to resocialize ourselves to say, ‘That’s not OK. I don’t like this.’ ” 
The danger of being nice when you want to disengage, said Simmons, is that nice gets interpreted as “yes.” Assess the situation. “If you’re uncomfortable, get out. Don’t feel like you must appease the other person.”

3. Support survivors. Changing the narrative begins with sharing experiences and listening to those who’ve survived abuse. “Talk to others about situations that make you feel unsafe, and look for community solutions to violence,” said Susan. “We’re apt to focus on dramatic media stories when in fact, the majority of violence against women involves everyday situations and relationships.”

4. Believe that you absolutely can defend yourself. Women can and do prevent attempted assaults.

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