A woman somewhere in America is raped every two minutes, according to statistics from the United States Department of Justice, and 77 percent of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, such as an acquaintance or relative.
Unfortunately, one of the consequences of such heinous acts is the feeling of inadequacy, helplessness and fear that drive many victims to never even report the crime. The FBI reports that only 37 percent of all rapes are reported to the authorities. This statistic not only points to a problem on a nationwide level but according to the Maryland Sheriffs’
Association, it is a problem currently plaguing communities here in the State of Maryland.
The Journal of Forensic Sciences reports that of the 22 substances used in drug-facilitated rape, alcohol is the most common finding in investigations. Often, innocently joining someone for a couple of drinks could lead to what is most commonly known as date rape. Research has found that 90 percent of date rape occurrences take place when either the
victim or attacker had been drinking.
So, how can women in the community take the preventative measures to keep from being victimized? A group of rapists were interviewed in a prison about what they look for in a potential victim. The following are facts women should consider:
The time of day men are most likely to attack and rape a woman is in the early morning between 5 and 8:30 a.m.
The number one place women are abducted from is grocery store parking lots. The second is parking lots/garages and the third is public restrooms.
There are a few details men look for in a potential victim. These include hairstyle (attackers are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other long hairstyle that could easily be grabbed) and clothing (loose clothing is easy to remove quickly). Attackers also look for women who are on their cell phones, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are distracted and can be easily overpowered.
A woman who “puts up a fight” discourages the aggressor because the attempted rape becomes too time consuming. The men interviewed said they would not pick on a woman carrying an umbrella or any similar object that can be used in defense from a distance.
The following are a few defense mechanisms to keep in mind:
* If someone is following behind you on a street, garage, elevator or stairwell, look the person straight in the face and ask them a question or make general small talk. Once you’ve looked them in the face and could identify them in a lineup, you lose appeal as a target.
* If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell ‘stop,’ ‘stay back’ or ‘I have pepper spray.’ Most of the rapists indicated that they would leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back.
* If someone grabs you, maybe you can’t beat them with strength but you can outsmart them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and armpit or the upper inner thigh — hard.
* When the attacker puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them as far back as possible. After the initial hit, always go for the groin.
* Always be aware of your surroundings. Take someone with you if you can and don’t dismiss any odd behavior. Trust your instincts.
* The Charles County Sheriff's Office reminds citizens to notify the Sheriff's Office if they
see a suspicious person. Officers will always respond to investigate the report.
* If you are sexually assaulted, the Sheriff’s Office encourages you to report the crime
immediately. Officers will not only conduct an investigation but will also ensure you
have access to victim services.