By Sgt Nathalie Ranger
Rape is a crime which affects all members of society, its victims and those close to them. The more informed citizens are about the crime of rape, the better prepared they will be to prevent it.
WHAT IS RAPE?
Rape is an act of sexual intercourse, perpetrated against a man or woman without their consent.
Although not as common, the incidence of males sexually assaulting other males do happen. Thus, whenever discussing the crime of rape, it is important to remember that women are not the only victims.
On the Street
• Travel in well-lit, populated areas.
• If possible, walk in pairs.
• Walk facing traffic.
• Plan your route ahead of time.
• Know your neighbourhood - be aware of nearby businesses, their hours of operation and their locations.
• Avoid shortcuts, bushy areas and alleyways.
• Dress for ease of movement.
• If possible, don’t carry a purse.
• Don’t burden yourself with bulky packages or belongings.
• Walk assertively and maintain a sharp awareness of your surroundings.
• If you sense you are being followed, immediately cross to the opposite side of the street and head for the nearest open business or occupied dwelling.
• When seeking help from the occupant of a residence, yell and use any means necessary to draw attention to the situation.
In the Home
• Install quality locks on doors and windows and use them.
• Install an eye-viewer in your door.
• Never automatically open your door without knowing who is on the other side. Talk through the door.
• Don’t rely on chain latches and screen doors for security as they are limited barrier to intruders.
• Instruct your children in door and telephone safety techniques.
• Do not answer questions asked over the telephone.
• Ask for identification from service people. If still not satisfied, call the business and verify the visit is a legitimate one.
• Have someone present whenever someone is going to be performing a service in your home.
• When arriving home ensure that your keys for your property are in your hand before exiting the vehicle.
In Your Vehicle
• Lock the doors and roll up the windows whenever you leave your vehicle.
• Keep the doors and windows locked whenever you are in your vehicle.
• Prior to entering your vehicle, always check both under the car and behind the front seat.
• Park in well-lit, well-populated areas.
• Be aware of your surroundings as you walk through parking lots, suspects often hide between parked cars.
• If your car breaks down, raise the hood and turn on the emergency flashers. Remain in your locked car until help arrives. If someone stops to offer assistance, ask them to send a tow truck or to contact local law enforcement. Talk through the window.
• If you are being followed, do not turn into your own driveway. Head for the nearest populated area or open business.
In a Social Situation
• When first meeting a new friend, exchange phone numbers, not addresses.
• Keep someone apprised of your whereabouts when dating a man for the first time.
• It is a good idea to refrain from going to bars and clubs alone. However, should you choose to do so, have your own transportation available - and use it.
• Don’t allow alcohol or drugs to cloud your commonsense.
• If a man persists in asking for your phone number - and you feel it would cause a problem should you refuse - give him a false number.
• Know what your personal social standards are and stick to them. Don’t allow your judgment to be overruled by an aggressive pursuer.
SELF-DEFENCE – PASSIVE OR ACTIVE?
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to self-defence. Ultimately, the decision rests with the individual and should be based on considerations such as the location (isolated vs. populated), whether or not a weapon is involved, the victim’s physical capabilities, and the perceived chance of success.
• Talking your way out of a situation.
• Telling the rapist you are pregnant, menstruating, or afflicted with a communicable disease can be an effective ploy.
• Faking submission and waiting for an appropriate opportunity to make an escape.
• Urinating, defecating, or vomiting.
• NOTE: Initiating a passive defence may not work in all situations. If it fails, you can then escalate to an active defence.
• If you choose to fight, fight effectively. A half-hearted attempt at resistance could be worse than no resistance at all.
• Before initiating a physical defence, you should be aware of your capabilities both physical and mental. If you cannot imagine yourself exerting whatever force necessary to ward off an attacker, then perhaps a more passive approach is more viable for you.
• Have some idea of what you intend to do should you be attacked. If you have given prior thought to the matter, you will be better prepared to avoid debilitating panic.
• Self-defence classes aimed at teaching everyday defensive manoeuvers that can help build confidence.
• Do not underestimate the power of your voice as an effective defensive tool. If you feel your voice may fail you when you need it most, practice screaming.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of rape or attempted rape call 919 0r 911 and report it immediately or call the Crisis Centre at 328-0922 or 322-4999.
Let us create safer communities
Please visit the Royal Bahamas Police Force Website at www.royalbahamaspolice.org or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rbpforce for Latest News, Daily Crime Reports and additional Crime Prevention Tips