Sexual assault can happen to Anyone,
Anywhere, at Any time!
The typical stereotype of a sexual
assault suspect is a sex-crazed maniac or psychopath. In reality, people who sexually assault
are not always strangers to their victims. In more that one-third of reported cases, the rapist is an
acquaintance, neighbor, friend, or relative.
Although sexual conduct is a
component of this crime, suspects mainly want to hurt, humiliate and degrade another human being. Regardless of the sexual nature or the crime, it is a crime of violence!
How can it happen?
"When a salesman knocked on the door, I let him in. He was
at first, then all of a sudden he grabbed me..."
"I was downstairs in the laundry room
of our apartment building. I had been there alone many times before, but this time..."
"I was walking to work in broad
daylight. A car stopped next to me. The driver leaned over and asked for directions. When I got close
to the car, he pulled a gun and told me to get in..."
These simple examples show that the
tragedy of sexual assault can strike anyone, anywhere, at anytime.
Reduce Your Risk
What Should You Do To Prevent
Always be aware of your surroundings.
Stay in well lit areas as much as possible.
Walk confidently, directly, at a steady
pace. A rapist looks
for someone who appears vulnerable.
Walk on the side of the street facing
Walk close to the curb. Avoid doorways,
alleys where rapists can hide.
If you think you are being followed, walk
quickly to areas
where there are people and lights.
If a car appears to be following you, turn
and walk in the
opposite direction or walk on the other side of the street.
Be careful when people stop you for
directions or money.
Always reply from a distance and never get too close to
If you are in trouble or feel you are in
danger, don't be
afraid to attract help any way you can. Scream, yell or run
away to safety.
Always lock your car. Keep your car locked
when you are
away from it to keep someone from hiding and waiting inside.
When you are
inside the car, lock the doors for safety.
Look inside and around your car before you
Be aware of other people in parking areas,
close to your vehicle.
If you think you are being followed, drive
to a public place
or a police station to get help.
If your car breaks down, open the hood or
attach a white
cloth to the antenna. If someone stops to help, stay inside
vehicle and ask them to call the police.
If you choose to carry any type of weapon
for self protection, give careful consideration to your ability and willingness to use it.
Remember there is always the chance that it could be taken away and used against you.
What Should You Do If You're a
Seek help immediately!!! If you are
injured, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance or go to a hospital emergency room. An important thing to
remember is that you should not touch anything, change your clothes, wash, bathe, or shower
until you have been to the hospital and contacted the police and the
prosecutor to identify,
arrest and convict your attacker.
The emotional impact of a sexual
assault is great and both medical professionals and law enforcement officers know this. It
will be difficult for you to confide in strangers about what has happened to you. Every effort is made
to have family members, friends, clergy or anyone you want present to provide support
during this difficult time.
The Child Victim
Each year thousands of children
suffer some type of sexual abuse. Who is the typical offender? In more than one-third of the sexual
abuse cases involving children, the offender is known to the child and its family. In other words,
the abuser is often a parent, relative or close family friend.
Because children are so trusting and
defenseless, they especially are vulnerable to sexual assault.
Children often make up stories, but
they rarely lie about being a victim of sexual assault. If a child tells you about being touched
or assaulted, take it seriously. Your response helps determine how the child will react to the
abuse. Stay calm. Explain that you are concerned about what happened, and are not angry with the
Many children feel guilty as if they
provoked the assault. Children need to be reassured that they are not to blame, and that they are
right to tell you about what happened.
Sometimes a child may be too
frightened or confused to talk directly about the abuse. Be alert for any changes in behavior that
might hint that the child has suffered a disturbing experience.
Lynn Police Department
Domestic Violence Unit
300 Washington Street
Lynn, MA 01902