Sexual Assault

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Facts About Rape

  • Rape is a violent crime. It is an action to hurt and humiliate, not to satisfy uncontrolled passions.
  • It can happen to anyone. Mothers, grandmothers, children, wives, students, working women, and even males can be rape victims.
  • Rape can happen anywhere; at home, or in public, day or night.
  • Rapists are not always strangers. In over one-third of reported cases, the suspect is known to the victim.
  • Rape is one of the most under reported crimes. Most suspects are repeat offenders, so it is VERY important to report this crime to law enforcement.

Prevention Tips

  • Know and learn the facts about rape. Become aware of locations and situations where rape might occur, and avoid them.
  • Consider alternatives if confronted by a rapist. Practice your responses to such an encounter, and know them well enough to respond under stress.

Safety At Home

  • Install good locks on your doors and windows, and USE them.
  • Install a high quality peephole in your front door, and DO NOT open the door to someone you do not know, or cannot properly identify.
  • Use only your last name and initials on your mailbox and for your telephone, if listed.
  • Never let a stranger know you are alone at home, on the phone or at your door.
  • NEVER let a stranger into your home, no matter what they claim as an emergency. Report such a visit to law enforcement immediately.
  • If you live in an apartment building, avoid going to the laundry room or the garage by yourself, especially after dark.
  • If you return home and find your door or window open, or any sign of forced entry, DO NOT ENTER, leave and call 911 immediately.

Walking Into Danger

  • Whenever possible, walk with a friend, and carry your cell phone if you have one.
  • Stay in well lighted areas, and walk in familiar locations.
  • Walk at a steady pace, facing traffic. Rapists often look for someone who appears vulnerable.
  • Walk close to the curb, avoiding dark areas, alleyways, doorways, and other areas where a rapist could hide.
  • If you are being followed, walk quickly to a populated and well lit area. If a car is following you, cross the street and walk on the other side.
  • If you are in danger, scream and run, or yell "fire."

Car Safety

  • Keep your car in good working order, and always keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Always lock your car doors, and have your keys in hand when you approach your car. Look inside and around your car before entering.
  • If you are being followed, call law enforcement from your cell phone, or drive to a well lit and populated public area to call.
  • If your car breaks down, raise the hood and turn on the emergency flashers. Call for help on your cell phone, and wait inside with the doors locked. If you do not have a cell phone, do not open your car door to any stranger that may stop to assist you. Ask them to notify the police to assist you.

Weapons

Carrying a weapon for self defense is a decision you should make after careful research. There are many laws that regulate such actions, and you should be aware of the criminal and civil liabilities of such a choice. Contact your local law enforcement agency for further information.

If You Are Attacked And Become A Victim

  • Your safety is the most important issue. It is your decision to resist and fight back or submit to the attack. Use your best judgment and evaluate the total situation.
  • Plan your options ahead of time…screaming, stalling for time, distraction, fleeing to a safer place, and physical resistance are some choices.
  • If you are raped, go immediately to a safe place and call 911. The sooner you make a report, the greater the chances are the rapist will be caught.
  • Do not wash yourself, douche, change clothing, or clean yourself in any way, until instructed to do so by law enforcement. This will preserve critical physical evidence that can be used to prosecute the offender.
  • REMEMBER, YOU ARE THE VICTIM. Do not feel guilty or ashamed. Law enforcement officials will refer you to available counseling and treatment centers.

Help is available locally from the following locations:

  • Palm Desert Police Department, (760) 836-1600
  • Riverside County District Attorney, Victim/Witness Assistance (760) 863-8408
  • Shelter From the Storm (760) 318-0140 or (760) 398-7811