To force another person to submit to sexual intercourse

Almost 400,000 women are raped every year in America. Of those cases, only 2% of rapists go to jail for their crime. It is easy to get into situations in which you are vulnerable to rape. It's also easy to avoid these situations with common sense, awareness and by taking the following precautions:

Choose your dates wisely.

Ask yourself why you're attracted to the individual. Is it because you know the person well, they've earned your trust, and you are attracted to their personality, or is it more of a crush or infatuation. Physical attraction can often cloud a person's judgment of character. Sometimes people allow themselves to be put in troublesome situations, because of their infatuation or their desire to be liked by their date. Always use common sense. If you don't know the person well, don't allow yourself to be taken to an isolated place.

Don't be fooled by appearance. Looks can be deceiving, and anyone can be dangerous.

Don't mix drinking and drugs with dating, so you can remain in control of your mental and physical body.

Make it very clear how far you're willing to go and if it seems like your partner is attempting to test your boundaries, stand up for yourself. Tell him to stop.

Don't tease your partner into thinking he will get more than you're willing to give. Send your partner clear and truthful verbal and non-verbal messages. Do not tease him until he thinks "no" means "yes." When you play games with him, you're playing dangerous games with your own safety.

Don't tolerate a partner that doesn't listen to you when you say "no." They are controlling and dangerous. Remove yourself from the situation before it escalates to tragedy.

Take a self-defense class to boost your confidence, knowledge and practice. (see self-defense)

Not only does rape violate your body. It violates your mind. Most rape victims have extreme difficulty developing relationships throughout their life. They lose their ability to trust. Their future sex life can be severely effected. Don't get caught in this trap. Use your intelligence. It's there to protect you.

If you're in danger of being raped...

Immediately draw lots of attention to yourself

  • Yell and scream phrases that people will understand.
  • "Call 911!"
  • "I don't know this man!"
  • "Fire!" (Some people are more likely to respond when you say this)

Put up a fight!

Don't think for one minute that if you're nice to your attacker, then they will be nice to you. The more time that goes by the worse off you are. So raise hell! Make the situation empowering instead of devastating.

Do not allow yourself to be taken to a second location. Your best chance of survival is from the beginning. As soon as you are aware of the situation you must free yourself using any means necessary. You must gain control by consciously making an effort to face the situation, come up with solutions and act.

Hit your attackers nose hard with the heal of your hand. (using your closed fist could injure your hand)

Hit the groin hard with your elbows and knees.

grab a finger or two and bend them the wrong way.

If the attacker is behind you stomp on his foot using your heal and all your weight.

For more self defense techniques, read Bodyteen self defense.

If you've been raped and want help, call the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network at 1(800) 656-HOPE or visit http://www.rainn.org/

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If you've been raped and want help, call the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network at 1(800) 656-HOPE or visit http://www.rainn.org/