Rape Awareness Can Make a Difference

March 1, 2004 -- Posted at 4:24 p.m. CST

JONESBORO -- The United States has one of the highest rape rates world wide, with one out of three women being sexually assaulted in her lifetime.

"Fortunately in Jonesboro, we don't have a real high incidence of rape, a lot of the ones that we deal with are not the kinds that they portray on television a lot, where it's a stranger thing. Most are aquatint rapes, or date rape," said Detective Lynn Waterworth of the Jonesboro Police Department.
Statistically, stranger rape is uncommon. Most victims know their attacker, but staying aware can keep you safe.

"Don't be there to begin with. Don't be in places that are dark. Don't be in places where there are not a lot of people around, just don't put yourself in a situation where you might be in danger," advised Detective. Waterworth.

If a robber or a rapist enters your home they are often headed to the bedroom looking for valuables or even you. By having a plan you can keep yourself safe...the first thing to do, get out of your bed and find a hiding spot.

One of the least likely places a robber or a would be rapists would look for you is in the bathroom.

Also, avoid using drugs or alcohol that could lower your inhibitions, and be sure to keep a cordless phone by your bed...it may come in handy. Cell phones are good for mobility, but dialing 911 from a wireless phone may not connect you with local help. Also, dispatchers are not able to locate you from a cell phone.

Ashley Boles works for Team Arkansas, an organization that teaches self defense.
"You know if you have that cordless phone in hand you can go from room to room and avoid this person," said Boles, "also, you can use the phone as a weapon with it's antenna or base."
Robin Steele says she tries to be aware of her surroundings when she's out after dark.

"I have the 911 number programmed onto my cell phone where I can just simply press a button, and alert 911. And, I've met a lot of people who live around me, so I feel like if anything were to happen and I was to scream, or if something was to go wrong that I could alert someone around me," said Steele.

But if you do have to save yourself, don't count on just yelling for help.

"Rather than yell for help, or just yell rape, yell fire. People are more likely to respond and look and see what's going on," said Detective Waterworth, "Also, if you have to run up to someone door, rather than just simply knocking on the door, you know, pick up a rock and throw it through the window...that's more likely to make someone call the police."
"You can't prevent everything, you know, I guess, but if you prepare yourself, you can protect against these things that could easily be prevented," said Boles.