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Sexual Assault

Reducing the risks at home

  •  Make sure all windows and doors in your home can be locked securely, particularly sliding glass doors.
  • Keep entrances well lit.
  • Install a peephole and use it.
  • Never give the impression to strangers that you are home alone. Offer to make an emergency call for them while they wait outside.
  • Get to know your neighbors -- look after each other.

While walking

  • Go with someone. There's safety in numbers.
  • Stay away from isolated areas.
  • Try to stay near streetlights. Avoid shortcuts. Alleys, parks and parking lots may be dark and isolated. If you notice unlit street lights, report them to Facilities Management at (989)774-6548.
  • Protect your valuables. Hold your purse or briefcase tightly, close to your body. Do not carry a purse or backpack hanging from your shoulder.
  • Don't flaunt expensive jewelry.

If you're being followed

  • Cross the street.
  • Change direction.
  • Keep looking back so the person will know you can't be surprised.
  • Go to a well-lit area, enter a store, house, residence hall, classroom or library -- anywhere where there are people.
  • Notice and remember as much as possible about the person so you can give a good description.
  • Locate a Blue Light Emergency Phone or telephone and contact the CMU Police at 911.
Remember, every emergency situation is different. Only you can decide which course of action is appropriate.

While driving

  • Keep your car in good working order.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Drive with your doors locked and always lock them when you leave your car.
If you are being followed, do not go home. Go to the nearest police or fire station. Honk your horn and get other drivers to notice you.

If you are attacked

  • Keep your head. Stay as calm as you can and evaluate your resources.
  • It may be more advisable to submit than to resist and risk injury or death. You will have to make this decision based on the circumstances.
  • Keep assessing the situation. If one strategy is not working, try another. Possible options in addition to nonresistance are negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant and fleeing to a safe place, verbal assertiveness, screaming to attract attention, and physical resistance.
  • You may be able to turn the attacker off with bizarre behavior such as throwing up or acting crazy.

After an assault or rape

Go to a safe place and call the police. Do not take a shower, bathe, douche or destroy any clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. It is important to preserve all physical evidence for court use. Write down a description of the attacker and what happened. Go to the hospital emergency room for medical care. Make sure you are evaluated for the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Call someone to go with you. You should have someone to talk with. Contact a rape treatment or rape crisis center to help you deal with your options. CMU has counselors available or on call to assist you. Call the Counseling Center at 774-3381 during normal business hours or the CMU Police at 774-3081 to have a counselor paged. You may also call Listening Ear at 989 772-2918 or the Women's Aid Crisis Line at 989 772-9168 assistance.

If you are the survivor of an assault or rape, Central Michigan University offers a service called Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA). SAPA is a student-to-student organization that provides counseling and support for victims of sexual crimes. SAPA is available 24 hours a day by calling (989) 774-2255 and provides the following services:

  • On-call service 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Free advocacy to CMU students
  • Crisis intervention
  • Medical and law enforcement assistance
  • Legal advocacy
  • Support for friends of survivors
  • Counseling referral
  • Confidentiality
  • Someone to share your experience with

Take action today

Practice being alert and observant. Report all suspicious situations to the police. Even if it looks a little strange, you may help prevent a crime. Volunteer your time to others that are going through this difficult time in their lives.

-- Crime prevention tips from The National Crime Prevention Council.