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What To Do When You Have A Rape Threat

Be proactive about protecting yourself from a potential sexual assault.

Hopefully, you'd never have to deal with these pointers, but it's always better to be prepared and empowered if you find yourself in the following situations:


Be assertive. If you feel threatened, tell them to back off. Do NOT be nice. Yell if you have to. Better be considered crazy than put yourself in danger for fear of making of a mistake.

Be aware if you are especially vulnerable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you are more vulnerable if you had prior sexual abuse as a minor, you are female (gender), under the age of 18, use alcohol or drugs, and you've been groomed by your predator into believing them.

Be confident. Stand up straight. Don’t look scared. Attackers go for women who they think cannot defend themselves.

Trust your instincts. If you feel like you’re not safe, you probably aren’t. Get away and get help. It’s very important to listen to your inner voice.

Draw attention to yourself. Attackers map out a plan: how they’ll approach you, dominate you, and rape you. Upset their plans by fighting, yelling, and drawing attention to yourself. If they feel things are going out of control, they will stop.

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Leave identifying marks. Bite the face, poke the eyeball, scratch the arms—leave something that will help you point out your attacker afterwards.

Go for your assailant’s weak points. Pull his hair, knee his groin, poke his eyes—you need to attack him to get a chance to escape.

Be aware. Does your assailant have an identifiable tattoo? A piercing in a memorable place? A scar on his face or body? Remember all these so you can easily identify him.

Remember where you are. If you are in a place where it may be hard to escape, leave a mark: hair strands, teeth marks, nail marks or any DNA. Rapists have been caught because the victims left something identifiable in the place where they were assaulted.

Fight as hard as you can. Take your fear and make it into anger. Do not be passive. Don’t give up, especially when your rapist is unarmed. If you are in an enclosed space, throw heavy items towards breakable items, or at your rapist. Make noise. If you are in a car and you are the driver, crash the car. If you are a passenger, try to open the car door. Escape. Rapists who do these extreme attacks usually have an intent to kill to prevent them from being caught.

Improvise. Your body can be a weapon. Your heels can be a weapon. Your keys can be used to slit something or poke their eyes. Use anything within grabbing distance. Once your attacker is down, run away. Even if he tries to catch up, you have a headstart.

Learn self defense. When an attacker sneaks from behind, elbow them in the solar plexus, stomp on their foot, push the palm of your hand up their nose in an upward motion, then knee him in the groin. This may disable your assailant so you can get away. If you're inside a moving vehicle, study the moves below to fight off your attacker:

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This article originally appeared in Cosmo's May 2013 issue. Minor edits have been made by the editors.