Reducing Risks Of Sexual Assault

The law may punish a criminal after a crime has taken place and this may discourage a potential perpetrator from committing sexual assault. But the law cannot provide full protection.

It is advisable for women to take the safety precautions to minimise their risks.

Note that failure to limit one’s risk IS NOT an invitation to rape. Limiting risk is just that: an attempt to avoid an unwanted situation.

If a woman finds herself exposed to risk, it does not mean that she is asking to be raped or to have sex.

 

Minimising Risk on a Date

Most rapists are known to their victims and many rapes occur during dates.

  • Insist on saying “NO” to whatever makes you uncomfortable . You have the right to set limits over your own body.
  • If saying “NO” does not help, walk away from the situation immediately.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid being alone with strangers and/or those you cannot trust.
  • Let a trusted friend or parent know where you are going and have them call you at a certain time to check if you are okay.
  • Attend parties in groups.
  • Be sensible and responsible about alcohol consumption.
  • Don’t fall prey to a spiked drink: never leave your drink unattended and do not accept a stranger’s drink.
  • Call the police if in need.

 

Alcohol as a Major Risk Factor

Alcohol is often a factor in coerced or unwanted sex. A person, especially one who is fairly new to drinking and not aware of how much he or she can safely drink, can willingly consume alcohol to the point that they have no ability to defend themselves.

Alcohol can make a person relax and lose one’s inhibitions. But in excess, it may make you lose your ability to judge and react to a risky situation. Alcohol dulls one’s awareness and instincts.

It affects people differently based on age, sex, body mass, how much you drink, how fast you drink and what you drink. Be aware of your own safe drinking limits.

  • Know your limit when it comes to drinking and plan how much you want to drink beforehand.
  • Do not drink on an empty stomach. Instead, eat something before you drink as this will help slow down the absorption of alcohol in your system.
  • Drink water and stay hydrated as alcohol dehydrates the body and your body will absorb alcohol faster when dehydrated.
  • Space out your drinks. Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. This will help keep your blood alcohol concentration down.
  • Be cautious when drinking if you are taking any over-the-counter or prescription medication.
  • Drink slowly to prevent yourself from getting drunk.
  • Stop drinking if you start to feel drunk.
  • Drink with friends and people you can trust.
  • Avoid drinking games, as it is easy to lose track of how much alcohol you have consumed and others may pressure you into drinking more than you are comfortable with.
  • Avoid topping up your drink/letting others top up your drink (ie putting more alcohol in your glass before it is finished) as this also makes it easy to lose track of how much alcohol you have consumed .
  • Never leave your drinks unattended.
  • If someone offers to buy you a drink, accept it only if you really want one. Don’t have a drink just because it is free! Alternatively, ask for water or a non-alcoholic beverage. It is best if you witness the drinks being poured to ensure that it has not been spiked.
  • Never accept a drink from a stranger.
  • Have a designated driver or arrange transport plans beforehand.
  • Arrange a “buddy system” with a trustable friend, who you can contact if you are in trouble, to let them know your whereabouts, that you have gotten home safely and other such instances.

 

Crossed Signals: When she doesn’t want to but he thinks she does

It is recommended that women who want to avoid unwanted sex should be mindful of the risks involved in engaging in sexual intimacy (kissing or petting) with their partners. The man may misinterpret the woman’s intentions and think that she wants to “go all the way” when in fact she is only comfortable with kissing or heavy petting.

Likewise men should be crystal clear that a woman who is reticent about having sex isn’t simply “waiting for him to make a move” or “playing hard to get.” If there is any doubt at all about mutual consent, stop and ask.

Likewise, if she is too drunk to say no, then she is also too drunk to say yes. Having sex with someone who cannot give consent is considered rape under Singapore Law.