Many attacks start with casual conversation—the assailant is “sizing the person up.” If he or she is polite and friendly (as most people have been taught to be), the assailant will probably attempt intimidation. Although most people feel uncomfortable about such an encounter before it escalates, they don’t want to appear to be unfriendly or suspicious. If your gutlevel response to a person, whether a stranger or a friend, is uneasiness, try to get out of the situation as quickly as possible, even if it means being rude or making a scene.
Acquaintance rape occurs more frequently than reports seem to indicate. The key to prevention lies in:
- TRUSTING YOUR INTUITION
- ASSERTIVE BEHAVIOR
Potential victims have deterred assailants in a variety of ways. Talking and thinking about what to do if attacked increases your chances of successfully defending yourself.
It cannot be emphasized enough that sexual assault is a crime of violence. Sexual assaulters are unstable persons who view their victims as objects upon which to vent their rage, aggression, frustration, or insecurity. They do not view their victims as fellow human beings at that moment, and sexual gratification is not a motive for their crime. They wish to humiliate and degrade their victims, to make them lesser beings than they are. Too often, the fantasy they are acting out carries with it the danger of physical harm in addition to the crime of rape itself.
Where Can The Sexual Assault Occur?
Sexual assault can happen virtually anywhere, but the largest single grouping of reported incidents is either in the home of the victim or the home of the offender. It is important to be aware of all potentially hazardous areas:
- Remote parking lots
- On the street
- Shopping centers
- Public parks
- Beaches at night
- Jogging courses
- Deserted buildings
- School playgrounds
Sexual assaults often occur in conjunction with other crimes such as burglary, so the more effective preventative measures and common-sense precautions you take, the less your chances of becoming a victim. But regardless of how many or how few precautions you take, you are not provoking the attack. A locked door gives you time to call the police (911).
Survival Is The Goal
Prevention measures can reduce the risk of attack, but they are not 100 percent effective. What can you do if you are attacked? There is no ready answer because each situation is different. Recent studies show that an immediate aggressive response will be twice as likely to increase the possibility of escape but can aggravate the situation. Submitting does not guarantee that violence will not occur, however. Evaluate the situation for possible ways of escape. If one method doesn’t work, try another. Often victims have tried several different escape ideas before one worked.
Sex Offender Registry
In accordance to the “Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act” of 2000, which amends the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, the Jeanne Clery Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, Lake Michigan College is providing a link to the Michigan State Police Sex Offender Registry. This act requires institutions of higher education to issue a statement advising the campus community where law enforcement information provided by a State concerning registered sex offenders may be obtained. It also requires sex offenders already required to register in a State to provide notice of each institution of higher education in that State at which the person is employed, carries a vocation, or is a student. In the State of Michigan, convicted sex offenders must register with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry maintained by the State Police.
The Sex Offenders Registration Act, MCL 28.721et seq., directs the Michigan State Police to develop and maintain a public registry and provides guidelines on the type of offender information available to the public. The registration requirements of the Sex Offenders Registration Act are intended to provide the people of this state with an appropriate, comprehensive, and effective means to monitor those persons who pose such a potential danger.
In accordance with the Wetterling Act, Megan’s Law and the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act of 2000, it is now mandatory that all registered sex offenders report to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction in which the institution of higher learning is located. The Michigan Public Sex Offenders Registry can be accessed at http://www.mipsor.state.mi.us/.