Date Rape, Rape, Sexual Assault is all too common. Resources: how to stay Safe.

Via on Nov 10, 2008

Update: The other night I was on a date. We went to a big dinner party, had a nice time, then went on to another friend’s party.

At a dinner party, a good friend of mine, slightly intoxicated, invited my date on a tour of the house, took her into a room, closed the door…and tried to make out with her.

I didn’t know about it until, close to an hour later, she blurted out what had happened, obviously and understandably upset, in the middle of a conversation with another friend about music.

The gent who tried to make his moves was a good friend of mine.

When my date and I walked home, at one point I turned to her and said, “It must be such a pain being a woman. Every night you go out, guys try and kiss you.” There’s a flattering aspect to the attention—as long as that attention is respectful. There’s a sleazy aspect to that attention when it’s not asked for.

The situation reminded me that even good people, my good friend, especially when slightly intoxicated and such, can become jerks. And we were lucky—my date was an empowered young woman who took control and got out of that room and back to the party.

Leaving the party, my friend came up to us and, unashamedly, admitted his attempt to my face.

While this instance was among friends, and nothing bad happened, it brought home the importance of the original post below. We need to be public about this stuff. We need to share these resources on our Facebook Walls, twitter, however we can. Not just when something bad happens. Before. Then, something bad may happen less.

Because date rape, sexual assault, rape—it’s the worst thing in the world.

~ W.

Previous update:

This is now an old post, but has some good resources on how to stay safe, particularly for those in college, so we’ll leave it up. Please note however that any references to incidents below are now dated. ~ed.

Update: I was working with my ad assistant, Lindsey, yesterday—when she mentioned that, as a CU student (she’s a senior) they get constant updates on rapes occurring in the Boulder area. She said something like one a week’s been happening. I was shocked. I thought that, following the below two rapes a month back, things had again returned to ‘safe’ and ‘normal.’ So I went to the Colorado Daily web site, searched ‘rape,’ and only found mention of one date rape incident—but it was horrific.

So please, please: read the below, pass it on: let’s take every precaution, walk your friends home at night, don’t take drinks from strangers, if you are walking home at night in the dark (which starts at 5pm right now, for chrissake) keep your head up and body language strong. Don’t listen to an iPod. Be alert, and remember to never go to a ‘second location’ with a creepy stranger, always stay in public, scream and kick and bite if you have to. It’s scary stuff, but the fact is if we can stay strong and not freeze in fear or ignore the horrible things going on, we can hopefully prevent more tragedy.

Boulder’s a lovely, safe town with a low crime rate and nice people. By day. By night, it’s a college town full of lovely people who don’t take precautions against sexual predators. There’s been two sexual assualts in the last week, one a gang rape in an alley on Halloween night around 2am, half a block from an ex-girlfriend of mine’s home. And one yesterday a block east of the Wild Oats where I shop every other day.

Anyone with information on any of the crimes is urged to contact Boulder Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or 1-800-444-3776, or at the Crime Stoppers Web site at http://www.crimeshurt.com.

One in six women are raped, on average. One of the loves of my life was raped—once at knifepoint when she was young, once by an ex-boyfriend. It’s a subject that inspires fear and anger, and rightly so—it’s something I hope everyone will talk about, email this blog to your friends, get smart about and work to prevent on governmental and on a personal level—meaning make sure your friends, and yourself, get home safe whenever you go out on the town (below there’s also info about date rape, which is frequent and underreported).

General Advice:

Stage One: don’t drink anything offered to you, and keep control of what you are drinking—you don’t want any date rape drugs.

Don’t walk home alone, even a block from a parked car. Have a buddy see you home safe. Stay sober. Pack some mace in your purse. Avoid bike path at night, since we here in Boulder can’t seem to keep policemen or policewomen patrolling the ill-lit bike path (I bike it every day, and never see police except in two spots where they check in with homeless folks who gather; and I don’t think I’ve ever seen police on bikes patrolling at night, and there’s huge three-block stretches without lights).

Stage Two: take a self-defense class. Fact is any man who’s gonna assault you has to make himself pretty vulnerable at moments—if you can keep your head, or avoid getting knocked out as did a woman last night(one block from the Wild Oats now Whole Foods where I just bought ice cream and dog food 20 minutes ago).

Stage Three: talk about it. Tell your friends about incidents and help them to be on guard—this is one thing worth freaking out about, and acting on (I plan on going to next City Council meeting and seeing if we can afford more patrols on the bike path and more lights).

Any other info, please post below in the COMMENT section, with links or advice.

Below, an excerpt from a site with lots of good info. Click here to go to site.

Although it’s often not discussed, sexual assault is pervasive in our community. In Colorado, approximately one in four females and one in 17 males are survivors of sexual assault. The frightening statistics extend far beyond Colorado. According to the World Health Organization, 20 percent of women and 5 to 10 percent of men were sexually abused in childhood. One out of every four or five college women in the United States will be sexually assaulted during her college career. Help must be made available to survivors and action must be taken in order to prevent sexual assault. This is why MESA (Moving to End Sexual Assault) has been serving Boulder County since 1972.

Here’s another aimed at college students.


Info from another site:
Female college freshmen are at the highest risk for sexual assault between the first day of school and Thanksgiving break.
In a 1-year time period, 3% of college women are victims of completed or attempted rape.
1 out of 10 college women have been raped in their lifetime.
For women who have been raped in college, 9 out of 10 offenders were known to the victim.
Sexual assaults in college are more likely to occur at night and in someone’s residence (either the victim’s or the offender’s).
90% of campus rapes involve alcohol use by the assailant or the victim.
Although women are more likely to be sexually assaulted, 10% of all sexual assaults and rapes happen to men. Click here for more information on male victims of sexual assault.

Respect the rights of others.

Listen to the messages your partner is giving. Be sensitive to both verbal and nonverbal communication. Ask. Double check that you both are doing what you want.

The absence of the word “no” does not constitute consent. Make sure you have consent by asking your partner what they want to do. If your partner seems confused or unsure, it’s time to stop.

Remember that having done something sexual previously is not a blanket “yes” for the future.

Remember that your partner can change “yes” to “no” at any time. Respect their choice.

Know which behaviors constitute rape and sexual assault, and understand that most incidents happen between people who know each other.

If you choose to drink, be responsible. Alcohol consumption greatly increases the risk of sexual assault.

Never slip anyone any type of drug. Not only is this illegal, but you don’t know what effect a drug can have on someone.
Keep yourself safer.
Think about what you really want from a partner before a possibly uncomfortable or dangerous situation occurs.

Communicate clearly. You have the right to say “no” or “I’m not sure.”

Go to a party with friends, not alone. Keep track of your friends and leave with them. Don’t leave alone or with someone you don’t know well.

If you choose to drink, be responsible. Alcohol consumption greatly increases the risk of sexual assault.

Know what’s in your drink, whether it’s non-alcoholic or contains alcohol. Open the can yourself, make your drink yourself or watch it being made, and don’t leave your drink unattended. Avoid punch bowls–you have no idea how much alcohol is in them, and since date rape drugs are odorless, colorless and tasteless they can be added to punch without anyone knowing. Follow this link for more information on date rape drugs
Know which behaviors constitute sexual assault and rape. Understand that most incidents occur between people who know each other.
If something happens, get help. When going to a party with friends, keep track of each other while you’re there. Plan to leave together and don’t let anyone leave alone.

If a friend decides to leave a party with someone else, talk to them about their safety. If you are worried about someone, it’s ok to try to protect them from harm.
Learn more about sexual assault and rape and how to help a friend who may have been assaulted.

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

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31 Responses to “Date Rape, Rape, Sexual Assault is all too common. Resources: how to stay Safe.”

  1. lindsey says:

    Thanks for sharing all of this information, Waylon. New to this sleepy town of Boulder after living in the big city, it’s easy to think that this sort of thing doesn’t happen here, or it wouldn’t happen to you. But your description of how a college town may change at night is spot on. I was walking through the Hill amidst lots of craziness on Halloween night myself, iPod in my ears. I used to scold my NYC girlfriends about doing that, and here I found myself doing it. So that’s something I’d add to the list of precautions, no iPods while walking at night! Be aware of your surroundings…I am going to be from now on.

  2. Thanks – It’s so important to talk about this, especially in this college town. – H

  3. Debra says:

    Way
    Thanks for the information. I literally heard about these attacks one hour before reading your post. People do need to be more aware and coming from a place with much more crime, it saddens me to see this happening here. I would say, in my opinion, that the lack of Police presence is unfortunately probably tied to revenue. There is no shortage of patrol cars at 2am issuing DUI’s all over town (which I am not saying is unimportant), but that is also very big business and huge revenue for the city. I fear that other issues get overlooked as a result of their not producing such revenue.
    I am curious what they will say when you attend that City Council meeting.

  4. Jayson Gaddis says:

    Thanks for the post bro. Great to see men involved in this issue. One aspect not mentioned is the role we men play in preventing rape. Most rape education is all about helping women protect, be safe, smart, etc, so that women bare the responsibility. This is great. However, not only could that approach alone lead to women that do get attacked feel as though it may be their fault, because they didn’t follow rape prevention protocol, but it also ignores the perpetrator’s role and what we could be doing to educate teenage boys and young men. Better police support is a great step but rape will not stop until men stop assaulting. How we address this is a monster challenge. It starts with me not looking the other way and stepping up to educate the men i come in contact with.

  5. admin says:

    Valerie Evelyn Eric wrote at 11:31am
    Hey Way, thanks for posting that link on sexual assault in boulder. It’s something that has been concerning me, as I am a young woman in college. I tend to leave school fairly late at night, after the busses stop running, so I have to walk to my house from campus. I wish there was some way to petition RTD to keep the busses running later than 10pm on weekdays, especially the hop. Any suggestions? How are you doing? Thanks again.
    Wall-to-Wall – Write on Valerie’s Wall

    John Cargile wrote at 8:03am
    Way, just read more of the recent issue; fantastic content. Let’s catch up and talk about the next level. Have a great day.

  6. Sage says:

    Thank you Way for bringing attention to this issue. Before I left our lovely town of Boulder, I was living a half of a block away from the Wild Oats you mentioned. There were many nights that I had to park over two blocks away from my place- thanks to the parking issues that plague neighborhood. As ridiculous as this may sound to some people- I would ALWAYS walk, (and walk briskly) head held high, with one finger on the nozzle of my pepper spray that I kept on my keychain. I can’t tell you how many times a VERY drunk male college student stumbled by. I can’t tell you how many times I saw kids banging on nearby cars. I have felt more safe walking the streets of New York alone in the dark.
    I loved my neighborhood in the day time- so close to the library, to the bike path, to Wild Oats- and I loathed it during the night when it seemed to become a raucous free-for- all for stumbling idiots, druken brawls- and yes….
    the unthinkable.
    My heart goes out to these girls. Boulder IS such a great town and we have all allowed this happen for far too long.
    The last time that I saw a scantily clad college female stumbling along Broadway by herself in the dark, I pulled over and offerred her a ride home. She was wasted. Half-naked and walking home alone.On those same streets. Thanks for bringing awareness to this. We need more.

  7. admin says:

    From Abbie Halpern:

    Crucial because of recent abductions in daylight hours, refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation…

    It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

    1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do :The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

    2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans: If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you….chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

    3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

    4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR , LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it . As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

    5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage: Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat. If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars. Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

    6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!

    7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!

    8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP it may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked ‘for help’ into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

    9. Another Safety Point: Someone said her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.’ The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, ‘We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.’ He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby’s cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby’s cries outside their doors when they’re home alone at night. Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby —-This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby theory was mentioned on America ‘s Most W
    anted this past Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana.

  8. admin says:

    It’s very easy and common for all the college students around here to think that rape won’t happen to them. A few years ago, my Freshman/Sophomore years of college, I would walk all over town drunk between the hours of 10pm and 3am alone. I was never too scared, and thought that nothing would happen. I had the thought of rape in the back of my mind and thought that if a scary person were to approach me, I could just run really fast. WRONG. Luckily, nothing bad ever happened to me, but this ignorance mentality that college students have needs to change. CU helps out the students a lot with sources such as CU NIGHT RIDE- a free transportation service < http://www.colorado.edu/ralphie/ralphie.cgi?file=c/cu-nightride.html&num=34&type=alphabetic > or call 303-492-SAFE (7233). They are very responsive, but allow 45 minutes for pickup so call ahead. CU also has other resources that can help out in rape situations, visit the office of Victim assistance or < http://www.colorado.edu/ralphie/ralphie.cgi?file=c/crises.html >. Be safe and smart.

  9. admin says:

    CU NightRide
    303-492-SAFE (7233) (rides/dispatch desk)
    303-492-3230 (info/administrative office)
    Call Sun–Th until 12:15 a.m.; F-S until 1:15 a.m.
    http://www.colorado.edu/umc/cunightride

    Any CU-Boulder student, staff, or faculty member may receive a safe escort by vehicle to or from campus and throughout Boulder city limits. CU NightRide is based out of the UMC near the reception desk area on the second floor. Campus escorts are provided by a micro-minivan and are usually available within five minutes. Rides are available by heading to the CU NightRide dispatch desk in the UMC or from any location by calling the number above.

  10. jen says:

    I am thinking these crimes are gang related. It is well known that raping is an initiation activity in many gangs. There are a huge amount of illegal immigrant latinos in this area and an unreasonable level of blindness in the police force when it comes to people who are breaking the law just by being here. The police are note takers, we have to stop the problem at the source. Women should not have to live in fear! Our Society is more sexist than racist, let’s not forget the importance of fighting both wrongs.

  11. Michael Ornst says:

    right on…see my post also

  12. Michael Ornst says:

    While I think it socially responsible for Elephant to raise awareness in our community about rape I can’t help but see the skirting around the issue that I feel perpetuates rape. That issue being male accountability. The way we talk about something can change the way it occurs. When we say a woman was raped it removes the fact that a man raped her. Instead of the headline reading WOMAN RAPED it should say MAN RAPES, then maybe we will get somewhere. I understand and agree it is necessary to tell women how to be more careful but it avoids the issue. Yes the problem is that women are raped but the heart of the problem is that men rape women. But as a society we seem to want to avoid that perspective, just as using the term sexual predator relieves men from accountability. I am a man, I would not rape someone but I surely am not going to pretend that the guy next to me might, or that my friend might…because once men take accountability and society holds men as a group accountable nothing will change. So sorry to offend the ears of those who want to continue to pretend that men are our protectors and providers and free of responsibility, but get this straight, our fathers and our brothers and our friends are the rapists, not some neutered sexual predator somewhere. And it is not women’s fault or their responsibility. Rapes accountability is man’s alone.

  13. admin says:

    Amen to that, Michael, well put. Some of my best friends are real lady-killers, a questionable colloquialism at that, and while I’m sure slash hope to god they haven’t date raped, or raped, even just the pushy charm thing bugs me to hell, really does.

    Still, advice on ‘defensive driving’ is vital. Women are strong and, head up, knee ready to the groin, iPod not in ears, walking home with friend, can hugely reduce the chances of walking into one of the worst imaginable tragedies.

    Analogy, anyone? I ride a bike everyday, including today—Dec 4, finally the first day we get some snow in Boulder, Colorado—and while I know it’s cars that do the killing of bicycles, and I hope they learn to drive respectfully and carefully, I’m going to focus on what I can control: riding safely, carefully, avoiding riding too near to the cars esp in these snowy conditions.

  14. Heather says:

    Jen, I appreciate your enthusiasm for this issue—one of the rapes that Waylon mentions above happened in the alley directly behind a house that I lived in 2 years ago—so it certainly hit close to home. But I do think that we should be careful about throwing accusations at any one group of people. Most undocumented immigrants are here to work and send money home to their families, and stereotyping groups of people as violent or dangerous or involved in gangs doesn’t help solve the problem at all. That said, I appreciate both the advice for women above and also the comments urging men to take greater responsibility and hold their brothers/uncles/sons/friends, etc to higher standards.

  15. [...] So I’ll end this little post by just saying that when your fanbase is all 16 year old girls, you gotta watch your lyrics. If their irony is easy to miss, you’re not trying hard enough—and you’ll wind up being the soundtrack to someone’s daterape. [...]

  16. [...] (AFP) • Japanese Exoskeletons Give Mobility To The Injured & Disabled (physorg) • Date Rape, Rape, Sexual Assault. Some Resources On How To Stay Safe (Elephant Journal) • eHarmony Says It Is Responsible For 2% Of All U.S. Marriages (WSJ) • The [...]

  17. It's unfortunate, I think, that rape and sexual assault tend to be placed in the category of "women's issues," when, really, more than anything, they're men's issues. Yes, there are things women can do to be aware and to protect themselves, but the people who really need to change their behavior are men. That's not to male-bash or suggest that all men are rapists–I, for one, have never raped anybody and find the very idea repugnant. Nonetheless, I can't say I've done all I could at times to counter the violently macho sexist ideology of men around me.

  18. Katy says:

    I'm sorry, but posts like these upset me. Precautions are good, and every woman everywhere knows them, because they are shoved down our throats every f***in day. What about women who are married to their rapists, or what if it's their uncle or father or grandfather? I'm tired of these warnings because, in the end, it just puts more of the blame on women. Set up some guidelines for rapists and how to not be that way, then maybe we'll get somewhere. http://drkathleenyoung.wordpress.com/2009/09/06/h

    • Waylon Lewis says:

      I think there's no doubt that it's the aggressor's fault, Katy.

      The above is simply along the lines of defensive driving, which I practice on my bicycle every day.

      If offering resources is akin 'blaming the victim,' as you state, then perhaps we should just let college kids etc go along, they're just fine, they don't need to think about this or be prepared or know of resources!?

  19. Red Remover says:

    Hi thanx for the posting, I was searching for your Facebook account so I may like it. Will you guys be adding facebook connect anytime soon?

  20. Danielle Violette Grant IS A RAPIST-Date Rape says:

    Danielle Grant 23, of Las Vegas is a RAPIST, her DOB Feb 19, 1988 she and another man used a date rape drug on Victim at Sahara Palms Apartments 2900 El Camino ave. apt 170, Danielle L Grant sodomized the victim with a plunger. She is lite skinned 4’6 to 4’7 and she drives a Black Ford Focus, She works as an dental assistant during day. STOP this Rapist before she rapes your son or daughter. Memory just now coming back. Danielle L Grant MUST BE STOPED. She is a drug addict and dealer ( Lortab and Meth,Weed ) sometimes works as a Vegas Escort/Prostitute when she needs money. During summer She Prosititues at casino Pools to meet tourist customers.. If you have information on her criminal activities Please contact the Las Vegas Police Dept. HER DISCRIPTION..New Info ON RAPIST. Current Address Cimarron Apts 8301 W Flamingo Blg Apt# #2043 . Police say with out the KIT after rape not much can be done. Unless her freinds come forward with INFO. She needs To Be STOPED; PS look at her discription. She May be a TRANSVESTITE or Transgendered.

  21. [...] For resources to stay safe from and report, recover from sexual assault and rape, click here. Please add anything helpful in comments. [...]

  22. andromoda says:

    Good article but I think that your language can’t be understood by noobs… Maybe make notes more understandable?

  23. [...] a few resources I put together awhile back. Please add more in comments. Waylon Lewis, founder of elephantjournal.com and host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, [...]

  24. gudrun says:

    Name and shame men that engage in sexual harrasment works best.
    Get angry, let it be heard that they are out of controle. If you know him, point your finger at him and say it out loud, "thats a guy you can't trust! He tried to rape me!"
    Don't be silent and obviously: don't be friends with people who show disrespect towards woman.

    I am not a beauty anymore, a little overweight, beyond 40, and despite or maybe because of that even more men then before think they can just use me. Even my own stepfather tried to rape me. I was ashamed and felt compromised at first. Then I realized, this is what he's counting on. I told my family about it and as I had feared, it wasn't him who got the blame, but me. For over a year I didn't get to birthdays and other parties. Then things eased down. My mother comes to my place now and no longer expects me to visit her, we celebrate Christmas at my brothers house instead and she respects my choice to never ever leave my daughter unguarded with her and her husband. I won't take a risk, none at all. And when anybody asks why. I tell them, it is because my stepfather tried to rape me that I took precautions.
    Zero tolerance for men who abuse! It hurts you endlessly and way more to stay quiet than to stick your head out and lay the blame where it belongs.

  25. [...] Tonight’s message is important: Help prevent irresponsible drinking in youth. But blaming rape victims is not the way to go about it. To Whom it May [...]

  26. [...] I posted these. And they’re good to know about. [...]

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