Preventing Sexual Assault

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Sexual assault is any type of sexual conduct to which you do not agree. It can include touching (both directly and through clothing), molestation, rape, voyeurism (watching private sexual acts), exhibitionism (performing sexual acts in public), incest, and sexual harassment. It affects both men and women, and can happen anywhere, by anyone, at any time: at home, at work, on a date, by a stranger, daylight or at night.

The most common form of sexual assault is rape, though as mentioned above this is not the only form. What is important is that the conduct is unwanted.

Of course, there are ways you can help minimize your risk of becoming a victim. Keep in mind these tips from the National Crime Prevention Council:

• Be aware of your surroundings—who’s out there and what’s going on.
• Walk with confidence. The more confident you look, the stronger you appear.
• Know your limits when it comes to using alcohol.
• If you are meeting someone for the first time, do so in a well-travelled place where there are plenty of people around and make sure to tell a family member or trusted friend who you are meeting, where you are meeting them and the time you are planning to meet.
• Be assertive—don’t let anyone violate your space.
• Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in your surroundings, leave.
• Don’t prop open self-locking doors.
• Lock your door and your windows, even if you leave for just a few minutes.
• Watch your keys. Don’t lend, leave, or lose them, and don’t put your name and
address on the key ring.
• Watch out for unwanted visitors. Know who’s on the other side of the door before you open it. If you tell the person to go away and they won’t leave, call the Sheriff’s Station at (661) 948-8466 to report it.
• Be wary of isolated spots, like underground garages, offices after business hours, and apartment laundry rooms.
• Avoid walking or jogging alone, especially at night. Vary your route. Stay in well-traveled, well-lit areas.
• Have your key ready to use before you reach the door—home, car, or work. Always take your keys out and have them in your hand before you leave the location (for example, take them out before exiting the store).
• Park in well-lit areas and lock the car, even if you’ll only be gone a few minutes.
• Drive on well-traveled streets, with doors and windows locked.
• Never hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker.
• Keep your car in good shape with plenty of gas in the tank.
• In case of car trouble, call for help on your cellular phone. If you don’t have a phone, put the hood up, lock the doors, and put a banner in the rear mirror that says, “Help. Call police.”

You can call the National Sexual Violence Resource Center at (877) 739-3895, or visit their website at