Front Sight Self-Defense & Family Protection Newsletter

January 2004

Assessing Your Risk of Sexual Assault

Robin Schmitt

How well protected are you from sexual assault? A recent survey conducted by Front Sight Resorts showed that 63.1% of American women believed that they, or their daughters, might be victimized resulting in serious injury. This belief is well founded, as women are the most susceptible group to become a victim of violent crime. And that violent crime is most frequently rape and sexual assault, both of which are steadily increasing. In fact, with a 3.6% per capita increase in 2002, rape is the fastest growing area of criminal victimization in America today.

Sexual assault and rape need to be taken very seriously. Every parent needs to breach the subject with their daughters, and take precautions to ensure their children are not put into a position where a sexual assault can ensue. Says Jean Carroll, a mother living in Ventura county, California, who herself was a victim of sexual assault and rape ten years ago.

Too many parents fail to see the warning signs, before it is too late. Carroll continues. And then it happens. It could be the pervert up the street, or the drive-by degenerate that happened to pick up your daughter hitchhiking. But most likely it will be someone she knows. An acquaintance she didn’t even suspect. And then it’s too late, she scarred for life.

In 2002, there were 247,730 rapes and sexual assaults in the U.S. of women
12 years and older, according to the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey, 2002. That equates to one rape or sexual assault for every 500 women in the U.S on the average.

But for some women the risk is significantly higher. The following list profiles what characteristics would place a woman into a high risk possibility for rape or sexual assault, based upon statistics from the Justice Department’s August, 2003 Report on Criminal Victimization:

High Risk Profile for Rape and Sexual Assault Victims:

  1. Women between the ages of 12 and 24 years, the rate of sexual assault or rape raises to one in 142 women.
  2. Women between the ages of 16 and 19 years, a staggering one woman out of every 91 were victims of rape or sexual assault last year.
  3. Women who are divorced or separated are 6X more susceptible to rape or sexual assault than a married woman.
  4. Woman who have never been married are 13X more prone to rape or sexual assault than a married woman.
  5. 57% of women are raped or sexually assaulted by someone they know, a friend or an acquaintance.
  6. 12% of women are raped or sexually assaulted by a relative, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

The following activities assessment, provided by Front Sight Resorts, delineates what high-risk circumstances would place a woman in danger of sexual assault:

High Risk Activities Predisposing Women to Rape and Sexual Assault:

  1. Women who unlock their car doors, or roll down their windows for strangers.
  2. Women who open their home door to strangers.
  3. Women who do not carry a cell phone.
  4. Women who hitchhike, or pick up hitchhikers.
  5. Women who walk or jog alone in the dark, or in empty areas.
  6. Women working alone at night.
  7. Woman alone in an elevator, dark parking lot, stairwell, or public restroom.
  8. Woman stranded, distressed or intoxicated.

A woman can greatly enhance her ability to fend off a sexual assault if she knows how to handle herself properly. Says Marcia Thornton, co-owner of Ultimate Training Center Martial Arts and Fitness in Park City, Utah. The large majority of sexual assaults come from people the victim knows.

A big percentage of these transgressions can be stopped even before they really get started, if the would-be woman victim knew some basic self-defensive tactics. Thornton says. Rapists and sexual attackers are cowards. If they feel a woman can effectively fight back, they will have second thoughts, and look for an easier victim.

Many of our women students are asking about additional training in self defense, besides martial arts. They are looking at how to really protect themselves, and their children, should that day arrive when they have to deal with an aggressive sexual attack. There is a real movement afoot with women these days to learn other forms of self defense for their own personal safety, such as pepper spray, mace, edged weapons training and proper use of firearms. Says Thornton.

For those women that are serious about learning how to use a defensive weapon properly, and with complete safety, I know no better training than Front Sight Resorts courses. Thornton says. Why? Because I am confident that no other school trains its students in the safe and effective handling of defensive weapons to the degree that Front Sight Resort does. This is where I send my students, and where I go to train myself.

The incidence of rape and sexual assault has been on the increase for four consecutive years now, and showing no signs of slowing down, this per the FBI’s 2003 Uniform Crime Report. And in our suburban areas, and small towns, rape and sexual assault is skyrocketing. What are you going to do to ensure that you are not the next victim, or worse, one of your children?

For more information on personal safety training for women, please contact Front Sight Resorts.

Robin Schmitt writes on women’s safety issues.

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