What Causes Sexual Assault
There are certain challenges in protecting oneself from sexual assault across the board though there are precautions to be taken and good common sense to be practiced. A challenge lies in profiling perpetrators because sex offenders differ in all characteristics such as age, background, personality, race, religion, and more. Even the crimes they commit vary in time, place, gender, age of the victim, the planning of the offense or lack thereof, and the amount of violence exacted making it nearly impossible to spot the threat in most cases.
Foremost, knowledge is power. It is estimated that 80% of all rapes and sexual assaults are related to a dating or acquaintance relationship. Accordingly, it is also estimated that strangers commit only 1/5 of the reported sexual violence in our country. This all means practicing safe socialization. When engaging in an initial socialization whether with someone met online or a blind date it is good practice to meet in a public place and to tell a friend or family member where you will be. Do not agree to be picked up, have a fully charged cell phone on hand and have a plan for getting home. Do not accept rides from anyone not known well or trusted.
How it works
Once out consumption of alcohol and drugs can place an individual in a place of high vulnerability and should be consumed thoughtfully. Alcohol and drugs may cloud judgment and result in engaging in high risk behaviors. Date rape drugs are also a concern. It is important to not leave drinks unattended, to be careful of accepting drinks from people you do not know well, and to not share drinks with others.
Additionally, at any time, day or night, if you feel you are being followed, make noise, run, look for a well lit area, people, or an occupied building. At any time if you feel concerned about a person or situation trust your gut and get out. I probably mentioned in our introductory post back in the beginning of this semester that one of my interests is fitness. One of the motivating factors for me to maintain my level of fitness is to be ready should a situation occur that requires me to be physically able to save or protect myself. Additionally, it is never a bad idea to take a self defense class.
On an interesting side note there has been much study on the effect of pornography on the commission of sexual offenses. The idea that pornographic stimuli may promote aggression under certain conditions accords with Berkowitz’s theory on the relationship between arousal and aggression. In short anything sexual or not that increases the arousal level of an already aroused subject will increase aggressive behavior in situations where aggression is the dominant factor. The increased arousal may also draw the subject away from his own internal control or self-regulatory mechanisms, thereby allowing him to be less concerned about the consequences of his behavior. This theory is similar to what many believe is true of the correlation between violent video games and violent acts. It is my personal belief that yes pornography could be a trigger, violent video games could be trigger, violent films could be a trigger but these stimuli are triggering individuals who already posess the proclivity to commit these acts. If it wasn’t one of these stimuli it might be another such as a book. “Catcher in the Rye” served as inspiration for Mark David Chapman to shoot and kill John Lennon. The individuals who commit these acts are time bombs waiting for a trigger. Anyone who is not pre-disposed to violence is unlikely to be affected by any of the above.