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Staying Safe From Sexual Violence: Essential Tips for the Summer

Updated: Jul 3



As the temperatures rise in the summer so do reports of sexual violence. According to the Department of Justice, in its study “Seasonal Patterns in Criminal Victimization Trends,” crimes such as rape and sexual assault tend to spike more in the summer months during any other time of the year. The study states, “Rape and sexual assault rates in the summer are 9% higher than in the winter and 10% higher than in the fall.” (Janet L. Lauritsen)

 

The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Assault is dedicated to informing our communities about the concerning trend of increased sexual victimization during the summer months. Staying safe from sexual violence year-round is crucial but here are some tips to help you particularly stay safe this summer.


 

Personal Safety


  1. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings:

    1. Be mindful of your environment and the people around you, especially in crowded places like festivals, beaches, and parks.

  2. Trust Your Instincts:

    1. If something feels off or makes you uncomfortable, trust your gut feeling and remove yourself from the situation.

  3. Stay Connected:

    1. Keep your phone charged and with you at all times. Share your location with trusted friends or family when going out.

  4. Avoid Isolation:

    1. When in unfamiliar areas, try to stay with a group or in well-populated places. Avoid walking alone at night.

  5. Know Your Limits:

    1. Be cautious with alcohol and substances, as they can impair judgment and make you more vulnerable. Keep an eye on your drinks to prevent tampering. NOTE: Alcohol consumption is certainly not the cause of domestic and/or sexual violence and are not to blame; intoxication doesn’t cause abuse, and sobriety doesn’t stop it.


While prevention is crucial, it's equally important to understand how to protect yourself. Here are a couple ways to do so:


  1. Self-Defense Training:

    1. Consider taking self-defense classes to build confidence and learn techniques for protecting yourself.

  2. Carry Safety Devices:

    1. Carry items like pepper spray, personal alarms, or whistles that can be used to deter an attacker or attract attention.


 

Community and Social Event Safety

One factor that can contribute to higher reports of sexual violence in the summer is the increase of social interactions due to more free time. This can include more parties, festivals and gatherings that lead to higher interaction and opportunities where victimization is likely to occur. Below are some tips to create a safer experience while out at social events.


  1. Buddy System:

    1. Use the buddy system when attending events. Arrive together, look out for each other during the event, and leave together.

  2. Emergency Contacts:

    1. Have a list of emergency contacts saved in your phone and know how to reach them quickly.


 

How You Can Help Combat the Prevalence of Sexual Victimization


The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Assault encourages everyone to play an active role in preventing sexual victimization. As a bystander, you have the power to make a difference. Below are 4 D's to follow when implementing bystander intervention strategies:


  1. Direct Approach: Address the situation directly. Ask the person if they need help or if they’re okay. 

    1. Example: “Hey, do you need any help?” or “Is everything alright here?” 

  2. Distract: Create a distraction to interrupt the situation without confrontation. 

    1. Example: Spill a drink, ask for directions, or start a random conversation. 

  3. Delegate: Get help from others. Find friends of the potential victim or ask a security guard for assistance. 

    1. Example: “Can you help me with this?” or “Could you check on that person over there?” 

  4. Delay: If immediate action isn’t safe, check in with the potential victim later to offer support. 

    1. Example: “Are you okay?” or “I noticed something earlier...do you need any help?” 

Practical tips for ensuring your own safety while intervening as a bystander may include:


  • Trust your gut: if something feels wrong, it probably is. Act on your instincts. 

  • Stay safe: Ensure your own safety first. If the situation is dangerous, call for professional help. 

  • Be respectful: Approach situations calmly and respectfully in hopes to not escalate the current situation. 



 

Preventing Sexual Victimization


The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Assault urges everyone to take responsibility for their actions and be mindful of behaviors that can contribute to sexual victimization, especially during the summer months. 

Understanding Consent: 

  1. Explicit consent: Always obtain clear, verbal consent. Silence or lack of resistance is not consent. 

  2. Continuous consent: Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Respect your partner’s boundaries. If consent is revoked, stop. 

  3. Impairment: If someone is intoxicated, it impairs their ability to make decisions to consent. 

Recognizing Red Flags in Your Behavior: 

  • Pressuring Someone: Pushing someone to drink more or engage in activities they’re uncomfortable with is coercive. 

  • Ignoring Non-verbal Cues: If someone looks uncomfortable or hesitant, stop and ask if they’re okay. If their answer is anything other than yes, stop. 

  • Making assumptions: Don’t assume consent based on past interactions or someone’s behavior. 


If you or someone you may know has experienced sexual victimization or want to know more about resources available to victims, call our 24/7 crisis line for immediate assistance at 843-669-4600 or 1-800-273-1820 (toll-free services)

The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault is a member of the United Way.


 

RESOURCES & HOTLINES:


  • Janet L. Lauritsen. “Seasonal Patterns in Criminal Victimization Trends.” Bureau of Justice Statistics, bjs.ojp.gov/library/publications/seasonal-patterns-criminal-victimization-trends. Accessed June 2024.

  • Pee Dee Coalition Rape Crisis Line: 843-669-4600 or 1-800-273-1820 (toll-free services)

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): 1-800-656-4673




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