Carry a cell phone. If you feel uncomfortable walking alone, either call a friend or family member or pretend to call them. Walk purposefully and speak in a clear voice, saying something like “Could you unlock the door for me? I’ll be home in 3 minutes, it’s just one more block” or say which street intersection you are at. Potential attackers may be discouraged by knowing that someone is awaiting your arrival, is close by, and would come to check on you if you did not appear within the next few minutes.
The phone is also helpful for dialing emergency numbers in case you are attacked. Have emergency numbers on speed dial so that you can dial quickly, and if you are traveling in a different city/state/country, be sure that you have emergency numbers (e.g.: police, hospital, etc.) in your cell phone, as well as the number for several taxi services.
If you get a bad feeling about a person, party, and/or location, either leave immediately or find a friend. Don’t hesitate.
If walking down a sidewalk, walk next to the street, not next to the buildings, where people can be hiding in doorways, alleyways, etc.
If you are walking alone at night or in unsafe areas, avoid listening to music. You will be distracted by the music, making you an easier target because you are less aware of your surroundings and also may not hear the rapist approach. You also look like a better target.
If you do listen to music while walking, however, keep the volume low. Music at a high volume, especially if you’re wearing over-the-ear headphones, virtually eliminates background noise; you may not be aware of anyone following you.
If you will be walking in an unsafe area or in the dark, wear tennis shoes or bring a pair with you. Stilettos or other heeled shoes make you sound like a walking target and could even draw potential attackers from blocks away. Sandals are usually better than heels, but they are flimsy and could prevent you from running as fast as you can and could even fall off.
If all else fails and you are being followed by someone/attacked by someone, scream. Don’t be afraid to scream because you will feel silly; in some countries we have been socialized to “not make a scene.” If this is rape/potential rape, make the biggest scene you can.
Loudly scream, “Help!” or “Fire!”. Do not yell out, “Rape!” or “I’m being attacked!”. The reason behind this is called the bystander effect, which is a social psychological phenomenon in which bystanders are aware and witnessing an emergency situation but don’t offer help. During a rape, bystanders may not help for fear of getting attacked themselves.
If you want to and the rapist is not armed and he forces oral sex on you, bite HARD. If biting fails, always remember, “Grab, Twist, and Pull.” This meaning the testicles. It may sound silly now, but it may save your life.
Don’t panic because this will just make you easy prey.
If they try to, shout ‘dad’ or a masculine male name in a purposeful direction.
Rape is a horrible thing to experience. Once it happens to you, you don’t want to tell anyone, because you are afraid. Or you think people will think less of you after you tell them. While these attacks are not the fault of the victim, you can take some precautionary measures to keep yourself safe.
Trust your instincts. Don’t underestimate your own judgment. If you feel uncomfortable in someone’s company, avoid being secluded with them and be firm if coercion is attempted. Attackers will more often prey on people who look vulnerable and seem easily manipulated.
Bring a friend if you are going to a party or other event in a strange place. If you can’t bring someone you know, give a friend your phone number and expected time you’ll be home, and tell him or her that you’ll check in.
Keep an eye on your drink. Date rapists can lace drinks with flavorless chemicals. Don’t go back to a drink if you’ve left it unattended, and don’t accept an open drink from a stranger (unless you saw it made at the bar or similar).
Walk with a friend if possible, especially if you’re walking at night or in a remote location. If you’re going on a jog, bring a companion.
Stay alert by avoiding headphones (which impair your ability to hear ambient sounds), or hats that block your peripheral vision. Be aware of people in the area, ahead and behind you.
Stick to populated, well-lit areas if you need to walk alone. Avoid poorly lit areas, or areas with minimal escape routes.
Carry pepper spray or a similar item for emergency self-defense.
Learn basic self-defense moves. Preparing yourself for a potential attack allows you to react better when faced with the fear and stress of the situation.
Move with confidence. Someone who looks purposeful and physically capable is a less appealing target.
Confront a pursuer. If you know that someone is following you, turn and ask them the time. Get a good look at their face and overall appearance. Attackers prefer to target victims who haven’t seen their face.
Struggle and yell if attacked.
Understand that rape isn’t just committed by strangers, but by friends, relatives, and even colleagues, as well. Often victims will know and possibly trust their rapist prior to the offense.
Sometimes, even if you’re playing a fair game, life deals your hand from the bottom of the deck. There’s no reason for it, necessarily, but it happens. For some people, “Life sucks” might be no date for the prom, or a big zit on the nose—just in time for that big date. For others, it might be getting a phone call as you and the children are decorating the Christmas tree, saying your spouse was just killed in an accident. You may suffer from chronic depression, such that even though you know how good things look on the surface (to others), life couldn’t be worse for you.
Examine your situation. What’s causing the pain you are feeling? This is going to be key to working your way back to positive territory.
If it’s situational—for example, you got fired, it’s pouring down rain, and on the way home with all your office belongings in the car, that little spare tire that you’ve been running on gives up the ghost, leaving you stranded on the other side of town—you’re going to need a different set of “positive” tools than if you have been diagnosed with a melanoma.
External factors can be dealt with by taking positive steps to repair or at least address the root problem as best as you can. Whatever the primary cause of the suck age that cause must be addressed first. You may or may not be able to solve the problem, per se, but at least knowing you’re taking positive steps forward is one less weight to have to carry, and it will help you improve your outlook. It will not be easy, of course, or we wouldn’t be calling this “sucking.”
If it’s physical or mental—maybe you’re bipolar, or suffer chronic depression—you must balance any attempt at “being positive” with an understanding that the reality is, it’s going to be an ongoing battle for your own survival. Because depression will undermine even the strongest of wills, you will need help to maintain—or at least be reminded of—a positive outlook. Counseling, psychotherapy, and the right combination of medication will play a crucial role in helping to keep you from sinking into that very dark place that is the essence of depression. Be patient, but don’t look for miracles. It may be that you will need the help of professionals throughout your life to maintain a generally even keel.
Don’t give in. When you’re in the middle of a suck vortex, those words will have little meaning, because everything you know in your bones to be true is telling you that giving in would be so easy to do.
People will tell you “just get over it,” or “get a grip.” They know—and you know—that if you were to look objectively at the sum of your life, that it’s not as bad as it feels; there are many people whose lives are measurably worse than yours. So what! Their lives, no matter how terrible, are not your life, and your situation is unique to you.
Don’t try to “get over it.” If one could “will away” depression, there would be no need of doctors or drugs. What you can do is understand why you feel like you do, and explain to your would-be counselors that you wish it were that easy, and that you appreciate their concern. Don’t push them away—at the very least, you can be positive that they are there for you, however clumsy and unaware their platitudes may be. Who knows, their bumbling efforts may even provide some amusement or distraction!
Take care of your body and soul. Given that you are probably an emotional wreck in a world of sewage, swimming in the debris of whatever damage the suck age has wrought, this is not the time to become a world champion hotdog eater, consumer of tubs of ice cream, or finding the bottom of the bottle of Jack. Treat yourself well, even though you feel like hell. How, you ask? Here are some ideas:
Give your pet some love. They know you’re not their normal human, but the beauty of pets is unconditional, unquestioning love. Be playful with them, find a simple game that amuses both of you (the fake ball-throw is always a canine favorite), and let yourself forget your troubles for 5 or 10 minutes. It won’t solve your problem, but it will lighten the load.
Eat as well as you possibly can. Even if you have very little money, make it a point to eat a more balanced, healthier diet than you do when all is well. Lots of greens and colored vegetables, and a variety of fruit and nuts, are all super healthy for you, and they’re much less expensive than meats, cheeses, and processed foods! Their nutritional value will elevate your body, and knowing you are treating yourself will elevate your mind.
Also, look for foods rich in vitamin B12 and Omega-3. These include dark green vegetables, nuts, soybeans, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
Cut back on the caffeine drinks. You don’t need to quit, but cutting back will help reduce chemically induced anxiety and stress, and smooth any recovery time.
Exercise your body. It may be a sport you enjoy, yoga, cross training, or even a simple walk in the park. But keeping your body active will help your outlook.
Throw yourself into a hobby you enjoy. Whether its art, photography, music appreciation, or building a ship in a bottle, focusing on something other than the suck factor will give your mind some time off for good behavior.
Join a community that you’re not already part of. It could be a support group for whatever you’re going through, or a group of people that share your love of Lord of the Rings, or a charity such as Habitat for Humanity. You may find solace and purpose in ways you never imagined.
Do not crawl into a hole and disappear. Your friends and loved ones probably know your life sucks. They may or may not be able to help you directly, but they can give you emotional and moral support.
Sleep. You don’t need to be told this. Your body is probably begging you for it when you are in the middle of hard times. You may actually be drawn to sleep all day. While that might feel good at the moment, it only puts off the inevitable, so try to maintain good sleeping habits. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, but allow yourself some leeway. If you sleep fitfully for half the night, then finally fall asleep at 4am, don’t get up at 6:30 unless you absolutely must. Let your body get about 8 hours for the best results.
Seek help immediately. Yes, life sucks. Sometimes, it can become overwhelming to the point where you figure that swallowing a bottle of pills, or a 9 mm, will be preferable to another day of pain. If those thoughts start to invade your senses, deal with them as if your life depended on it—because it does.
If you’re just starting to have those thoughts, speak to your physician or your therapist. They may prescribe something to help steer you back to the center, emotionally. It may be the act of talking about it is therapeutic enough, but don’t assume that. Leave that call to the professionals.
If you’re at a more advanced stage, thinking about last meals, what to write, how you’ll do it, and if anybody will even care (or that this will “teach them a lesson”), stop whatever you’re doing. Pick up a phone. Dial 1-800-273-8255, and tell them what’s on your mind. If your urge is not quite immediate, go to Google, and enter “suicide hotline.” The results should include the number above, plus local resources that can help, no matter what the cause.
Note that if you’re in the end stage of a terminal illness, the above suggestion may be not be the best course. Some countries, and one State in the United States, permit physician-assisted suicide—its purpose to provide for a quiet, controlled departure from this world.
When people hear the word “rape” they might imagine a stranger leaping out from the shadows of a dark alley and attacking someone. Although this is partly true, most rapes are committed by people who know their victims. When intercourse is unwanted and forced upon by someone you know, it is known as “date rape.” It occurs daily and is prevalent on virtually all college campuses across the nation and in cities all over the world.
Date rape generally occurs when a man is alone with a woman. Although it has been reported that men have been raped by women, it is much more common for a woman to be raped by a man. There are several reasons why date rape might occur. Sometimes a man thinks that a woman “owes” him something if he has taken her out for dinner and a movie or if a woman acts in a friendly manner towards him. The presence of drugs and alcohol are also a contributing factor to the occurrence of date rape.
An example of date rape that occurs commonly, especially within a college campus, is when both the man and women are drunk. In an environment such as a college or university, parties are commonplace for students. It is a place where friends can gather, listen to loud music, and get loaded. Typically, a man will coerce a woman back to his apartment or dorm. This is dangerous for both parties. The man may think that the woman is leading him on, that if she agrees to go with him that it is an invitation to have sex. If the female seems to be enjoying kissing or fooling around with the guy, he may think she is teasing him if she decides to stop. The man may feel angry or rejected if this happens, and may want sexual gratification anyway. The result can be rape.
If only the woman is drunk, the man may see this as an opportunity to take advantage of her because she will most likely be less defensive towards him. Some men plan the act of rape, and may use alcohol or drugs in order to lesson a woman’s judgment. In some cases, someone may slip a drug into a women’s drink, causing her to forget what had happened the night before when she wakes the next morning. If a woman is intoxicated and has seemingly consented to having sex, she may feel the next morning that she only acted that way because of the her condition at the time. In a court of law, the man would be found guilty of rape.
Even if substance use is not involved, another factor is mixed signals between the man and the woman. If a woman acts in a friendly or outgoing manner towards a man, he may interpret this as a proposal to have sex. Even if a woman says “no,” the man may think that she is playing hard to get, that the “no” really means “yes.” Some men are sexually aroused when a woman struggles, and may continue in an aggressive no matter what she says to him. This can occur to people who have just met, those who are dating, or even to people who have known each other for years.
There is a thin line between what is known as “mutual consent” and “date rape.” They can be confusingly similar because a women may give consent at the time, but if she is high or drunk, though, she may find the next day that she did want to have sex. It is difficult to say when a woman has given her consent because in many cases, at least one of the people involved is under the influence and cannot give genuine consent. When that line is crossed, it is date rape. Some men feel that just the fact that a woman is alone with him is willing consent to having sex whether she says “no” or not. But the fact is that if she is not sober and in a correct state of mind, she cannot consent to have sex.
There are many contributing factors to the increased date rape that occurs. Alcohol and drugs obviously play a large role. Some may say that women wearing loose or revealing attire is an open invite to men. Others say that pornography desensitizes men to women so that they do not know when a women is or is not willing to have sex. Men who are sexually frustrated often attempt to rape women they know because they cannot get sexual contentment any other way.
Whatever the reasons, date rape is a commonly occurring but very scarcely reported act. It is usually more traumatic to a woman than being raped by a stranger especially if the woman had known or trusted the man before. Date rape is a problem that that involves everyone today, men and women. Date rape prevention programs need to be taught to people everywhere so that women know how to protect themselves and so men can understand the issue of rape and that when a woman says “no,” you must stop. If we can educate ourselves on the dangers of date rape, we can make the environment in which we live safer for everyone.