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Still Vulnerable

Your daughters are still at risk.

Every woman is a potential victim of violence. We like to think we are equal, but the chances of being the recipient of a beating, rape, or murder are surprisingly high. Every nine seconds, a woman is beaten in America. One in three women have been attacked by an intimate partner. Native American females have a 50 percent higher rate than any other race. These statistics are from 2017, and they are frightening. A full 18 percent involve threats with a weapon, which raises the possibility of a homicide by 500 percent. Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of female homicides. Where there are children in the home, the kids face a 15 percent higher risk of physical abuse than the national average.

Rape statistics are equally dismal. One in six females will be the victims of either an attempted or completed rape. The most at-risk age group is 16 to 24. Women who go to college are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than the national average, and non-students are four times more likely. A full 89 percent of colleges do not disclose rape statistics. Fraternity brothers are responsible for 50 percent of gang rapes and any given Frat boy is three times more likely to offend. Out of 1,000 rapes, 994 offenders will not do prison time. Every 98 seconds, a woman is sexually attacked. In 2/3 of all cases, the woman knows her rapist. Alcohol or drug use plays a big role here, and it is usually an incapacitated female who is victimized.

Is your head spinning yet? What can we, as women, do? There are things that can be done. In the short run, college males should be required to attend specific seminars that both educate them as to what rape is and the consequences. Every college needs to act swiftly and firmly when a rape is reported. College females should be required to attend seminars that explain the reporting process and the dangers of date rape. Mothers and fathers must educate their sons about what constitutes rape, and daughters need to know that excessive alcohol use is dangerous. Nothing will ever happen if people don't respond to these statistics and wake up to the dangers their children are in. Education in high school and lower grades is the long-term answer. Within the family, it should be a priority to start the ball rolling early. We all talk about stranger-danger with our children, that needs to be expanded as they grow because children aged 11 to 16 are the second highest rape victim group. This problem is staggering. It will remain so unless parents become more proactive. Get on administrators to provide school-related action, then do the required education at home. There are countries where rape is rare. Japan, Switzerland, and Singapore have low statistics, whereas the USA and Canada have among the highest. It is long past time to act upon these numbers.

One thing I did every year with my students in forensic science was a simple self-defense class. Kids today feel very self-conscious about screaming extraordinarily loud. They worry they're making a mistake, or that the abductor will shoot them. We would go outside for "parking lot" practice. First, each student would have to run and shriek at full capacity, attracting as much attention as possible. Most people with a gun are not going to shoot someone if other people are present. If there is any chance someone will see them, a loud, raucous yell should scare an attacker enough to leave. Parking lots are one of the most common places for an abduction to take place. Boys had to do these exercises as well. Next, it's an oldie but a goody - everyone must learn to carry their keys between the fingers of a closed fist as a weapon. Pepper spray is invaluable. However, every woman knows that hairspray stings the eyes. They make those little cans that can fit in a pocket. If approached from behind, you go for the eyes or nose. These are sensitive places. No one can tolerate a thumb pushed into the eye. Practice with a man or friend taller than you. It was shocking to me how many students didn't know there is a release to open the trunk from the inside, BUT the driver will get a warning light that the trunk is open, so you have to plan this action. So many people, men, and women alike do not know how to remove the taillights on a car. They normally have a squeeze release of some sort so that you can stick your hand out of the hole and let other people know someone is in the trunk. These things should be practiced the way you practice in-home fire drills. Mothers, teach your children well. You may save their lives. Once you are in a car with a perp, there are fewer things you can do. One simple thing to be preemptive about is to lightly tape a metal nail file to the door side of each seat. It is legal, easy to conceal, easy to reach. If all else fails, leave your DNA any way you can, even if it means peeing in your pants. Leave your hair, saliva, blood where you can. At least then if they can catch the guy it will be proof you were in the car. Above everything else, stay calm and THINK. Survivors have that in common.

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Still Vulnerable
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