Avoiding & Responding to Unsafe Situations & Behavior

Instructor: Amanda Robb
In this lesson we'll cover some common and unsafe situations that people of all ages can find themselves in. We'll review what to do in these situations and consider strategies for avoiding them altogether. We'll look at three examples: domestic abuse, sexual assault, and drugs and alcohol.

Unsafe Situations

Katie is excited to be on her first international trip. She's in Europe with her friends, living it up, seeing Paris, Milan, and Rome. The nightlife scene is amazing and, having recently turned 18, Katie and her friends can legally drink in Europe. After a particularly long night the girls stumble home. Katie's staying in a different hotel, so she parts ways at 2:30 AM. Soon, she's lost. Her phone doesn't get service in this foreign country and she clearly isn't in the neighborhood she should be.

Situations like these can be avoided by taking some basic precautions. Although it would be ideal to have people treat each other with respect, that unfortunately isn't always the case, especially in a large city. Today, we're going to talk about ways to avoid unsafe situation's like Katie's. We'll look at the common examples of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and drug and alcohol use.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any type of physical harm that is sexual in nature, such as rape. Rape is any situation in which one partner does not want to have sex but the other partner physically or emotionally forces them to. Many rape victims feel as if the event was their fault and refuse to come forward to the police. Unless you say 'yes' to a sexual act, it should never proceed, and the act is rape.

Reproductive rights activist protesting rape
reproductive rights activist

There are a number of ways for potential victims to avoid situations where the risk of sexual assault is high. Going out drinking or to a club is a common precursor for rape. Make sure you stay with a group of friends at all times, even when going to the restroom. Preferably, have a male with you to deter other men. Keep your drinking in check as well. Being too drunk to walk or passed out makes you an easy target. Always keep an eye on your drink. Men will put drugs in drinks that make you sleepy or unaware of your surroundings.

When walking home at night, try to stick with a group of people. Avoid unsafe areas (i.e. poorly lit with few people) and take a cab if needed. Make sure people know where you are going and when you should be home. If men start to follow you on the street, cross the street or try to stay in busy, well-lit areas.

Avoid dark and unlit streets when you walk at night

Remember, you are never responsible for sexual assault. It doesn't matter where you were, what you were wearing, or how much you had to drink. However, controlling these variables can reduce your risk.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse comes in many forms. Physical violence, emotional abuse, controlling or manipulating by a partner, and sexual assault all are types of domestic abuse. Although we typically think of it happening in poor families with alcohol use, domestic abuse occurs across all socioeconomic classes and cultures.

Domestic abuse is never the victim's fault. The number one way to prevent domestic abuse is to get help if you are the abuser. Oftentimes, abusive partners have a history of mental illness or drug abuse. Prior trauma in life can manifest as uncontrollable anger, a desire to be in control, and aggression. The abuser may have learned violence as an acceptable answer in their childhood or may be unable to control their actions due to substance abuse. Getting counseling if you suffer from these struggles can help repair your relationship and end the cycle of violence.

However, there are also ways to avoid these types of relationships or get out of one if you are the partner being abused. Relationships should be filled with love and acceptance. If your partner is in any way controlling, it might be time to end the relationship. Efforts to control and dominate a partner may seem harmless at first, but over time it can develop into an abusive relationship. Remember, abuse can be emotional as well as physical.

If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, the best choice is to get help right away. Leave the relationship. If you feel you have nowhere to go, there are shelters for abused women in most areas. Staying with a friend, family member, or coworker is also an option. Also, seek mental health counseling to deal with the trauma of an abusive relationship to protect your own emotional stability.

Leaving an unhealthy relationship can break the abuse cycle
abuse cycle

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