You have the right to say ‘no’

2015-12-02 06:00

BE alert and be aware, because unfortunately, there is a big wide world out there that is not always happy and crime-free.
The following advice has been drawn up by the Greytown FCS unit of the SAPS from daily experiences - women, children, boys and girls can be vulnerable.
Sexual offences involve sex without consent, unwanted sexual touching, or being forced to engage in humiliating sexual activity.

Prevention – vulnerability increases:

• in dark and deserted places at night;

• if you look vulnerable and uncertain (walking alone in desolate areas and not knowing where you are going);

• if you do not lock your car doors and close your windows;

• if you talk to strangers;

• if you stop for stranded vehicles or people or if your vehicle is faulty and you have to stop for help;

• be aware of your surroundings;

• be alert at traffic lights and stop streets;

• walk close to the curb and face the on-coming traffic;

• try and keep to well-lit areas or where there are people;

• do not hitch-hike and do not pick up hitch-hikers; and

• keep a whistle with you - blow it if you need help.

At home:

• do not allow a stranger into your home - even if he is delivering something or providing a service. Ask for an identity document or phone his or her office to check his or her identity;

• invest in the best locks and security you can afford;

• never tell anyone you are alone at home, and make sure the children also know not do so;

• know your neighbours and together plan ahead for how you will respond in a crisis; and

• know your local police station and discuss safety matters with the police. Become involved with local crime prevention efforts with the community police forum or police.

On a date:

• Do not allow anyone to touch you in a way that makes you uncomfortable - be firm and clear and say “no”.

• Do not leave a party or social event with someone you do not know or have just met - say “no”.

• Ask friends for help if someone ignores you when you say “no”.

Remember, most rape victims know the rapist. You have the right to say “no”.

In a case of rape:

• try not to panic;

• you cannot always defend yourself and your resistance may cause serious injury;

• if the attacker is dangerous, co-operate and try to negotiate - submission is not consent;

• try and remember what the attacker looks like - age, race, height, hair colour, scars, tattoos, clothes, voice, jewellery, etc.;

• scream, yell, blow your whistle or run away if you can;

• do not bath or change your clothes after an attack - keep all the evidence so that it can be used by the police for further investigation; and

• Report the crime to the SAPS straight away (go to the police station or phone 10111 or 08600 10111.

After a rape:

Every victim of rape responds differently, but it is likely that you will benefit from help.

You may feel:

• dirty and want to wash repeatedly;

• scared and afraid to go out;

• that it is your fault and that you are guilty or;

• you cannot sleep, have nightmares, cannot eat, cannot stop crying or that you want to forget it as quickly as possible and get on with your life.

None of these responses are unusual or unnatural, and remember there is always someone to help you. There are victim support programmes, psychologists, counsellors, health care or social workers, employers, friends, family or church members - ask the police official dealing with your case to recommend someone to help you.

What we can all do to help:

• Join community-based victim support initiatives - be trained as a volunteer.

• Report rape and help others to report rape.

• Do not protect rapists - do not hide them in your home or community - tell the police about them.

• Bring up your boys to be real men - real men respect women and real men do not rape.

Who to contact:

• local police station.

• SAPS Emergency Services 10111.

• SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, 118 Pine Street, Greytown on 033 413 9035, Lieutenant Keshni Budloo on 082 411 6647.

• SAPS Crime Stop 08600 10111.

• Women Abuse Helpline on 0800 150 150.

• Childline on 0800 055 555.

• Aids Helpline on 0800 012 322.

You have the right to say “no”.

No one has the right to force you into sexual activity no matter what your relationship with that person is.

This means no one can force you to have sex, or touch you in a sexual way without your consent, or force you to perform sexual activity you find unpleasant or humiliating.

Remember, a sexual assault is not your fault.


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