Monday, October 1, 2007

Staying safe

The subject of rape and date rape is a pretty heavy one for the type of books I usually write, but it is such an important topic for women, especially young women who are dating actively and meeting men for the first time in settings that may not be the safest. In my latest book, MENDING FENCES,I've tried to deal with the impact of date rape on two families -- neighbors and close friends. Readers can see the shattering impact on the family of the suspect, as well as the devastating after-shocks for a victim and her family.

Rather than dwell on the storyline here, I'd like to share some information from experts about how to prevent rape and date rape and what to do if, despite your best precautions, you should become a victim. For several years, I worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, which is home to an extraordinary facility -- The Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center. It is the first stop for many victims of rape in the Miami area and has long-standing programs of counseling as well as providing evidence for prosecution of this terrible crime.

On their website, the center provides everything from safety tips to what women and men need to know about date rape. The site also offers information about what to do should a rape occur. I highly recommend that you visit the site and encourage your daughters and your sons to read this vital information. The link is provided below.

Many of the tips you've probably heard a thousand times. Lock your doors and windows when leaving your home, even for a short time. Don't open your door to a stranger. Report abusive behavior, either to someone you trust or to the police or a help-line. Always have a backup way to get home in case a ride fails to materialize or if you sense that a date is out of control.

One tip that strikes me as critically important, especially for those out on a date, involves being extremely cautious with drugs and alcohol. Not only do these impair judgment, but they make it harder to fight off an attacker. I suspect failure to heed this one rule is a key reason for the increasingly high incidence of date rape among young women.

Tara Taylor Quinn in her earlier post mentions the high emotional cost of being raped by a trusted friend. That impact is also at the core of MENDING FENCES. Through years and years of dating experience, I've met my share of men who don't know the meaning of, "No." As an adult, thank heaven, I was able to make it clear, but young women not only may not have the skills, but if they fail, they may well blame themselves. We need to be sure that young men understand that date rape is a crime and that young women know with one hundred percent certainty that it is NOT THEIR FAULT!

Again, Just Between Friends, I encourage you to visit the website below and share it with the other women or men in your life.

www.jhsmiami.org

Put The Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center in the search box at the top right and follow the links to the various topics.

Wishing you safety,
Sherryl Woods

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