Piedmont Rape Crisis Center
Empowering hope, through support, awareness, & advocacy

Reducing Risk

Reducing Risk

The only person who ultimately can prevent rape is the rapist. The survivor cannot come to a fair assessment of her own conduct until she clearly understands that no action on her part in any way absolves the rapist of responsibility for his crimes.
— Judith Herman, M.D.

General REcommendations for REducing Risk

  • Set sexual limits. It is your body, and no one has the right to force you to do anything you do not want to do. The sooner you communicate firmly and clearly your sexual intentions the easier it will be for your partner to hear and accept your decision. 
  • Be assertive on your dates. Do not do anything you do not want to do, just to avoid disagreement or unpleasant interaction. 
  • Maintain control of your comfort level. If you feel that things are getting out of your control, respond with protest, leave, or go for help. 
  • Use a confident voice and body posture. If you want a person to stop, look directly at him/her and say "NO" in a firm, serious voice. 
  • Trust your intuition. If you feel uncomfortable, scared, or pressured, voice your discomfort or leave the situation. 

Being intoxicated is NOT a legal defense for rape.


Be Aware of anyone who: 

  • Doesn't listen to what you say, ignores you, or talks over you. 
  • Invades your personal space boundaries. 
  • Does what they want regardless of what you want. 
  • Makes you feel guilty if you are not comfortable having sex. 
  • Is excessively jealous or possessive. 
  • Drinks heavily. 
  • Deals with stress by raising his/her voice or uses physical force. 


  • Be clear about how your partner feels. If you are confused about the messages you are getting, ask for clarification. 
  • Do not assume. You know your partner's comfort level in intimate situations. You and your partner may not want the same degree of intimacy. Do not pressure your partner into any sexual activity. 
  • If your partner is not comfortable with having sex, do not feel rejected as a person. Your partner is expressing a decision about participating in a single act at the time. 
  • Be clear that sexual excitement does not justify forced sex. 
  • Realized that desire for affection is not the same as desire for sex.