Reducing the Risk of Sexual Assault in Orlando and Central Florida

As trusted Orlando criminal defense attorneys, we know it is impossible to completely protect yourself from being sexually assaulted. However, there are many things you can do to reduce the risk that you will be assaulted. We have compiled a list of safety tips that will help protect against a possible assault.

  • Avoid isolated areas when possible.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. This means knowing not only where you are, but being aware of those who are around you.
  • Trust your "gut" instincts. When a situation feels uncomfortable or a location doesn't feel safe, it is best to get away from it.
  • Keep your cell phone with you, and have money for a cab if necessary. A charged cell phone and money to take a cab can help you avoid a possible sexual assault.
  • Avoid isolation with someone you do not know or trust.
  • Go with a group when attending a party or social gathering. It is always safer to be in a group environment, no matter where you go. However, when attending a function where alcohol will be served, know your limits, and stay with your group. This includes arriving with your group, and leaving with it.
  • Never leave your drink where someone can access it. Regardless of whether your drink is alcoholic or non-alcoholic, do not leave it unattended as someone with bad intentions could slip a date-rape or other drug into it.
Protect yourself against sexual assault when driving
  • Always keep your car doors locked.
  • Plan your route before you leave home, and know where the safe spots are (convenience store, police station, hospital, etc.).
  • Keep your gas tank half full, and never wait until the last minute to fill it.
  • Keep necessities on hand in case of an emergency such as jumper cables, oil, etc.
  • When you go to unlock your vehicle, have keys in hand and ready. You don't want to be left standing at your car fumbling through your purse or pocket!
The climate in Central Florida makes it ideal for those who enjoy walking or running; keep the following in mind
  • If possible, walk or run with a buddy and avoid going alone
  • Rather than less populated areas, stay on roads and paths where people/motorists are present
  • Carry something that would likely deter a potential assailant, such as a whistle or flashlight
  • Keep your cell phone where you can access it easily
  • Again, plan your route and know where the safe places are along the way
  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings
  • Avoid areas that are not brightly lit at night
  • If you listen to music while you walk/run, do not put ear buds in both ears
Make sure your home is as safe as possible
  • Even when you are inside the house, keep all doors locked
  • After dark, close curtains and blinds so that no one can see inside your home
  • Although your vehicle is in your garage or driveway, lock the doors so that no one can enter your car and "surprise" you the next time you get in to go somewhere
  • If possible, have a security system installed - and use it
  • Consider landscape lighting, flood lights, or motion detectors to light up the exterior of your home at night
At parties or social gatherings
  • Again, do not leave your beverage (alcoholic or otherwise) unattended
  • Don't drink from punch bowls or other "group" drinks; drink only from containers that have not been opened, or drinks you have watched being made with your own eyes
  • Staying with a group of people you know and trust is important; arrive with your group, and leave them
  • If drinking alcoholic beverages, keep up with how many you have had
  • Be aware of rape drugs
  • Know that you may have been drugged if you begin to feel drunk or unusually tired although you have had only a drink or two. Find a friend to leave with you, and go to a hospital to be tested for possible date rape or other drugs
  • Do not give out information such as where you live, your telephone number, where you work, etc. Instead, take the other person's information if you are interested in further contact with him/her

It is always a good idea to trust your own instincts, and not to feel obligated if someone is pressuring you to engage in sexual activity you are not comfortable with. Develop a "secret code" you can use with family or friends should you need to call and alert them of an uncomfortable situation without letting the other party know. Plan an escape route should you be pressured by learning where all of the windows and doors in a room are, whether there is a telephone nearby, what people are present that may assist you. Make up an excuse for why you need to leave if you feel trapped.

Sexual assault occurs all too often not only in Orlando and throughout Florida, but across the nation. Keep these tips in mind, and protect yourself against becoming the next victim.

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