Five Ways To Prevent A Sexual Assault

An American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds.  Recent headlines, as well as the #MeToo movement, have shed light on this pervasive problem.  Here are practical tips to help prevent a sexual assault on yourself or someone you love.

1. Watch the alcohol.

Watching how much alcohol you drink is wise for your personal health, as well as your personal safety.  Intoxication can lead to slower reflexes, impaired judgment and drowsiness, all of which make you an easier target for sexual assault.  In addition to monitoring the quantity of alcohol you drink, make sure you don’t leave a drink unattended, or drink from a large batch of an alcoholic beverage (like punch), to avoid ingesting a drink that’s been spiked.  

2. Stick together.

When it comes to sexual assault risk, there really is “safety in numbers.”   It’s wise to attend social functions with a group of friends. By arriving together, leaving together, and keeping an eye on each other during the event, you’re able to watch out for each other, intervene in questionable situations, and make sure everyone gets home safely at the end of the night.

3. Meet in public places.

With the advent of dating apps, people are going on more first dates now more than ever.  It’s important to meet new acquaintances in well-lit, public spaces. Being alone with someone in your car or dorm room or apartment makes you more vulnerable to assault, and makes it more difficult to escape an attack.

4. Make sure someone knows where you are.

If you do plan to meet a new acquaintance, make sure someone knows where you’re going, the name of the person you’re going to meet, and what time you expect to be home.  Having a “text buddy” makes sure that someone is keeping tabs of you, and can help if you’re in danger.

5. Be prepared to defend yourself.

By following the above steps, you can lower your risk of becoming a victim of sexual assault.  But it’s important to remember that sexual assaults can happen even if you take all the right precautions.  So be prepared by carrying a rape whistle or pepper spray, or taking self-defense classes, so you can successfully fend off unwanted advances.


If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline 24/7 at 800.656.HOPE (4673).

Sarah Thebarge MMSc, PA-C Sarah Thebarge earned her physician assistant degree at Yale School of Medicine, and then studied journalism at Columbia School of Journalism. She has been a physician assistant and a freelance journalist since 2004. In addition to caring for patients at Golden Gate Urgent Care, Sarah frequently volunteers her medical skills in the developing world. Her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, USA Today and National Geographic, and her blog was featured on She is the author of the memoir The Invisible Girls and the upcoming book WELL: Healing our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa. She currently lives in the Mission District of San Francisco.

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Four Best Ways To Stay Healthy During The Holidays

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, it’s important to take steps to stay healthy so you can enjoy the festivities with your family and friends. Here are four of the most important things you can do to stay healthy this year.

Eight Things Everyone Needs To Know About HIV/AIDS

In honor of World AIDS Day, which falls December 1st every year, we wanted to take time out on the blog this week to talk about the signs, symptoms, prevention, detection, & treatment of HIV/AIDS, which is by far the deadliest sexually-transmitted disease.

Five Ways To Protect Your Lungs During A Wildfire

In Northern California, the smoke from the Camp Fire and other fires has traveled quickly, blanketing the Bay Area with air that’s as polluted as the air in Beijing. Here are five ways to protect your lungs when the Bay Area is affected by wildfire smoke.

Three Ways To Lower The Risk of Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so we’re taking time out on the blog to share three ways to lower the risk of contracting this serious, potentially life-threatening disease that affects 30 million Americans.