Sexual assaults increase over the summer months

Friday, July 19th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police say more women are raped in July and August than any other time of the year.

That's because more women are outdoors so, simply put, the rapist has a bigger pool of potential victims to choose from. News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright says another factor is women tend to let their guard down in the summer. It's light out longer; we have more time to go to the park or beach or away for a weekend, all which combines to make this the season of sexual assault.

So, we wanted to show you four places where rapists lurk. The first is parking lots and garages. They offer a rapist relative privacy and women are often distracted with keys and packages. And, stairwells can become empty, remote areas at nighttime. Tulsa Police Sex Crimes Detective Cindy Massey, "Watch parking lots also because that's where men will make lewd proposals or say nasty things or try to grab you because that's what they like." Next, public parks. After being cooped up all winter, people want to get outside to exercise, women are often caught off guard, because they're daydreaming or listening to music. "Especially when there's not a lot of people in the park, don't wear headphones because an attacker from behind or from the side, you're not going to be able to hear that." The third high-risk area can be your own home. Especially if you sleep with a window open to catch a cool breeze. Leaving garage doors open for pets also gives easy access to attackers. "If you do have someone watching you, that just makes it easier for them. It's not likely they'd kick down your door, because that would give them attention." Finally, travel spots. Women are in unfamiliar territory and often think about having fun or trying new things on vacation rather than safety. “Try not to be in places where they can grab you, be around people, around traffic."

The bottom line is women can't live in fear, but need to be alert and prepared for anything, all the time. Another important thing to do is think like a rapist, where would they go to find a victim, what would they look for and adjust your actions accordingly.

And, it's important for women to look people, men, in the face and speak to them, rather than look at the ground and give the appearance of fear.