Safety Practices and Tips

  • Safety first!Make certain that exterior doors are locked at all times. Teach your children the importance of keeping doors locked.
  • Never open an exterior door without first making certain who is outside.
  • If your unit has a security alarm, turn it on each night before going to bed and each time you leave.
  • Teach your children where panic buttons are located and help them understand the importance of pushing these buttons only when there is danger.
  • If you do not have a telephone in your home, request that a River House, Inc. advocate provides you with a 911 pre-programmed cellular telephone, and make sure the cellular phone is always charged.
  • Always leave exterior lights on when you do not expect to return home during day light hours.
  • Always visually inspect the area around your home prior to getting out of your car.
  • If someone gives you a ride home, ask him or her to watch and make sure you get safely inside before they drive away.
  • Learn the location of local and state police department buildings.
  • If you see your abusers(s) lurking around your home and you are in your car drive to the nearest police department.
  • If your abuser(s) comes to your home and tries to enter do not open the door. Call 911 and request police assistance.
  • Always make sure a dependable person knows where you are and when you expect to return.
  • If you do not have a Personal Protection Order and you feel you are at risk of further injury by your abuser(s) ask a River House, Inc. advocate to assist you in obtaining a Personal Protection Order.
  • Report harassing telephone calls to the telephone company, police, and a River House, Inc. advocate.
  • Create firm boundaries with your children. Be very clear where and with whom they are allowed to go.
  • Make sure your children's school(s) has information regarding who can or cannot pick up your children.
  • Make sure River House, Inc. staff have an accurate description of your abuser(s).

What To Do If You Are Sexually Assaulted

  1. Get to a safe place.
  2. Do NOT shower, bathe, douche, brush your teeth, change or destroy your clothing or straighten up the area where the assault occurred. Doing any of these may destroy evidence.
  3. Contact someone you trust.
  4. Call a sexual violence program such as River House for support and information or call the police department where the assault occurred.
  5. See a doctor to be treated for injuries, tested and treated for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and to collect and document medical evidence in case you decide to prosecute. If you report the crime within 48 hours you may be eligible for victims compensation to cover the cost of medical treatment.
  6. Don't blame yourself. Many survivors of sexual assault think the attack was their fault. But sexual assault is never the victim's fault. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
    • Sexual assault is a crime of violence and control. It is not an impulsive act of passion, but an act of violence against another human being.
    • Most sexual assaults are planned, and are not spontaneous acts. Females and males of all ages, races, socioeconomic groups, neighborhoods, and life styles can become victims.
    • No one asks to be sexually assaulted. Assailants choose as victims those they see as vulnerable.
    • Most often, sexual assault is committed in the victim's own home by someone the victim knows: a relative, friend, date, neighbor or other acquaintance.
    • Sexual assault is a punishable crime. In Michigan, the legal term for this type of crime is Criminal Sexual Conduct.