Preventing sexual assault: Experts off tips to help keep potential victims out of harm's way
"Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing." That's the advice of Baumholder and Wiesbaden Sexual Assault Prevention and Response coordinators.

WIESBADEN, Germany - "Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing."
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That's the advice of Baumholder and Wiesbaden Sexual Assault Prevention and Response coordinators.
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"Predators tend to be regular old Captain Americas ... remember Ted Bundy ...," said Lois Farmer, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden SARC, saying that offenders generally are in seemingly committed relationships appearing to have regular access to sex, they have good social skills and tend to be good at their profession. "Their alibi is their reputation. They are always working their alibi."
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Because habitual sexual offenders work hard to blend in, the victim advocate coordinator warns that one should be aware of likely ploys used to lure victims.
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"Common ploys used are the rescuer ... plying with alcohol ... isolation ... or too much too soon," said Farmer, adding that victims usually are susceptible to perversions of kind actions used to play on a person's emotions to draw them away to isolated places where they carry out the crime. "Ted Bundy used a sling and cane to appear vulnerable. ... He would then use his perceived disability to gain sympathy and ask his potential victims to assist him and then push them into the trunk of his car."
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A person may recognize "the rescuer" ploy by a person providing unsolicited reassurance such as with someone at a bar or nightclub. "They would say something like, 'I'm afraid you may have had too much to drink. I will make sure you get home safely,'" said Farmer.
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In the ploy to ply someone with alcohol, "the offender would just keep getting the victim drunker," she said, recommending that one set drinking limits and travel with a buddy. When a would-be assailant uses the isolation tactic, major effort is put into getting the victim alone.
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"They make sure there are no witnesses," said Farmer, adding that the assailant might play on the victim's sensibilities using guilt as a tool to convince the victim to give in. "They might say, 'I have something for you. I was working on it all day. ... Come on, it will only take a little while. You know how it is when someone has done something nice for you ... naturally, you don't want to seem insensitive or like a jerk for refusing their invitation."
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A person should be careful of relationships that go faster than normal. "You've just met someone and they're referring to you as 'us' and 'we,' and they are trying to make you more familiar to them than you are," said Farmer advising that one keep control over personal space as some predators test victims by touching to determine how much one would resist. If this happens and it doesn't feel right, one should believe their instincts. "Ninety percent of communication is nonverbal, and many times those ill intentions are there ... Trust that feeling and go with it."
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Additionally, Farmer warns that the imposters also seek out victims who have flawed character profiles or those who have reputations that traditionally make them less credible.
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"The predator's perception is something such as, 'ah she's a slut anyway ... no one's going to believe you. ... I'll just say we had an affair,'" said Farmer giving examples of what offenders may say to discourage victims from reporting.
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According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, one in six women and one in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, but only 60 percent are reported. And of that, 73 percent of rape victims know their assailants, but only 6 percent of rapists will ever serve jail time.
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Although the conviction statistics may discourage victims from reporting, advocates place a strong emphasis on unrestricted reporting to increase the chances of prosecution of perpetrators.
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A,A "People who do this don't do this just once," said Farmer. Sometimes you're shocked to see that others will come forward. Then it's no longer he said, she said; then it becomes they said."
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Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16