DO RAPIST PREY ON A CERTAIN TYPE OF FEMALE? I know rape isn't an easy topic to think about much less talk about but I fe

Is every woman at risk?

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I know rape isn't an easy topic to think about, much less talk about but I feel compelled to tell people, especially women, what I have learned about the devastating crime of rape - from a convicted serial rapist serving a life sentence with the possibility for parole. I'm a writer. An author of five books about true, real life experiences in the drug plagued city of Baltimore. My books are real. My books are raw. In my latest book, "Until I Get Caught - The True Story Of A Serial Rapist In Baltimore," I stepped into the mind and world of serial rapist Reginald Williams. During the 2005 Christmas holiday season, Reginald terrorized the women of Baltimore City by going on a 3 week rape rampage. Raping up to 2 women a day at the height of his career, his brutal sexual spree was brought to a screeching halt when cops finally put a bullet in his leg just minutes after raping another woman.

What I learned from Reginald is that rape has absolutely no discrimination. Just the fact alone that you're a female puts you at risk. I know women - including myself - hear this warning all the time and think 'yeah, whatever, I'm good, it ain't gonna happen to me'. But how many of you know someone who has already been raped? I know at least 3 women myself. Check out these very real statistics. 1 in 6 women has already been a victim of rape. 1 in 6. Did you know that an American woman is 10 times more likely to be raped than to die in a car accident? Every single female is at risk regardless of age, race, class, educational status or what you look like. Victims ages ranged from a few months old to 100 years old but statistics show that the ages between 12 and 34 are the highest risk years for a woman to be sexually assaulted. Considering all this, it's pretty much safe to say that the crime of rape is out here, alive and well, whether we want to accept or acknowledge it or not. Instead of having the attitude that I'll never be raped, women need to arm themselves with as much information as possible.

I learned that with 75% of all rapes being premeditated, the number one way to avoid being raped is to be fully aware of your surroundings at all times. Even during the day time, even when you're home, out in public or with other people. The most vulnerable target is a woman by herself, especially at night and even more so if she's impaired by alcohol or drugs. In parking lots or parking garages avoid parking next to vans. Park under the lights since parking lots are a hot area for sexual assaults. Be suspicious of "nice" men asking for help. Always carry a working cell phone. If you break down on the road, call a reliable person for help. Sad to say but don't accept help from strangers, especially at night. How many of you all carry mace or have taken courses in self defense? If you don't have at least one of these precautions, it's highly recommended. Don't allow yourself to get within an arms length of a stranger. Never, ever turn your back on a stranger. Dogs are one of the best deterrents and are excellent for your home security. Always walk like you mean business. Don't walk with your head down or act like you're scared, timid, unsure of yourself or vulnerable in any way. Look up, stay alert, LISTEN TO YOUR GUT FEELING about certain situations because when certain situations don't feel right, 9 times out of 10, they aren't.

Still not convinced you could be raped? Okay. Consider this. Ladies, part of it is our own fault because usually we don't even report the sexual assault. According to the American Medical Association rape is considered the most under reported crime - with prison rape being the least reported form of rape. Maybe this is because the majority of rapes are committed by men we already know and the whole rape process and investigation ordeal depends mostly on the victim not only enduring the gruesome rape kit but also reliving the whole traumatic experience over and over in detail in court. Maybe this is why only 16% of all rapes are ever reported to the police at all. 16%. Because most rapists are eventually released, 46% of all sexual offenders who are released from prison were arrested within 3 years for the same type of crime again anyway.

Rape is a crime that must be acknowledged, talked about, and prevented. It's a crime that isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Ladies, remember knowledge is power so arm yourself with empowering, pertinent information that can save your life.

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