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Police warn female commuters to be wary of would-be rapists
The Police Service is advising members of the travelling public, commuting late at night or during the wee hours of the morning, to exercise caution in wake of recent reports of women having to jump out of moving vehicles to escape being sexually assaulted. Yesterday, Police Service public Information officer ASP Joanne Archie said while they have not seen an increase in reported rapes or sexual offences, they have received several reports of women escaping their would-be attackers.
Speaking at the daily media briefing at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, Archie said: “We have not seen an increase, but reports are being made where women had cause to jump out of moving vehicles having been driven to isolated locations or taken off-route from their destinations. We want to caution women, awareness is your first line of defence.”
Urging female commuters to “listen to your intuition,” Archie said personal awareness played an integral role in crime prevention. She appealed to people to avoid commuting late at night where possible, and “if you have to, before entering a vehicle, see who the occupants are and if you have an intuitive feeling that something is wrong or suspicious, react immediately and take action to reduce your risk of becoming a victim.”
Suggesting other ways in which people could protect themselves, Archie advised travellers to text the number of the taxi or private car they enter to a relative or friend. “If you become worried about your safety, ask the driver to stop and get out of the car, preferably in a busy area. If you are confronted and you cannot immediately escape, you may want to consider complying until you can escape,” she said.
To people who must travel at night, Archie urged them to avoid wearing a lot of jewelry and carrying large amounts of cash on their person. “When faced with someone who demands your valuables, give it to them without resistance. No possession, however valuable, is worth risking your life over.” Addressing the issue of date rape, Archie urged women to carry out proper inquiries before proceeding on a blind date, and to always meet first-time dates at public places.
“Always let someone know where you are going and who you are going out with, and what your itinerary is. If on a date, please do not leave the safety of a social event or setting with someone you have just met or do not know well. Also, open your drinks yourself,” Archie said.
On the topic of gang rape, Archie advised young men not to be coerced by their peers to engage in any sexual act with someone who may be intoxicated—either under the influence of drink or drug—since that person will be unable to give consent and the perpetrator will be criminally liable.
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