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What Affects Your Risk of Becoming a Victim?

Sexual abuse or assault can happen to anyone. The act of violence may come from a stranger, an acquaintance, or a close friend or family member. Many victims of abuse or assault know their attacker.

Abusive situations you cannot control

You can't control whether the abuser:

  • Uses alcohol or drugs.
  • Engages in high-risk sexual behavior.
  • Has a history of violent behavior.
  • Was abused as a child.
  • Has a medical or mental health problem, such as depression or personality disorder.

Unsafe situations you may be able to avoid

You may find yourself in an unsafe situation if you:

  • Use alcohol or drugs.
  • Date many people at one time.
  • Accept any violent behavior in the dating relationship. There is no excuse for abuse.
  • Ignore feelings of discomfort or warning signs that someone is treating you badly.
  • Think your partner holds the power in a relationship.
  • Are alone in an unfamiliar environment
  • Depend on your dating partner for transportation.
  • Feel that your dating partner is in control because he or she asked you out and paid for the date.
  • Are part of a group that has a higher risk for sexual assault, such as:
    • Homeless people.
    • Sex workers.
    • People who abuse substances.
    • Teens.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedOctober 14, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 14, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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