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Knowing how to avoid becoming a victim, along with what to do if you are faced with the situation, is something every woman needs to know.

Someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. every 2.5 minutes, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). And close to one in six women is raped at some point in her life.   Anyone can become a victim of sexual assault or rape, but girls in their teens are particularly at risk -- with the age of 14 marking the peak risk age, according to the FBI.   Experts advise always staying in well-lit areas and being aware of your surroundings to discourage potential attackers.   Here are some other ways you can avoid becoming a victim:

•  Don't leave your beverage unattended at a bar or party.

•  Don't go to an isolated area with someone you don't know or trust.

•  When walking outside, walk facing traffic so a car cannot approach you unnoticed from behind.

•  Avoid areas that are filled with bushes, trees or shadows. Stay out in the open, in well-lit, busy areas.

•  Keep your car doors locked and your windows rolled up when after dark.

•  When you approach your car in a parking lot, keep your keys in your hand, check to be sure no one is hiding inside the car, and then lock the doors as soon as you get in.

•  Some rapists have impersonated police officers pulling over vehicles. If you are pulled over by an unmarked car at night while you're alone, only pull over in a well-lit area where other people are present. A real police officer will understand your concern.

•  Avoid stairwells and rarely used hallways.

•  When on an elevator, stand near the control panel so you can push the alarm button in an emergency.

•  If it is after dark, ask a security guard or colleague to walk with you to your car/ public transportation.

No matter how cautious you are, a rape or sexual assault can still happen. Again, a woman who is faced with this crisis is the only one who can decide what is the best action to take, but the following strategies may be effective.

If you are attacked, yell, scream, hit and kick, and otherwise do anything you can to get away. Doing so may startle the attacker and may cause him to loosen his grip so you can run away.

If the rape still happens, it is important to report it and make certain not to destroy any of the evidence. Once you are in a safe place, call a friend, family member or spouse for support.   Then, do not bathe, brush your teeth or wash in any way. This could remove evidence that's needed to find the attacker.   Seek medical attention immediately.   Call the police to report the crime. You may wish to write down details of the attacker's appearance and what took place during the attack so you don't forget.

Remember that the crime was not your fault.   Talk to a counselor, rape crisis center or social services agency in your area. Emotions from this type of crisis can remain for months or many years; so don't hesitate to seek help even if a lot of time has passed since the crime.   RAINN operates a National Sexual Assault Hotline that can be called 24 hours a day at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

For more information on rape prevention and dealing with the aftermath, please check out this link and forward it to all your friends.