How to Handle Seeing Your Rapist in Public

Nothing can take away the pain and rage you may feel when you see your rapist in public. Despite all the recovery you've done and all the positive steps you've taken, nothing can ever truly prepare you for this horrifying moment. This article will help you to manage your emotions.


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    Stay calm. Remember that you are in public and that you are not by yourself. They can't hurt you. Look straight ahead and keep walking. You are strong.
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    Avoid a confrontation. Telling them off, while tempting (and certainly deserved), is unlikely to do any good. At best, you'll make a public scene, and at worst, your rapist will retaliate now or later.
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    Leave if you need to. You don't have to stay in the presence of this horrible person. If you are with other people, excuse yourself and go. You don't have to explain yourself. Choose a place that is away but still public (in case your rapist follows).
    • "I'm going to use the bathroom."
    • "I need some air."
    • "Excuse me."
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    Take some deep breaths. You may feel very shaky and panicky. This is normal. Focus on inhaling deeply and feeling your stomach rise and fall in tandem with your breath. Try practicing relaxation techniques such as...
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    Connect with someone you care about. If you have a trusted friend or family member with you, explain to them what just happened. If not, take out your phone and call them. Hearing the sound of their voice may help you feel less panicked.
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    Figure out what to do next. Can you leave the scene completely, or do you want to stick it out because you were in the middle of something important? Will there be someone present to support you? How will you leave safely?
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    If your rapist follows you, make a scene. Cry loudly and profusely—let out all the tears you've been holding back. Point to or recoil from your rapist to make it clear who is upsetting you. Don't censor your reactions. This will alert other people that your rapist is scaring you, and they will come to your aid. The rapist will be forced to back off.
    • Screaming "Stay away from me!" "Leave me alone!" or "Don't hurt me!" can make it very clear to passersby what's going on.
    • This is very unlikely to happen. Your rapist's presence was probably a coincidence, and they were most likely going about their business as usual.
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    Notify security or the police. They can arrest your rapist, and hopefully put them behind bars. This can take a load off your mind, and you can walk around without needing to ever see them again.


  • If your rapist follows your car, drive to the nearest police station and walk right in. Inform the police about what's happening.

Article Info

Categories: Stress Anxiety and Crisis Management | Sexual Assault and Rape