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TIPS ON AVOIDING RAPE - FROM A SERIAL RAPIST

In the depths of dreams on a hot summer night, Danielle struggled to free herself from the haze of sleep. What she saw when she finally awoke was worse than any nightmare.

Straddling her thin frame was a man wearing a black mask, and he was holding a knife in one hand. She started to reach for the gun she kept next to her bed, but the man told her not to try it.He raped her. On that August night, Danielle did the only thing she could think of - she survived.

Danielle's attacker was one of Utah's more notorious rapists, dubbed by the media and police as "the Capitol Hill Rapist." Now serving at least 15 years in prison for raping eight women in 1986 and 1987, he wants women to know how to avoid guys like him.

Bob, who asked that his last name not be used, said a rapist can be anyone, even a nice, clean-shaven, guy-next-door type. Rapists have wives, girlfriends and children. Most of them have nice jobs and, by appearances alone, nice lives.

"That's what's so sickening about me," he said. "I'm a nice guy. I worked at Hill (Air Force Base). I kept up with the Joneses. I bought my wife nice clothes, nice cars."

Somewhere inside men like Bob there's something different, something terrifying. Understanding it, even just a little, may protect women from being attacked.

What made Bob different? "My secrets. Everything from pornography and drugs to stalking a neighborhood for burglary and rape."

His advice is surprisingly simple. "Be aware. Be aware of everything that goes on around you."

When you get out of your car, look around, notice who's around and what they're wearing, he said. Lock your car, your house, including your windows, and make smart decisions.

"Say you meet a guy at a bar, and you decide to get into his car to go to his house for a drink," he said. "Is that a smart move? Is that being aware?"

That would seem obviously dangerous to some, but what about inviting a door-to-door salesmen into the home, accepting a ride from a man when a car breaks down, or approaching the car of a man asking directions?

"If you're going out with a guy, know who he is, know where he lives. . . . Blind dates? That's a little foolish in today's society," he said. "A lot of rapists are opportunists."

He cautions women about living on ground-floor apartments and admonishes them to "trust their instincts." If they feel something's amiss, it probably is, he said.

Bob's advice is very similar to the advice offered by the Salt Lake County sheriff's office, which offers free classes called "Lady Beware."

The classes offer women tips on avoiding an attack and what to do if they are attacked.

There are different kinds of rapists. Some rape for control, some for power and reassurance and some just to inflict pain. Fighting will make some rapist flee, some excited and some kill.

Lady Beware offers clues to decide which type a woman might be dealing with and what she might do.

But both the sheriff's office and Bob warn there are no "rights and wrongs" and no way to tell for sure if one's defense should be fighting or crying.

One thing most rapists have in common, Bob said, is that they hate to make eye contact with their victims.

"The goal is not to humanize the people," he said. "If a rapist can do that, then you're just like a picture I saw in a magazine."

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Be on the lookout

Some advice on how to avoid rape from a rapist and police:

- Always, always, always pay attention to what and who's around you. Don't stare but be aware.

- Make eye contact with people. Appear confident and ready to defend yourself.

- Leave yourself a way out of potentially bad situations.

- Formulate a plan in the event you're ever attacked. It can happen to you.

- Let people know where you're going and when you'll be back.

- Educate yourself. Learn self-defense techniques, learn where trouble spots might be and learn what the local laws are.

- Beware of everyone, even those bearing gifts. Always ask for identification.

- Avoid set routines that a stalker could easily identify and use to his advantage.

- Know who you date, and then continue to be careful.

- Trust your feelings. When in doubt, call the police.