A practical guide for empowering yourself involving prevention, self defense and help!

Be Aware provides valuable information, which will help to empower victims or potential victims of rape, bullying, domestic violence and child abuse.

This book was written because the authors have worked with people, adolescents in the school environment and outside it, as well as adults, for over twenty years.

Be Aware is about awareness, response, coping with violent attack and self esteem. Importantly, the book is a guide for protective prevention from anti social behaviour.


In Store Price: $AU17.95
Online Price:   $AU16.95

ISBN: 1-9208-8453X
Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages: 85
Genre: Non Fiction/Self Help 

Includes illustrations - suitable for children and adults of all ages.



Author: Ros McCarthy and Bill Wakefield
Imprint: Zeus
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2004
Language: English



The authors wish to acknowledge Dianna McLeod (from The Rape Crisis Centre), Betty Taylor (from The Women’s Crisis Centre), for sharing their expertise in this area.

We would also like to thank Professor D.W. Vickers for his generous help and expertise with the photography; and, Alana Hampton for her stunning artwork.

The Philosophy and Rationale of Authors,

Ros McCarthy and Bill Wakefield 

It is the philosophy of the authors that it is important to break the silence our culture of violence creates in its victims.  Young people need to experience life and its demands so they can learn from their experiences to cope better.  This enhances their self-esteem.  They need to do this in a nurturing environment so they may learn love and respect for themselves whether they succeed or fail.  They need to be taught they have a right to be safe, that humiliation from abuse is not acceptable.  They must learn to break the silence and get help. 

This book aims to enhance people's awareness of ‘at risk’ situations, to build their coping-skills of problem solving and communication, as well as giving them physical skills to offset violent attacks and the knowledge of how and where to go for help.

This book was written because the authors have worked with people - adolescents in the school environment and outside it and adults - for over twenty years.  We have come to realise that people have naive perceptions about violence and ‘at risk’ situations.  It is easy to pretend, "It won't happen to me!"  Most people prefer to think this way.

The transformation of students, adolescents and adults (including the elderly) to feeling they could not possibly defend themselves, to confident people empowered to act, has excited us and amazed them! 

The concern for increasing violence in society is very evident from the fact that for the first time in Australia, a Prime Minister has urged people, particularly women to be more aware and to help to eradicate violence. Governments are authorising messages to “expect respect” and not accept violence but to do something about it! 

The price of safety is heightened awareness and eternal vigilance.  It's OK to have problems.  All humans do!  Why not avoid the ones you can?  This book is a guide for protective prevention from anti-social behaviour.  We all hear street kids are street wise because they have learnt through the school of hard knocks and failure.  Awareness and education can produce the same result without the pain of being a victim.  If you want to be aware, feel more secure, read on!  This book is essentially about: 



            *Coping with violent attacks

            *Self- esteem



           CHAPTER 1  


Rape - It Won’t Happen To Me!



Don’t be deceived!

 Check out the facts!

Think proactively!

Be prepared!


Read the table and debunk the myths so you can be forward thinking. Practise problem solving and assertiveness to minimize your chance of being in an, ‘at risk’ situation.’ 





It only happens to teenage girls.



It happens to anyone from 2 to 80 years plus.


Most rapists have a weapon.



Less than 2% of rapes occur with a weapon.


Sexual assault is a sexual act.



Sexual attack is an act of violence.


Only bad girls get raped.




All girls – good and bad – get raped, as do boys and adults.



People should give sexual favours for outings.



All people have the right of choice with no obligation.



People who are drunk or stoned are not responsible for their violent acts.



The power of choice was theirs.




Women secretly want to be raped.



The victim suffers violent abuse to body and violation of her psyche.  No one wants this – secretly or otherwise.



Having sex with your wife/friend without consent is a man’s right.



Forcing sex on anyone is rape.  This happens in 7-12% of marriages.


A woman who does not yell or resist is asking for it.




Many victims do not struggle or yell. They are paralysed by fear. This is not consent.



An interview with Di McLeod from the Gold Coast Sexual Support Service revealed Australians have a higher rate of sexual assault than thirteen nations in the world per head of population.  Statistics show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 3 men will be assaulted in their lifetime whilst only 1 in 10 rapes are reported. 


Queensland (according to figures from the Australian Institute of Criminology) had 800 more sexual assaults in 1988 than NSW, and 1200 more than Victoria.  Di reported, an international survey in 1988 showed 7.3% of Australia women reported sexual assault compared with 4.5% in the U.S.A. and 4% in Canada.  Figures in 2003 will only have escalated not declined.


Out of the 112 victims counselled by the Centre's staff between July 31 1990 and May 21 1991, 49 reported being raped, 40 said they were victims of incest, 15 were multiple assault victims; most had been attacked by a family member in their own home.


How are victims chosen?  


To avoid being a victim you need to know how a victim is chosen.  Lifers (convicts) in the U.S.A. were shown independently the same photos and asked to select a victim.  Significantly, they all chose the same victims…  people who looked timid, reserved and low in self-esteem.


Statistics also indicate pensioners and unemployed people are in a high-risk group.  This is because many of them do not appear confident, assertive or in charge of their lives - because old age makes them physically and mentally less able to function as effectively as they would like, while unemployed people are understandably low in self-esteem.

It is very important to present yourself positively at all times.  If you feel down, try not to show it.  Put on a cheerful face and walk jauntily.


How do you avoid potentially ‘at risk’ situations - in your own home or elsewhere? 


You need to listen to your ALARM BELLS.  Many people tend not to hear their first warning signal.  They dismiss it thinking ‘I'm being silly’ or ‘I'm imagining things.’  Often it is only on the third or fourth warning signal that a person thinks of possible evasive action.  Often this is too late. 


What are your warning signals?  


Think of a time when you were really scared.  What was your first body sign: sweaty palms, a pounding heart, difficulty breathing?  Hone in on your body signals and when you experience one or more of these signs again, ask yourself, ‘What is wrong?’


Alarm bells have sounded, what do you do next? 


When you recognize your warning signals, acknowledge you are not feeling safe.  Ask yourself, ‘How can I remove myself from this situation?’  Don't panic!  Take some deep breaths, then problem solve your situation and act on your outcomes as quickly as possible.


Realize nothing is so bad you can't tell someone.



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