A Must Have Conversation Before Your Girl Heads Back to School

“How I wish someone had shared with me what I’m about to share with you. If they had, perhaps the events of June 7, 1987 would have ended very differently.”


Wendy.BioPic (1)

I’ve asked my friend and fellow Proverbs 31 Ministries team member Wendy Blight to share today her journey of healing from sexual assault…from victim to victor! To read the post, click here. For a free chapter from her book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, sharing her story, click here.

Here’s Wendy:

“A few years ago, Oprah Radio invited me to Chicago to share my story and the facts, statistics and practical lessons I learned from my experience. I’m sharing that same information with you today. I write this NOT to instill fear but to inform and educate. I invite you to read through to the end…inform and educate yourself… and share it with your friends.

I want to share with you…

  • The facts
  • The effects
  • Ways to prevent becoming a victim
  • What to do if it happens to you

The Facts

  • Did you know that 1 out of 4 college women are sexually assaulted every year?
  • Did you know that 1 out of 6 women some time during their lifetime will be the victim of sexual assault?
  • Did you know that approximately 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported every year? And 97 percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail.

The Effects

Victims of sexual assault are:

  • 3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
  • 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
  • 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
  • 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

(Statistics taken from RAINN )

For help, contact 1-800-656-HOPE

Ways to Prevent Becoming a Victim

Monday I shared spiritual lessons I’ve learned through my journey of healing. But I have also gained practical wisdom and want to pass it on to you to keep you S.A.F.E and protect you and those you love from being a victim.

Sexual assault Is A Crime Of Opportunity!!! What do I mean by that? Rarely is a woman assaulted by a stalker. A perpetrator selects his victim because, by her unintentional actions, she has made herself an easy target. By following a few simple steps, you can avoid being an easy target. I learned some of these first hand. Please share them with all the women you know!

S – Avoid Compromising Situations

When you go out….

  • never leave your drink unattended (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
  • never accept a drink from a stranger and accept drinks only when you see the bartender pour it and hand it directly to you
  • never leave the keys to your home with anyone (valet, service station, car wash)
  • never be alone with someone you do not know
  • always be sure a friend or family member knows who you are with and where you are going

A – Be Aware of Your Surroundings

  • know where you are at all times
  • know what is going on around you
  • know who is around you
  • never have conversations within range of a stranger that reveal you will be home alone, closing a business alone, traveling alone, etc.

F – Go With Your Feelings

  • if your intuition tells you something is not right, pay attention and respond (chills down your spine, hair stands on end)
  • flee if you feel uneasy or uncomfortable
  • call 911 if you sense danger
  • never ignore your feelings because they may save your life

E – Don’t Be An Easy Target

  • secure your home and car by locking your doors and windows at ALL times 
  • never walk alone at night ANYWHERE
  • never open your door to a stranger and ALWAYS ask for identification when expecting workmen

Some of these sound simple and obvious. But I violated three of these prevention steps. I had a conversation outside at the pool which unintentionally announced to everyone around me that I would be home alone that afternoon. We left our front door unlocked, which allowed the rapist easy access. I had a “strange” sensation when I walked in the apartment and saw our front door locked because we usually left it unlocked for each other. But I ignored that “feeling” and walked up the stairs right into the arms of an armed, masked man.

THE KEY TO AVOID BEING  A VICTIM IS AWARENESS. Please read these, learn them, and follow them! Pass them on to your friends. You may very well save a life!

What to Do If It Happens to You

  • Immediately call 911 no matter what your attacker threatens
  • Do not change your clothes
  • Do not shower
  • Do not move or remove any item from the location of the attack
  • Write down anything you can remember immediately (race, age, height, weight, hair color, hair length, eye color, distinguishing marks, facial hair, clothes, weapon, odors
  • Go to the emergency room

This is a message I’ve shared on many college campuses and radio and television interviews. I invite you to share what you have learned today with those in your sphere of influence…girls and women you care about…it could save a life! If you do, please leave a comment and let me know who you shared it with and why.”

Thank you so much for sharing, Wendy! We so appreciate you and your vulnerability to share your story!


Friends, sexual assault is way too common place in our culture. It is not a matter of a girl saying “no”. It is a matter of being respected and valued as a human. “Yes” means “yes” and nothing short of that! These are conversations we need to …. no let me be stronger. We must have these conversations with our daughters and friends of our daughters. We need to be talking about talking about sexual assault among us, and as women begin to stand up and say without consent there is no room for sexual activity.

We can help our daughters to be strong in situations where they do have the ability to communicate with those guys they are interacting with. With confidence, they can draw boundaries and stand by them. Then, in situations where they have been abused and violated without consent, let us bravely step up and through the power of the Holy Spirit, dismantle shame. Reach out with love and compassion and begin the healing work Jesus brings, just like He has done in the life of Wendy.

We’re doing  a giveaway today of Wendy’s book Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner. We’ll choose from one of the comments shared here to win a copy. Just share below who you need to share this message of safety with. If you are really busy just say, “I’m in!” 

I’ll announce the winner on Monday with Monday with Madi.



  1. Lynn Cowell says:

    Thank you for sharing, Faith!

  2. Jadeana Colby says:

    I am really thankful that you shared your story. I was sexually abused as a child, well into my teens by a member of my family. I never told anyone about it and it lead to a life time of drugs and alcohol abuse. I fixated on men who were abusive and also addicts. 2 years ago I started a faith-based recovery program. For the first 6 months I ran amuck getting high and partying everyday with others in the group. Then one day God smacked me upside my head and told me it was time for me to change. I confronted my abuser and forgave him, which was really hard to do. I’ve been clean for a year and a half now and I speak and help fellow addicts. It’s amazing how many of them suffer from the same background as I did, sexual abuse. So, kudoes to telling your story and taking a stand. My heart goes out to you. God bless you.

    1. Wow! I am praising God fro your amazing obedience to not only listen for God to speak into your life but then to OBEY what you heard. Blessings follow obedience, sweet friend. I pray He continues to enable you through the power of His Holy Spirit to KNOW your identity in Him and WALK in the beautiful calling He has given you!! May He bless the work of your hands and your heart as you serve Him.



    2. Lynn Cowell says:

      You are doing it, Jadeana! Partnering with God EVERY DAY! YOU are beautiful, my friend!

  3. I work at the university. I will be sure to share with my colleagues this portion on being safe, and not becoming a victim. How timely with the fall term starting in just over a week. Thank you so much.

    1. Dottie, I love that you will share it at the school. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your words could save a life!! That is our heart…. for all young women to enter college educated!!!



  4. There is hope, Faith in Christ to heal. It is one step at a time. Don’t try to run, walk. Sometimes it will seem like you are not progressing because it hurts. That hurt is part of the healing process. The healing balm of Gilead will soothe your heart, mind, and thoughts. Be patient with yourself. God is loving on you as you walk through this. Praying for His peace to be embraced by you.

  5. I shared with the moms of entering college, teens and Tweens in our family ministry group at church. Resources like this enable parents to start those hard but necessary discussions so we equip our kids to face the world. As “crooked and depraved” the generations grow toward, we are still called to “shine like stars”. Thank you for sharing with us how to keep our shining stars in our life “S.A.F.E”.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:


      I didn’t even want to have this conversation with my girls. For the dumbest reason, I was afraid they would think I was being the “paranoid” mom. Wendy’s bravery to share her story opened the door and my girls’ ears too!

    2. Nancy, thank you for being courageous enough to equip parents to open dialogue with their kids on this topic! I know that you sharing this post will protect and prevent many young women from putting themselves in a vulnerable position!


  6. I encourage my graduating girls decorate custom koozies so that they which drink is theirs (even if it’s just soda), never let someone hold their drink for them, and to dump their drink if they put it down no matter how full it is. It’s better to dump it out than risk it being spiked with more than just alcohol.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Wow is that wise, Heather! Thank you so much for sharing that tip!

    2. Way to go Heather!!! What a blessing for your girls to have you on their side.


  7. Faith, it means so much to know that God is using this beyond our original intent. I pray it will do as you pray in the lives of those who love you and who you love and are walking alongside you in your healing!

    And I love that God gave you the name “Faith” so that you will be reminded each and every day that your God is faithful and will heal you of all your brokenness and pain!!



  8. Thank you, Dede. It is certainly not the ministry I would have chosen. But God has more than honored His Word in Romans 8:28 in my life!! I would not trade this ministry for anything now!! Sweet words of encouragement from women like you truly bless me. 🙂



  9. Lisa Taylor says:

    Thank you for sharing, I am sure it was hard to tell all of this. I was sexually abused as a child, by someone that was trusted, it hasn’t been easy. I need to share this with a young lady that is close to me as she went off to college today, thanks for posting this now so I would think to do this…..

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Lisa – on the way to vacation recently, I read a billboard that said 1 out of every 4 girls is abused by someone they know intimately. Girls need to know! Thanks for sharing!

      1. Lisa Taylor says:

        Yes ma’am they do need to know…and if we don’t share they will never know …

    2. Praying now for your conversation, Lisa. Thank you for being courageous enough to open the dialogue. I pray that many more will follow your example!



      1. Lisa Taylor says:

        Thank you Wendy, I think I will get her your book to read 🙂 Can’t give her mine, too much hi-lited lol

  10. I wish I had had something like this to share with my daughter when she was a young teen. Two years ago she was sexually assaulted by her boss. I’ll share the statistics in the blog with her so she’ll know that the struggles she has today are normal responses to what she has experienced. I encourage every mom who reads thus to share it with her daughters, nieces, granddaughters, etc.

    1. Lynn, I’m so thankful you will bring some hope into her tragic situation. Sometimes as victims we do feel all alone, like there must be something wrong with us because we can’t just “get over it!” But it takes time and it takes JESUS to bring full and complete healing. And IN HIM it is possible!! Your girl is so blessed to have you as her mom to carry her through this difficult trial.



  11. Kim Stewart says:

    Wow, Lynn & Wendy, thank you for sharing these powerful words of advice. I’m a mom to teen boys but thought it was great info for them to read too to see what girls go through. will share it with my girlfriends who have girls heading back to school especially! I also shared on Twitter. Thank you for always encouraging us women!!!!

  12. Melissa Chandler says:

    I will be sharing this with my daughter as she is entering high school this fall. I have already said a number of these things but too much information on this subject is never a bad thing.

  13. Teresa Rosendale says:

    I’ve shared this on Facebook, e-mails, and so on. I’ve tried to teach these principals my entire life to any young woman I have had any type of relationship with. I actually learned them from both my father and my mother (he was a police officer in the military and later a security guard). I share this again with my daughter and her friends as they begin their final year in high school and share it with some of the middle school girls I work with when I see them posting such information on media sites about their location, phone number, etc.

  14. My oldest daughter is going off to college this weekend. This is a difficult topic to discuss but I will have this conversation with her before she goes. I will also print out the ways to keep herself SAFE that you shared – thank you so much!!

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your story and the tips to help keep others safe. I have a daughter leaving for college tomorrow. I will definitely be sharing this with her, her friends, and their teen sisters.
    (I believe the statistics may be even higher than those listed based on the stories of women I know personally; unfortunately, the world our girls face today feels so much worse!)

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      I thought the same, Debbie. I think of so many of the acquaintances of my kids who never have told any one in authority what happened to them.

  16. Stephanie says:

    I work on a college campus and so many young women move through their days blissfully unaware. Have the hard conversation and the few minutes of discomfort now to keep them SAFE and get their proximity senses working. I have the local police rep come in and do a brief training with my young women’s group – not to scare them, but to make sure that they know they local statistics off campus and to hear it from someone they see as a “professional”. It helps the message hit home.

  17. Michelle Nettles says:

    Thank you SOOO much for sharing this!! I have a daughter in college and I will definitely be sharing this info with her. I have talked to her about a few of these but not all of them (bc I have not had experience to know these things). I am also sharing this with friends that have girls growing up and on their own more often.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Thank you, Michelle!

  18. Malenga Suzanne-Jeanne says:

    I will share this with my 2 daughters 1 is in a boarding school and the other one will join her school. They are younger than the acceptable ages for their grades and they are still naïve. I was sexually abused and I fear it might happen to them. I didn’t know all the above and became a victim not once. Thank you for this information.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      I am so grateful to Wendy for sharing this with all of us today! Her vulnerability can empower us all!

  19. I could really use this book! I was sexually abused by my first husband and now I help sex trafficking victims. This would be an awesome guide for me to have for support!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      It sure would, Julie!

  20. Catina Roberts says:

    I have a daughter that’s going away to college, I never considered having “the talk” with her, but I definitely will now. THANK YOU!!!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      So very glad, Catina!

  21. I am just coming across this post while exploring the proverbs 31 website, looking for “something.” My 15 yr old daughter was sexually assaulted back in April. It was an acquaintance rape by an 18yr old boy. She has had some severe lows over the past month and sometimes I just don’t know what to do to help her. I think I will order this book and I’m also looking at other resources on this site as well. Looking forward to reading your story. I believe she has it in her to move from victim to helper one day!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Marie, “I’m sorry” isn’t words enough to express my heart for you. Wendy’s story is a beautiful story and testimony of what God can do with His mighty power!

    2. Lynn Cowell says:

      Marie – I am so very, very sorry. My girls have shared with me how common date rape or acquaintance rape is. The sad thing is how quickly our culture passes it off. God has deep healing to do to restore her. The beautiful and hopeful thing is that He can!

  22. I plan to share this with my young teenage daughter. I don’t think it is ever too early to instill safety reminders in those that we love.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Yes, Leigh! I was just having this conversation with my youngest yesterday. I asked her if I did talk to her about sexual safety as a child. I couldn’t remember.

    2. I agree, Leigh.They tuck the words and truths we share in their hearts and the Lord will give them recall when they need it.



  23. Marlene Soares Long says:

    Im in. Thank u.

  24. I’m sharing this with my daughters 13 and 18. My 18 year old is leaving for college in a few weeks. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Niecy, thank you for sharing with both of your girls. I am praying right now for your daughter to have a great transition and for the Lord to bring some godly, fun friends into her life. And praying for your mama’s heart having been there a few years ago. 🙂



  25. Such good truth. Praying for all those going to college again this fall or just starting out. All women need to be aware of our surroundings. Thank you for your bravery in sharing.

    1. Mona, thank you for your kind words. Early on it was harder to share. But as I have been sharing through the years, God has blessed me with stories where this message has truly made a difference in young women’s lives and changed their behavior. And that is my prayer as I speak and write this message.



  26. Cindy Denney says:

    I have two daughters and several nieces I will be sharing this with.

  27. Dori Sheese says:

    I’m in! Thanks for the devotion today!

  28. I ‘m sharing with my two sons as they need this as well. Thanks.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      You are so very right, Millie! Thank you so much for pointing this out; we must teach our sons to protect themselves as well!

    2. Millie, that is SO wise!!! Good for you. As I have shared this message at public schools, the girls often ask if I am going to share it with the boys too.



  29. Lynn, thank you for sharing this message with your friends and their daughters. It gives me such peace to know they will go to college educated and equipped and continues to show me how God is using that tragic day in my life to do good in His Kingdom.

    And thank you, moms, for sharing this with your daughters. It is information I wish I had tucked away in my heart before that June day.



  30. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share with us your horrifying experience. So many women suffer in silence because of shame. The more people speak out about it the less shame, I hope, we will feel as women. I will be sharing this with every woman I know, especially my daughter! Thank you again and God bless!

    1. Virginia, thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. And what you have written is true. There are not enough women out there giving a voice to this issue. Thank you for sharing it!!



  31. I will share with my youth group and granddaughter and her friends. being aware of your surroundings and who you share information to is such great advice. I know it is hard to share your story as it has been hard for me to find my voice to share what happened to me.

    1. Deborah, first thank you for sharing. And, second, God will give you the courage to share your message and when you do, He will be faithful to bring much fruit from it. Praying for you now, sweet friend. And thank you for sharing with the youth and your granddaughter and her friends.



  32. nancys1128 says:

    I am going to share this with my daughter, and the mom of her BFF. And I will look for a way to get it to the leaders of the high school small group for the girls at church. Such great information and advice. Thanks for allowing Wendy to “hijack” your blog today.

    1. Nancy, thanks for taking action with this message and sharing it with the young women and moms around you! It truly can make a difference in a young woman’s life if she is aware and equipped. Your response encourages me to continue to share my story and trust God that He is using it to make a difference.


  33. Thank you for sharing this resource that I shared with my daughter who is entering her freshman year of college. I posted it on Facebook and tagged nieces and my daughter’s friends to help anyone who is gearing up for a new adventure on a college campus. I was also a victim of sexual assault in college, not a stranger but date rape. The shame and guilt was difficult to carry. I told someone but we did not pursue any action on it. I carried that shame for many, many years but have sense turned the story around to help my son and daughter to learn from it. God has redeemed me from the shame of my past. Your testimony is such a wonderful encouragement to others who are in similar situations. Thank you for your bravery and vulnerability in sharing your story.

  34. Rachel Poland says:

    I am about to begin my senior year of high school and will be going to college next year. This article is very useful for me because I need to be S.A.F.E. Sexual abuse is a growing issue, and I think this is fantastic that you were willing to reach out and talk about your experience. I hope that through this I can avoid it. I will definitely talk to my friends about this and hopefully help prevent them from being sexually assaulted. Thank you so much!

  35. Melissa Kiker says:

    My 18 year old daughter has a huge heart for God and a really good head on her shoulders. Her priorities are in proper order with God number one and she finds her value in Him rather than in what she receives from man. She’s never had a boyfriend and is very naive when it comes to relationships. I’m always concerned that she’s going to fall into a dangerous situation. I would love to have this book for her.

  36. A message that is 40 years late for me but needs to be shared BEFORE any situations arise for young people heading off on their own for perhaps the first time. I was 17 when I started college and incredibly naive and trusting. That ended up putting me in a bad situation that I didn’t know how to handle, and I was date raped. I was so ashamed that I hadn’t been better prepared to take care of myself or strong enough to defend myself. I felt like I had done something wrong more than I felt I had been wronged. Doesn’t make any sense to me now. I wish I had been more informed. I carried guilt and shame around with me for a long time and didn’t share what had happened until much later when I became engaged to my future husband. My faith (and my husband) helped me heal from a one time experience that scarred me for years. I pray this book gets into the hands of as many young people as possible and prevents what can be a life changing event.

  37. I’m in! Thank you for sharing.

  38. Great reminders of things to be aware of to increase safety. Thank you for being willing to talk about something so difficult in effort to help others.

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