OP, my advice is to mind your own business. Your friend is a grown woman. She doesn't need you telling her what to do or judging where she walks or how she meets people.
I met my partner on a tram, I struck a conversation up with a stranger in public. Jeez, lucky I didn't get assaulted!
It's about being in the wrong place at the wrong time a lot of the time and a park which is KNOWN for trouble should be avoided. I don't really understand how you don't seem to get this? As women we need to take reasonable responsibility for our own safety too!
I think the OPs point is that she cares about her friend and whether or not her friend was sexually assaulted or sexually harassed is still cause for concern! Especially since the guy was following her...
common myths about rape
Here are some of the most common myths that surround rape and sexual assault:
Myth Do not go out alone at any time. Women are most likely to be raped outside, in dark alleyways late at night. This is the best way for a woman to protect herself.
Fact The suggestion of avoiding walking alone, especially at night is a common suggestion to avoiding sexual assault. However, only 9% of rapes are committed by 'strangers'. Women are raped in their homes and in their work places where they are less likely to be believed and even less likely to report. This myth can control movements and restricts freedom. This can feel like women are living under a 'curfew' and that it is a woman's responsibility to be either in or out at certain times. Around 90% of rapes are committed by known men.
Myth: The rapist is usually a stranger
An abundance of research both overseas and in Australia has established that the majority of
sexual assaults are perpetrated by acquaintances, dates or marital partners. The erroneous
image of the rapist as a stranger stems in part from the fact that such rapes are more likely to
be reported to the police (Bownes et al. 1991). However, various victim surveys show a
different picture: in Matchett (1988), 29 per cent of callers had been sexually abused by
their husbands; in a nation-wide victims survey in the USA only 22 per cent had been raped
by strangers (Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center 1992, p. 4); Green (1987)
reports that, in Australia, more than half of the victims knew or were related to the attacker;
Bonney (1985 p. 30) looked at reported rapes in New South Wales and ascertained that
only one-quarter involved strangers. This may be a fairly accurate figure since the national
crime victim survey also shows that only 24 per cent of the crimes of rape or attempted rape
were perpetrated by strangers (Walker 1993).
Differences have been found in elements of the sexual assault and in its impact on the
victim based upon her relationship to the perpetrator. Some of these contrasts are in part
responsible for the relatively low reporting of 'date' rape. 'Date' or acquaintance rapes are
more likely to involve verbal threats than either a weapon or physical injuries. The attackers
are also more likely to threaten the victim about disclosing (Bownes et al. 1991). Low levels
of reporting in 'date' rape are also a consequence of the victim's inability to perceive herself
as a rape victim. Several studies have shown that people are more likely to label an act as
rape if the survivor protested both verbally and physically early in the scenario, and if the
male arranged the date but the female paid her own way (Shotland & Goodstein 1983;
Muehlenhard 1989). The victim has been socialised with these fallacious concepts; even if
she does label the act as a rape, she may be reluctant to go to the police since she might
either believe in her own partial responsibility or believe that the police would blame her.
Marital rape has been found to be a component in a high number of marriages that
involve physical battering (Bowker 1983). Finkelhor (1985, p. 204) estimates that 10 to
14 per cent of all married women have been or will be raped by their spouse. AlthoughWithout Consent: Confronting Adult Sexual Violence
marital rape involves more violence and physical injuries than acquaintance rape, the lower
rate of reporting can be attributed to both the isolation of the battered woman and to the ongoing societal assumption that husbands are immune from sexual assault charges.
Her friend is a fully grown woman, if she wants to walk through a park alone, well that's her call, not OP's.
Sure, share your concern if you must but then you really should butt out.
For the record I don't and wouldn't live my life on the off chance something awful might happen, something awful can happen anywhere.
Another study with over 10000 participants concluded that the absolute majority of sexual assaults of women over the age of 15 were committed by males known to them, and often within their own home.
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