It will be 10 years this summer when my life was interrupted by an assault. It changes you to the core. In my case it involved an acquaintance, something that is more common than a stranger in the bushes. Regardless, it is something incredibly difficult to "get over" (more like incorporate into who you are), and anyone is much better off if they can avoid becoming part of this statistic.
When I first met with the crisis counselors, they gave me a copy of a book that I only wish I'd read before hand. Its called "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker. The author witnessed a deadly crime early in his life and now works as a threat assessment specialist. The advice he provides in the pages of this paper back are invaluable in learning to not just notice the red flags, but in paying attention to them. He explains that "GUT FEELINGS" aren't magical, but are based on things that our subconscious mind picks up. He also outlines different maneuvers that predators use to identify who would be an easier individual to victimize, and how to weaken any protective boundaries they might set.
If you are a woman, you should read this. If you have a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin or a friend that you love, they should read this. This book should be required reading for every female everywhere.
No one expects that they will ever be the survivor of a violent crime. I certainly didn't. Crime always happens to other people...right ? If you read this book, you increase your chances on keeping it that way.