They look for women who are talking or texting on their phone, searching through their purse, wearing headphones, or doing anything that makes them distracted and unaware that they are about to be attacked.
The point is to attack the easiest victim and never get caught. The rapists interviewed looked for girls wearing clothing that is easy to remove. Some of them even carried around scissors. Exercise caution when wearing skirts or yoga pants in lonely places. Try to never walk alone at night, especially in high heels which may slow you down while running or attract attention by their sound. Remember that most women get raped in parking lots and public restrooms in the early morning hours up until 8:30am.
Just 2% of the men interviewed said they had carried weapons because rape alone carries a 3-5 year prison sentence, but armed rape carries a significantly higher 15-20 year sentence. Chances are they don't have a weapon, so they look for women who are not carrying objects that can be used as a weapon from far away, such as umbrellas. Keys are NOT a deterrent because the rapist must be very close to the victim before they can even be used. Openly carrying pepper spray is a strong deterrent for rapists.
The rapists said that they would not bother attacking a woman who appeared to be someone who would put up a fight. The goal was to never get caught. A woman fighting back loudly would draw too much attention. So, if you feel a man following you, suck it up and yell "stop! stay back!" with your hands in front of you. This may feel embarrassing, and a rapist will likely make you feel as if you were overreacting as he changes his mind not to target you, but this technique has saved lives.
Women who looked them straight in the eye, in an elevator for instance, and made small talk (what time is it? Some weather we're having, huh?) would not be an ideal victim because they could easily identify them in a lineup. It's also helpful to let them know that you are aware of any unique features such as tattoos, scars, or even their oh-so-beautiful eyes.
Look into the windows of your car before entering to make sure no one is inside. If a suspicious vehicle is parked on the driver's side of your car either enter through the passenger's side or go back to where you came from and have a security guard walk you out.
Never linger in your car. As soon as you enter lock the doors and LEAVE. It's far too easy to put a gun to your head when you are sitting in a parking lot setting up your GPS or texting.
Never hand your wallet or purse to a mugger. Throw it away from you so that they have to go retrieve it and then run like hell.
Kick the tail lights out if you ever get thrown into a trunk. Stick your hand or foot and wave. The driver will not see you, but everyone else will.
Stay safe and follow your instincts!