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Date Rape

Rape: Even Among Friends
Know the facts: If it is against your will, it is against the law.

We want to trust the people in our lives: our friends, family members and community acquaintances. Unfortunately, the truth is that we are more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone we know: a friend, a relative, an employer, a date or someone we have recently met than by a stranger.

Acquaintance rape occurs when someone you know uses physical strength, emotional bargaining, bullying, threats, blackmail, alcohol, drugs or mind games to force you to have sex. If you do not consent freely, and someone has sexual contact with you anyway, it is a crime.

There are many different types of acquaintance rape. Date rape is one of the most confusing kinds. Some men believe that spending money on women creates a situation where dates owe them sex. Some men also believe that women play hard to get and say "no" but really mean "yes," and that women will be shy to tell anyone what happened. Because some men perceive that sex is their right, many women are raped by the men they are dating. It is not simply a lack of communication or a result of lack of control.  Rape is an act of violence and of power which is often planned.

Sexual assault is NEVER the victim's fault.  It is the responsibility of the person who committed the act of violence.


Women are most at risk for rape between ages 16 and 24. Since this is when young women begin to date, they are particularly vulnerable to being a victim of date rape.

What Do Victims Feel?

Common Reactions to Victimization

Victims of date rape may experience many different feelings in response to their crisis. Victims may be confused about whether to tell the police, their school and their family and friends. Some common feelings include:

  • Confusion
  • Self-blame
  • Embarrassment
  • Helplessness
  • Denial
  • Shock
  • Fear
  • Disbelief
  • Anger

Victims sometimes want to forget that this happened to them. But surviving sexual assault creates many long term effects. Some common problems are:

  • Nightmares or problems sleeping
  • Memories about the violence
  • Depression
  • Drugs and alcohol used to calm down or forget
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Health problems
  • Trust issues in relationships
  • Flashbacks

Victims deserve the help of a rape crisis advocate to help them cope with their feelings and decisions.
Reaching Out

  • Know that it wasn't your fault and you're not to blame.
  • Understand that forced sex is never acceptable; it is against the law.
  • It is always your right to say "no," and unless you specifically said "yes," you did not give consent.
  • You can report sexual assault to law enforcement, even if you knew the perpetrator. You may be able to receive an order for protection to keep the perpetrator away from you
  • You deserve medical attention to make sure you are safe from internal injuries, sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. Your medical provider may also be able to gather evidence in case you want to report the crime.
  • If you believe you may have been drugged, you can discuss with your hospital provider having a urine test within the first three days to detect the presence of a date rape drug.
  • Free supportive services are available in your community. You can talk to counselors in person or on a hotline, join a support group, get information or get help handling problems that are happening in your life because of the attack.
  • Know that you don't have to go through it alone. There are understanding people who will believe you and will support you as you recover. They can also help your family and friends understand what you are going through.

Safety Tips for Both Women and Men That Help Reduce the Risk of Date Rape

 
  • Be aware, stay alert and pay attention to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Ask yourself these questions: Ask yourself these questions: What is going on around you? Are you uncomfortable? Did your date lock the door? Is your date drunk or out of control? Is the party getting too wild? 
  • Trust your gut instinct. If you sense danger, react immediately and get away. Make up any excuse to get out of the situation. 
  • Make your own plans for transportation. Even if you ride with someone, always have a backup plan for getting home or money for a taxi. Make sure that someone knows where you are going and when you expect to be home. 
  • Be cautious with drugs and alcohol. It is almost impossible to see danger coming when you are drunk and it is equally hard to fight. 
  • Be informed about roofies. Don't accept drinks from acquaintances or strangers. Don't leave your drink unattended. Always have trusted friends watch out for you so if you feel sick or drunk, your trusted friends can help you home. 
  • Never stay over night at a party. Take a taxi home if need be, but don't crash out drunk in a room at a party or friend's house. 
  • Remember, Date Rape is a crime. Forcing sex is a violent crime, not a sexual act. Every person has a right to set their own limits or change their mind-each individual maintains the right to decide what happens to their own body. 
  • Don't justify rape with sexist beliefs. Often victims are accused of causing their own rape by dressing sexy, drinking alcohol, walking or partying alone, or agreeing to be alone with a man. None of these actions are criminal acts; these acts never justify rape. Rape is a violent act that uses sex as a weapon to exert power over someone and humiliate or violate someone. 
  • Err on the side of safety and stop at "no." If someone says "no" verbally or appears distressed, scared, uncomfortable, cries, pleads or begs, you need to stop! Forcing sex without consent is rape. 
  • Always get full informed consent. Don't take advantage of someone who is drunk, passed out or high, underage or otherwise mentally or physically unable to clearly verbalize or communicate this is what he or she wants. 
  • Be cautious with drugs and alcohol. Don't ever use being drunk as an excuse for rape. Be aware that when you are drunk or high it is harder to be in control and think clearly-particularly in a group situation.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Mon Apr 8, 2013 8:17:49 AM
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