Date Rape

What Is Date Rape?

Rape is any unwanted/ forced act of sexual activity. Rape can be coercive, which means that someone manipulates you, forces you, or threatens you into doing something sexually that you don’t want to do. Rape can also be violent meaning that someone hurts you in order to force you into something. Some times rape can occur when someone incapacitates you using drugs or alcohol, or takes advantage of you in a vulnerable state. Rape can also mean someone putting fingers or something else into a part of your body against your will.

When people think of rape, they might think of a stranger jumping out of a shadowy place and sexually attacking someone. But it’s not only strangers who rape. In fact, 3 out of 4 victims of sexual violence know the person who committed the violence . Girls and women are most in danger of sexual violence, but men can also experience sexual violence. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime.

When forced sex occurs between two people who already know each other, it is known as date rape or acquaintance rape.

Most friendships, acquaintances, and dates never lead to violence, of course. But, sadly, sometimes it happens.

NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO FORCE A SEXUAL ACT ON ANOTHER PERSON. Consent is the MOST IMPORTANT part of any sexual act, and you ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO. Even if the two people know each other well, and even if they were intimate or had sex before (even that day). No one ever has the right to force a sexual act on another person against his or her will.

Although it involves forced sex, rape is not about sex or passion. Rape has nothing to do with love or even sex. Rape is an act of power through aggression and violence.

You may hear some people say that those who have been raped were somehow “asking for it” because of the clothes they wore or the way they acted. That’s wrong: The person who is raped is never to blame. Rape is always the fault of the rapist. And that’s also the case when two people are dating — or even in an intimate relationship. One person never owes the other person sex. If sex is forced against someone’s will, that’s rape.

Alcohol and Drugs

Alcohol is often involved in date rapes. Drinking can loosen inhibitions, dull common sense, and — for some people — allow aggressive tendencies to surface.

Drugs may also play a role. You may have heard about “date rape” drugs like rohypnol (“roofies”), gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), and ketamine. Drugs like these can easily be mixed in drinks to make a person black out and forget things that happen. Both girls and guys who have been given these drugs report feeling paralyzed, having blurred vision, and lack of memory.

Mixing these drugs with alcohol is highly dangerous and can kill.

Protecting Yourself

The best defense against date rape is to try to prevent it whenever possible. Here are some things both girls and guys can do:

  • Avoid secluded places (this may even mean your room or your partner’s) until you trust your partner.
  • Don’t spend time alone with someone who makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. This means following your instincts and removing yourself from situations that you don’t feel good about.
  • Don’t spend time alone with someone who makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. This means following your instincts and removing yourself from situations that you don’t feel good about.
  • Stay sober and aware. If you’re with someone you don’t know very well, be aware of what’s going on around you and try to stay in control. Also, be aware of your date’s ability to consent to sexual activity — you may become guilty of committing rape if the other person is not in a condition to respond or react.
  • Know what you want. Be clear about what kind of relationship you want with another person. If you are not sure, then ask the other person to respect your feelings and to give you time. Don’t allow yourself to be subject to peer pressure or encouraged to do something that you don’t want to do.
  • Go out with a group of friends and watch out for each other.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel threatened.
  • Take self-defense courses. These can build confidence and teach valuable physical techniques a person can use to get away from an attacker.

Getting Help

Unfortunately, even if someone takes every precaution, date rape can still happen. If you’re raped, here are some things that you can do:

  • Go straight to the emergency room — most medical centers and hospital emergency departments have doctors and counselors who have been trained to take care of someone who has been raped.
  • If you want to report the rape, or even think you might want to report the rape, call the police right away. Preserve all the physical evidence. Don’t change clothes or take a shower.
  • Remember, you don’t have to press charges if you don’t want to. However, getting the evidence while you still can, will allow you to press charges later on in case you change your mind.
  • You have the right to an advocate – you have the right to have an advocate at your side during the exam, or in court. Most hospitals are connected to sexual assault survivor advocates who are there to support you if something happens.
  • Call or find a friend, family member, or someone you feel safe with and tell them what happened.
  • Write down as much as you can remember about the event.
  • – If you don’t know what to do, or need someone to talk to, call a rape crisis hotline – they can help you.

Rape isn’t just physically damaging — it can be emotionally traumatic as well. It may be hard to think or talk about something as personal as being raped by someone you know. But talking with a trained rape crisis counselor or other mental health professional can give you the right emotional attention, care, and support to begin the healing process. Working things through can help prevent lingering problems later on. Some rape crisis centers also offer free counseling.