Date Rape Prevention

ChalkboardAccording to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, 1 in 6 women are victims of an attempted or completed rape each year. More shockingly, 11% of high-school-aged females are raped each year, and as many as 25% of college-aged women experience complete or attempted rape each year.  Even worse, these numbers underestimate the problem because many women are afraid to report a rape incident to the police, much less family members or friends.  Rape victims often feel ashamed, guilty, embarrassed of the incident or threatened by the sexual predator.

Date rape is one type of rape that most often goes unreported, probably because the incident occurs between two people who are dating each other.  Date rape can occur on a first or second date or in a steady relationship.  Date rape is defined as sex without consent and—regardless of whether the two parties know each other—it’s still illegal.

While there are many ways date rapes can occur, there are a few classic scenarios.  Date rapes most often occur when two people are alone, but with other people nearby, at a party, for example.  Alcohol or mind-altering drugs may be involved.  There is even a class of “date rape” drugs, including Rohypnol (“Roofies,” “Roach,” or the “Forget Pill”), GHB (“Bedtime Scoop,” “Cherry Meth,” or “Liquid Ecstasy”), and Ketamine (“Black Hole,” “Special K,” or “Psychedelic Heroin”).  Date rape often occurs when the perpetrator is unable to seduce the victim and consequentially forces sex anyways.  Rapists in date rape cases are often trusted by the victims, which is why many victims feel conflicted—often a mixture of anger, guilt, and shame—following the incident.

There are certain behaviors which are associated with sexual violence on dates.  Watch out for your date:

  • Sitting or standing too close to you
  • Enjoying your feelings of discomfort
  • Stares you down
  • Blocks your way
  • Tries to act like he knows you better than he really does
  • Touches you in any way that is unwanted
  • Acts violently.
  • Doesn’t listen to you, especially if you are saying “no”

There are several ways to prevent date rape.  Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t depend on your date for money or transportation.
  • If you don’t know or feel comfortable with your date—on a blind date or first date, for example—go on a double date or go out with a group of people.
  • Have a casual first date during the day.  Go out to lunch, brunch or coffee.  Do an activity where there are lots of people around, such as an outdoor street fair, weekend farmer’s market, or mini-golf.
  • Make your sexual limitations clear early on.  If you don’t want to have sex, it’s a lot easier to say no before you even begin to be intimate.
  • Act confidently.  If you have low self esteem, discredit your character, or act insecure, your date is more likely to take advantage of you.

Prevention is obviously much easier and less harmful than dealing with the physical and emotional consequences of rape.  If you are raped, or think you’ve been raped, call 911 right away.  Remember, even if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the rape is illegal and it’s not your fault.  Don’t be an unreported case.

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