General Crime

Date Rape/Dating Violence

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Dating is a part of growing up. It’s important to meet new people and begin relationships in life. It is also important to protect yourself and to be aware of what’s going on around you. The purpose of this section is to increase awareness, not fear.

Acquaintance rape, a.k.a. date rape, is when a person you know uses threats or force you into participating in sexual activity against your will. Neighbors, friends, boy- or girlfriends, co-workers, and dates are some possibilities of people who could commit an acquaintance rape. Acquaintance rape is more common than you think; 80% of teenage victims of sexual assault- that’s 4 out of 5 victims- know their rapist before the assault takes place.

It is rare that an acquaintance rapist will use a weapon when committing the sexual assault. Often physical force (like hitting, kicking or pushing) is used. Rapists can also take advantage of a person under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, which inhibit a person from agreeing to sexual acts. If you cannot consent to sex and sex has been forced upon you, then you are a victim of sexual violence.

Some rapists actually prefer to know their victims in advance, because they can act without arousing suspicion or causing alarm. They may learn about their victims, their habits, living arrangements, schedule, etc. and be able to plan their attack with less chance of getting caught. A rapist may try to gain the trust of the victim to reduce the chance of the crime being reported. Often, victims are caught off guard by acquaintance rapists.

rape on a date
Rape on a date occurs frequently and in familiar settings. Alcohol and/or drugs often play a role. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize date rape as a crime because the rapist is someone the victim knows and often trusts. Date rape can be either planned or spontaneous. It is important to remember that date rape is still a crime of power and control, and not of a sexual nature.

myths of acquaintance rape

MYTH: The rape is not as bad if you know the rapist.
FACT: Rape is a traumatic and threatening experience regardless of who the rapist is. In fact, the betrayal and manipulation commonly found in acquaintance rapes may lead to more damaging psychological and emotional problems.

MYTH: If you don’t report, it’s not rape.
FACT: The fact is, most victims of acquaintance rape don’t report. There may be no outward signs of abuse, since the rapist is not usually violent. Victims of acquaintance rape may feel responsible and fear that they won’t be believed. This does not mean that a rape didn’t happen.

MYTH: If you don’t resist or fight back, it isn’t rape.
FACT: There are lots of reasons why victims don’t fight back. They may be taken by surprise before they can do anything. They may fear for their lives, or be scared the rapist may hurt them more if they fight back. They may be afraid of hurting the rapist, especially if he is a friend.

MYTH: When someone says NO, they really mean MAYBE.
FACT: No means NO. Everything besides YES is a NO. Always!

MYTH: If he paid for a date, she owes him something in return.
FACT: No one should feel like they owe anything for a date. There is no excuse for forced sex.

MYTH: It’s not rape if a person is too drunk or high to resist sex.
FACT: Sexual contact with someone unable to agree to have sex, for whatever reason, is considered rape.

what to do to protect yourself

Always remember the only person who can stop a rape is the rapist.
However, there are ways to avoid situations that could lead to acquaintance rape. Find out as much as possible about your date ahead of time, especially if it’s a blind date. It may actually be a good idea to double date the first few times you go out with someone. When you do go out, make sure a friend or a parent knows where you will be, and what time you should be home. Remember, alcohol decreases your ability to react, so if you’re going to drink, drink responsibly. Before you leave a party with someone you don’t know well, tell someone where you’re going. Avoid out-of-the-way, secluded areas. Watch yourself and your behaviors, and watch how people respond to you. Could anything you do be misinterpreted? Is your date quick to jump to conclusions? Never be afraid to stand up for yourself when necessary. Don’t worry about being polite. When you say NO, say it loud and clear; leave no room for confusion. And most importantly, trust your instincts!!! If you’re uncomfortable in a situation, plan ways to get out of it; you know in your heart if something is wrong around you.

be aware and stay safe!!

On dates or in social situations:
• Don’t leave your drink unattended
• Get your own drink and open it yourself
• Have your own ride home
• Avoid secluded places
• Avoid people who ignore your feelings or try to make decisions for you
• Always let somebody know where you’re going to be
• Use the “buddy system”
• Set your limits
• Be assertive and say what you want

At Home:
• Leave some lights on when you’re not home
• Use the “peepholes” when somebody is at the door
• Use deadbolt locks when home alone

Walking:
• Plan your route and walk confidently
• Avoid alleys and other isolated spots
• If you’re being followed, go into a store or knock on a door for help

In Your Car:
• Have your keys out and ready when walking to your car, especially at night
• Check the back seat and underneath your car before getting in it
• Keep your car doors locked, even when you’re in it
• If possible, carry a cell phone

On The Telephone:
• If you receive an obscene phone call, just hang up
• Don’t let anybody know that you’re home by yourself

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