Date Rape is Not a Hookup

If you or someone you know has been the victim of date rape, you are not alone, and either are they. One out of four women admit to being the victim of sexual assault. Date rape, also known as acquaintance rape, is the sexual assault of person that is known to the victim. Many instances of date rape include the use of drugs. In some instances, the victim is voluntarily drugged, such as becoming drunk, and in other instances the victim is unwittingly given a date rape drug. There are measures that can be taken by the potential victim, as well as, friends and family to help prevent date rape from occurring. Date rape is an issue that effects almost everyone. Even if you are not a victim of date rape, chances are that you know someone who is. This person could be a friend, a family member, or even a spouse. Do you know what to say to someone who confides in you about this issue?

Date Rape Drugs

Date Rape Drugs are any drugs used to make the victim incapable of giving consent during a sexual encounter. These drugs are powerful and usually leave the victim physically helpless and sometimes unable to remember the occurance. The most common date rape drugs used are GHB, Ketamine and Rohypnol. These common drugs are usually put into the victims drink or even food and are ingested. In order to help prevent this from happening to you, be aware of your environment. Never leave your beverages unattended, do not take containers that are already opened from a person you do not trust, and never drink from an open source, such as a punch bowl. 

  • Different Varieties of Date Rape Drugs: The Illinois Department of Public Health gives in depth information about date rape drugs and explains the effects that they have on the victims. They also give helpful tips on how a person can help to protect themselves from being exposed to these drugs.
  • Effects of Date Rape Drugs and How To Avoid Them: Kansas State University also shows the effects of different date rape drugs. They also give useful information about how other drugs and alcohol can be part of the equation and how people should pay close attention to their surrounding and avoid putting themselves in dangerous situations.

Prevention

There are many preventative steps that you can take to help avoid being a victim of date rape. First be aware that you always have the right to say no. Be cautious of your surroundings. Some situations should be avoided, especially if you are uncomfortable with a person. Trust your instincts. However, if you do get into an uncomfortable situation, if you take extra precautionary measures, you have a better chance for escape. Keep your cell phone on your person, and not in a purse. Therefore, if you lose your purse, you can still call for assistance. Always make sure you have enough cash to call a taxi. Make sure that you stay with your friends and don't let any one leave alone. As discussed, pay close attention to your beverages. One of the most important prevention measures that a person can take, is to refrain from voluntary alcohol and drug consumption. Regardless if a person is a close friend, there are instances when alcohol would make a person act out of character and take advantage of your intoxicated situation. Even though you know and can trust a person, when he or she is intoxicated, inhibitions slip and poor decisions can be made. 

  • Preventative Steps To Avoid Date Rape: Truman State University provides a comprehensive list of facts, terms and strategies to teach women about preventing date rape. They show how women can take a defensive stance if needed and learn to talk about the scenario ahead of time to avoid confusion.
  • Preventing Date Rape As A Woman or As A Man: Date rape affects both males and females and the problems for both should be addressed.West Virginia University set up a variety of steps both sexes can take to prevent sexual assault.
  • Alcohol and Sexual Assault: Alcohol often plays a big role in sexual assault. While it is not excuse for date rape, people should be aware that alcohol usually increase the chance of date rape. In fact, one study found that 70% of women and 80% of men had been drinking alcohol when a sexual assault had occurred.

What To Do If It Happens to You

Date Rape is never the victim's fault. It is your right to say no to sex. But if it happens, understand that it is a serious crime and should be reported. To make a report, go to your local police station and make a formal statement. You should also go to a local medical office and have a doctor perform a rape kit. The doctor will collect any evidence that can be obtained if you decide to go to court. The doctor will also perform an exam to make sure you are alright physically. In a few months, you should get another checkup to make sure you were not infected with STDs/STIs or are pregnant. You should also talk to a counselor. Every one copes with date rape differently because every person is different, as is every situation. Obtaining resources to help cope can only be so useful. Talking to a professional can help you cope with your personal needs. Find a counselor that you are comfortable with, preferably the sex gender, that specializes in sexual assault. Give yourself time to heal and spend time with your friends and family. Remeber that they love you and will help you through this. 

  • Steps To Take After The Event: The NSW Attorney-General's Department Crime Prevention Division provides victims with a detailed overview of the choices they can take after the event. These include understanding your feelings, taking to a counselor, telling friends and family, seeing a doctor, and understanding your legal rights.
  • Medical Implications: The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains medical steps that should be taken after a person has been a victim of rape. These include a variety of tests, exams and ongoing psychological support.
  • Recovery Hotlines: RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) gives an online hotline as well as a phone hotline (1-800-656-HOPE) to help people in the event of sexual assault. People can anonymously call or chat online to get help and support.

What To Do If a Friend is a Victim

If a friend confides in you that they are a victim of date rape, believe it. There is no good reason to lie about this issue. The consequences of ignoring a friend in need can be more severe than trying to help a friend that is untruthful. Offer help, comfort, and support. You should also encourge your friend to report it. However, you must let your friend be in command. Victims of sexual assault have had their choice taken away from them. Let them be in charge of how they handle the aftermath. Make suggestions not orders. Suggest that the person seek medical care, make an offical report at the local police station, and seek counceling.  

  • Helping a Friend: The Palo Alto Medical Foundation provides information about what to do if a friend has just been a victim of rape.
  • Secondary Victims of Rape: The Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County provide information about the secondary victims of rape: the friends and family. This article discusses how to deal with your own emotions in order to better help the victim.  

Recovery

While it takes time to recover, there are resources that can help. Many people, possibly in your circle of friends or family, that have dealt with a simular issue. Start talking about it. Talk to your friends, family, a counselor. There are hotlines and forums. You can take a stand and get the message out to others. The more you talk about it, the easier it will get. 

Get productive. Make a positive change in your life. If you are creative, start an art project. If you like to write, then start keeping a journal or write a book or a play. Getting out your emotions and taking charge of your life is the best way you can overcome. It's okay to cry and yell but you have to smile, too. You are only a victim if you let yourself be.

  • Online Communities: After silence is a great organization that has chat rooms, testimonials, and other resources that allows victims to communicate with other survivors of sexual violence to aid in their recovery. They know that recovering from being a date rape victim will take time and they try to provide the necessary resources in order to facilitate the process.
  • Search For a Local Crisis Center: While getting help sometimes isn't easy, RAINN makes it a little easier by giving victims a search database to get them started. It assists people in finding a local place for counseling, shelter, medical help and more.

Additonal Links

  • Date Rape Overview: The Cleveland Clinic gives an educational overview of what constitutes date rape, important things to remember and what a person can do in the event of being a victim. It is a helpful resource in learning about date rape and beginning recovery.
  • Date Rape Statistics: MIT gives a variety of statistics to help people be more educated about date rape. It also shows that it is much more prevalent than most people believe.
  • Online Resources and Crisis Lines: Women's Justice Center and AvocateWeb are just a few of the helpful online resources available. There are also a variety of hotlines open to victims who wish to discuss what happened and to get support.

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