Rape: A Power Trip
Nothing — not even previous consensual sex — entitles anyone
to force others to perform sexual acts. Without consent, forcing
sexual contact is a crime. Date rape is a betrayal of trust and
causes long-lasting emotional injuries. Date rape or acquaintance
rape is about power, control, and anger — not romance.
Why Does it Happen?
Let's look at sexual stereotyping and how males and females
talk to each other.
- Although things are changing, society still frequently encourages
men to be competitive and aggressive and teaches women to be passive
and avoid confrontation.
- Men say they misunderstand a woman's words and actions — the
excuse "she said no, but meant yes."
- Some people — men and women alike — still believe
that it's okay for a man to demand sex if he takes a woman
out or buys her gifts, and that it's not rape if he forces
sex on a woman who previously had sex with him or other men.
- Women also feel that if they've previously had sex with
their boyfriend and he later forces her to have sex against her
will, it may not be considered rape.
Date rape can happen in homosexual relationships as well as heterosexual
ones. Although it is less frequent, men can also be the victim of
rape. It is still a crime and the victim still needs to get medical
attention and counseling as soon as possible.
Preventing Date Rape
As a Woman, You Can...
- Be clear with men in your life about what, if any, sexual behavior
you are comfortable with and keep talking as you get deeper into
- Don't use alcohol or other drugs — they decrease
your ability to take care of yourself and make sensible decisions.
- Trust your gut feelings. If a place or the way your date acts
makes you nervous or uneasy, leave. Always take enough money for
a phone call for help.
- Check out a first date or blind date with friends. Meet in
and go to public places. Take pubic transportation or drive your
- Leave social events with friends not with someone you just
met or don't know well.
- Always watch your drink and never leave it unattended. Don't
accept beverages from someone you don't know and trust.
As a Man, You Can...
- Realize that forcing a woman to have sex against her will is
rape, a violent crime with serious consequences.
- Accept a woman's decision when she says "no."
Don't see it as a challenge.
- Ask yourself how sexual stereotypes affect your attitudes and
actions toward women.
- Don't use alcohol and other drugs — it clouds your judgment
and understanding of what another person wants.
- Get help if you see men involved in a gang rape.
- Understand that if a woman is drunk and you have sex with her
against her will, it's still rape.
- Seek counseling or a support group to help you if you feel
violent or aggressive toward women.
If Date Rape Happens...
Remember that rape is rape. You are not to blame. Remember that
and know that action against the rapist can prevent others from
- Get help immediately. Phone the police, a friend, a rape crisis
center, a relative. Don't isolate yourself, don't
feel guilty or ashamed, and don't try to ignore it. It is
a crime that should be reported.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible. Do not shower, wash,
douche, or change your clothes. Valuable evidence could be destroyed.
- Get counseling to help you through the recovery process. Rape
is a traumatic experience and trained counselors can make recovery
easier and quicker.
- If you think you've been sexually assaulted under the
influence of a date rape drug, get medical help immediately. Try
not to urinate before providing any urine samples. If possible,
collect any containers from which you drank.
What Are "Date Rape" Drugs?
Rohypnol ("roofies," "roopies," "circles,"
"the forget pills") works like a tranquilizer. It causes
muscle weakness, fatigue, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination
and judgment, and amnesia that lasts up to 24 hours. It looks like
aspirin — small, white, and round.
GHB (also known as "liquid X," "salt water,"
or "scoop") also causes quick sedation. Its effects
are drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, coma, and
death. Its most common form is a clear liquid, although it also
can be a white, grainy powder.
Rohypnol and GHB are called "date rape drugs" because
when they are slipped into someone's drink, a sexual assault
can take place without the victim being able to remember what happened.
If It Happens to Someone You Know...
- Believe her.
- Ask her how you can help.
- Offer comfort and support. Go with her to the hospital, police
station, or counseling center.
- Remind her that it is not her fault.
- Ask your student government or a parent group to sponsor a
workshop on date rape and sexual stereotyping. Work with a hotline
or crisis center to persuade rape victims to join the panel.
- Volunteer at a rape crisis center or hotline.
- Monitor the media for programs or videos that reinforce sexual
stereotypes. Write, call, or e-mail to protest. On the other side,
publicly commend the media when they highlight the realities of
Return to Crime Prevention Tips
Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council