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Girl sitting in corner.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 a relationship.
  • 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 own car.
  • 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 becoming victims.

  • 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.

Take Action

  • 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 date rape.

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Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council

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