Rape Among Friends
Over 80% of rape victims know their attackers. As children you were warned not to talk to strangers. The fact is you are more likely to be assaulted by someone you know: a friend, date, ex-boyfriend, classmate, neighbor, relative or employer.
Acquaintance rape and date rape are more common than left-handedness or heart attacks or alcoholism. (Warshaw, 1988)
Acquaintance rape is using physical force, emotional bargaining, blackmail or mind games to force sexual intercourse, fondling, kissing, holding … any sexual contact forced on you by a stranger or someone you know. If it is against your will, it is against the law.
One of the most common types of acquaintance rape is date rape. If you are a female between the ages of 16-24, you run the greatest risk of being raped by a date. The use of alcohol or drugs also increases your risk. In one study, 74% of the men and 55% of the women had been drinking or using drugs prior to the sexual assault.
Date rapes often occur as a result of misunderstood sex role behaviors and/or communication styles. Males who regard sex as “scoring” and are sexually aggressive often believe “no” can be changed to “yes” with a little more persuasion or force. Females frequently say “no” too softly or indirectly because they don’t want to hurt feelings or jeopardize a relationship.
Realistically, those closest to you can easily take advantage of and assault you.
Prevention Tips for Women
- Say no as if you mean no; if you don’t mean no then don’t say it.
- Be clear, honest and consistent in your verbal communications about sexual desires.
- Trust your instincts. If you have any hesitations about a man, think carefully about dating him. Pay attention to situations that make you uncomfortable and think of ways to decrease potential problems.
- Be aware that nonverbal behaviors or actions may be interpreted differently than you intended. That DOES NOT mean it is your fault if you are assaulted.
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol and/or other drugs
Prevention Tips for Men
- Understand that forced sex is NEVER acceptable; it is against the law.
- Accept “no” as “no.” Don’t read other meanings into that word.
- Know the difference between desire and action. Being sexually aroused does not give you permission to force sex on another.
- Be responsible for your own sexual limits and actions; they are your responsibility.
- Realize that dating for a long time, spending money or previous sexual intercourse does not obligate a woman to have sex.
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol and/or other drugs.
- Don’t make assumptions. Just because your date welcomes some sexual contact doesn’t mean she wants other types of sexual contact.
Protect yourself from date rape drugs
- The most common date rape drug is alcohol. If someone is encouraging you to drink a lot, he or she may be trying to get you drunk enough to have sex.
- Do not accept a drink from anyone you would not “put your life into their hands.” Remember, any stranger or casual acquaintance could be suspect. Even those people who are mixing or pouring drinks.)
- Other date rape drugs include Rohypnol (roofies), GHB (liquid ectasy), and Ketamine (special K).
- Never leave a drink unattended. NEVER. Do not give someone a chance to put drugs in your drink. Someone can put one of these date rape drugs into a soda, beer or another drink without your knowing.
- These drugs can cause you to lose all ability to make decisions. The can also make it hard to remember what happened.
- Date rape drugs can kill.
- If you are feeling sick or dizzy while out socially, go to someone you KNOW and TRUST. If there is no person you can talk to about your condition, call someone on the phone. Never leave alone. NEVER. (The intent of date rape drugs is to get you isolated and then to assault you.)
- If you think you have been drugged and cannot tell or call someone, call 911. A blood sample can be collected and appropriate tests run.
- Remember, alcohol greatly increases the effects of these drugs. The mixture could be lethal.
Why Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine are used in Date Rapes:
- They are easy to administer. (Stir and dissolve)
- When victims to feel the effects, they often leave and are caught alone and vulnerable.
- If victims ‘come to’ during an assault, the drugs render them totally helpless and unable to do anything.
- When victims are raped, they doubt their experience because of the impaired memory of it.
Our Reactions as a Victim
Victims of sexual violence experience many different feelings, such as:
Victims of date or acquaintance rape often have:
- fear of guilt and responsibility
- concerns about their ability to make good judgments about people
- difficulty accepting what happened as rape
All these feelings and reactions are normal. You need not hide your feelings or pretend they are not there. Working through them is the first step toward coping with the crisis.
No one asks or deserves to be raped! There is help…someone you can talk with, who will listen, who understands.
The WCSC Advocate or office Counselor can provide information and support to victims pursuing police or medical follow-up, assailant identification, prosecution (accompany her to police station, courtroom, etc.), as well as assist victims with other needs like shelter, financial assistance, medical care and clothing. Call the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix at (340)773-9272 for assistance.
The assault and its aftermath can be disruptive to the victim’s life in many ways. A crisis period may extend for several months or may recur years later. Sexual assault victims often find it helpful to talk over their concerns with a counselor during these times. Counseling is available through Mental Health at the victim’s and/or family’s request. Call 773-1311.
The Women’s Coalition would like to be of assistance to you in any way. Please do not hesitate to contact the Women’s Coalition Office, at 773-9272 or 773-WCSC or your advocate.