Thinking about your next date should conjure up warm images, not dangerous ones. Unfortunately, there are situations that may occur if you find yourself out with a friend.
Date rape, also called acquaintance rape, hidden rape, or drug-facilitated rape, can happen to both women and men. It involves being subjected to any unwanted sexual contact (intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or other sexual contact) through the use of force or the threat of force. In this case, the victim knows the rapist, and the act often occurs on a date. So, how well do you really know the person you are going out with?
Date rape appears more common in the young. Nearly 20% of women and 15% of men who had experience with rape, physical harm, or stalking had their first experience with it between the ages of 11 and 17.
There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of assault.
It is important to remember that date rape can happen to anyone by anyone. Again, date rape is by someone you know. Here are some of the more common traits in people who have been charged with date rape. Remember that just because someone may have these traits, it does not make them a date rapist, nor should you let down your guard if they do not have them.
More than half of date rapes involve drinking or drugs before the attack. Drinking can impair your judgement as well as the judgment of the person you are with. It can increase the risk of sexual assault because it creates a sense of false well-being. It can also allow someone a better chance of taking advantage of you, especially if you know each other. Just be aware of how much you are drinking and stay in control.
Controlling your drinking is one way you can monitor your behavior. Know your limits when you drink.
Certain drugs have become known as date rape drugs. Most are colorless and odorless, making detection difficult. They are used to reduce your ability to control situations and create memory loss. Here is a list with some of their more common nicknames:
Besides knowing about risks of drugs and alcohol, there are some things you can do in any situation.
Not every situation is completely unavoidable. To help you stay safe:
If you are assaulted, or feel like you may have been assaulted, seek help right away. Keep in mind the drugs are meant to impair your memory, so it is possible to not know right away if something happened to you. If you have been assaulted or suspect an assault:
Rape is a crime no matter who assaulted you. It is physically and emotionally damaging. Take time to learn about rape resources in your area. Ask your doctor about counseling or guidance through the criminal process.
Most did not expect a date rape because they were with someone they believed they could trust. The best defense is to keep a level head. Arm yourself with knowledge before you go out, learn about your surroundings, and protect yourself from harm.
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
Canada Safety Council
Date rape drugs fact sheet. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/date-rape-drugs.html. Updated July 16, 2014. Accessed October 21, 2014.
Dating violence. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/violence-against-women/types-of-violence/dating-violence.html. Updated May 18, 2011. Accessed October 21, 2014.
Fitzgerald N, Riley KJ. Drug-facilitated rape: Looking for the missing pieces. National Criminal Justice Reference Service website. Available at: http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/jr000243c.pdf. Accessed October 21, 2014.
Date rape. Nemours Kid's Health. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/problems/date_rape.html. Updated April 2011. Accessed October 21, 2014.
Perspectives on acquaintance rape. American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress website. Available at: http://www.aaets.org/article13.htm. Accessed October 21, 2014.
Sexual violence and adolescents. National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women website. Available at: http://www.vawnet.org/summary.php?doc_id=421&find_type=web_desc_AR. Accessed October 21, 2014.
Teen dating voilence. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teen_dating_violence.html. Updated August 12, 2014. Accessed October 21, 2014.
Last reviewed October 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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