Date rape is often a difficult topic to discuss, but it’s definitely one that deserves our attention. Defined as rape or sexual assault committed by an acquaintance of the victim, date rape is surprisingly common, difficult to prosecute, and completely life-altering for the victim. And with the recent media attention devoted to date or acquaintance rape, we have to ask ourselves if this problem is going away anytime soon.
Also, how can we protect ourselves, as well as change the way society at large views these crimes? Keep reading for more on date rape, including information on staying safe, seeking justice and bringing awareness to this type of sexual assault.
Date Rape Statistics
Date rape statistics in the United States are frightening, to say the least. For example, the following data represents date rape and related crimes in America:
- Approximately one in four American women has experienced date rape, or attempted date rape, during her college years.
- Of all women raped or sexually assaulted in the United States, over 80% knew their attackers.
- Of all estimated sexual assaults, only 40% are reported.
- Alcohol plays a role in over 70% of all acquaintance rapes.
In many instances of date rape, attackers use drugs or alcohol as means of sidestepping the victim’s consent. For example, excess alcohol and drugs like GHB, also known as Rohypnol or the “date rape drug,” can leave the victim incapacitated and unable to give consent to sex. Most of the time, date rape drugs are slipped into drinks, unbeknownst to the victim, and bring on symptoms of extreme drowsiness and dizziness. as well as partial or total memory loss.
For many victims, the absence of physical force, combined with drug or alcohol use, can lead to a reluctance in reporting the crime. These factors make date rape notoriously difficult to prosecute, and can even result in “victim blaming.” However, it’s important to note that, no matter the scenario, the victim is never at fault. Also, reporting date rape as quickly as possible is absolutely crucial; waiting to report can often mean diminished physical evidence, less cooperation from witnesses and murkier recollections of the crime in question.
Until we live in a world where date rate doesn’t exist, learning to protect ourselves is essential. After all, since an alarming number of college campuses have failed to implement measures that would help prevent date rape, or make it easier to report, young women must learn to play an active role in their own safety and well-being. And when it comes to reducing the risks associated with date rape, the following tips can help:
- Never leave your drink unattended. Since many perpetrators “spike” the drinks of their victims, leaving a drink unattended is a major no-no. Also, if someone offers to buy you a drink, watch as it’s being prepared, and take it from the server, yourself.
- Use the buddy system. When going to a party or out for drinks, always take along a trusted friend. Together, you can watch each others’ drinks, make sure you both make it home safely, and keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.
- Be aware at all times. Be aware of your surroundings, and also be on alert for any symptoms of drowsiness or dizziness.
- Watch your alcohol intake. Drinking to excess can result in a number of complications, just one being an inability to protect yourself from date rape. Pace yourself, and remember to eat, and drink plenty of water.
- Don’t be afraid to get help. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, for any reason, don’t be afraid to leave or get help, immediately.
Date rape is a serious issue that demands our attention. And while this type of crime is common, the tips provided here can help women raise awareness and protect themselves from acquaintance rape and other types of sexual assault.