The truth is...
- Rapists can be anyone - a date, classmate, or neighbor, ugly or attractive, outgoing or shy, and oftentimes an acquaintance or friend. Nine out of ten college women who had been victims of rape or attempted rape knew their attacker (taken from The Sexual Victimization of College Women report put out by the U.S. Dept. of Justice).
- There is a prevailing misconception that date rape is not as serious, not as criminal, and not as damaging to the victim as stranger rape. Some people think it isn't "real rape." These are dangerous and false attitudes. Rape is a felony crime, regardless of the offender's relationship to the victim. Date rape is just as serious and devastating to the victim as any other form of rape.
- Remember that date rape is a crime. It is never acceptable to use force in sexual situations, no matter what the circumstances. It is also never acceptable to have sex with someone who is unable to resist or consent because of the effects of alcohol or drugs or because of any other physical or mental disability.
- Rape is an act of violence. It is an attempt to control and degrade using sex as a weapon.
- Although the majority of rape victims are women and 83% are under the age of 25, this crime affects a wide variety of people including all genders, classes, and races.
Gender Chasm in the Perception of Consensual Sex:
Maybe she did not say NO, but did she say YES?
Student complaints about sexual misconduct are usually with someone they know, and usually alcohol is involved. Most often, the male student reports that he simply did not realize that his sexual partner was unwilling - in fact, he thought she was willing. It seems there is a gender chasm in the perceptions of consensual sex.
Sexual intimacy must be chosen freely. Consent should not be presumed and must not be impaired by drugs or alcohol. In sexual encounters, each participant has a duty to communicate clearly - in words or in actions - the desired level of intimacy. Just as consent for sexual acts should be asked for and given clearly and without coercion by either person, so too should lack of consent be communicated unambiguously by each person.
- "NO" means "NO." If your partner says "no" to sexual contact, believe him or her and stop.
- Be aware that having sex with someone who is mentally or physically incapable of giving consent can be rape or sexual assault. If you have sex with someone who is drugged, intoxicated, passed out, incapable of saying "no," or unaware of what is happening, you may be guilty of rape or sexual assault.
- Don't make assumptions about your partner's behavior. Don't assume that just because your partner has had sex with you previously, he or she is willing to have sex with you again. Also, don't assume that a partner who consents to kissing or other sexual intimacies is therefore willing to have sexual intercourse.
How to Prevent Unwanted Sex:
- Trust your instincts. If a situation, person or place makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, leave for a safe place as soon as possible! Never go off alone with someone who you don't know well or who makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Beware of selfish and aggressive comments or behavior. If a person does not listen to you, stands too close, or seems to enjoy your discomfort, she/he may not respect your desires or limits.
- Be aware of what you're drinking, how much you're drinking and never leave your drink unattended. Most date rape drugs are colorless, odorless and often untraceable in blood tests taken more than a few hours after they were administered, making it an easy way for a rapist to control their victim. Be careful with what you chose to consume especially around strangers or in party situations.
- Know your sexual intentions and limits. You have the right to say "no" to any unwanted sexual contact. If you are uncertain about what you want, ask your partner to respect your feelings. Try to be as direct and assertive as possible in expressing your sexual desires. Polite approaches and body language may be misunderstood or ignored. Don't be afraid of hurting his/her feelings.
- Know that some people stereotype and think that drinking heavily, dressing provocatively, or agreeing to be alone with them indicates a willingness to have sex. Be especially careful to communicate your limits and intentions clearly in such situations.
- If someone is pushing you to have sex when you don't want to, say "no" clearly. It is helpful to reinforce this by creating physical distance between you and the person when you are saying "no."
- If the person doesn't listen, say, "STOP! You're raping me!"
What if the person doesn't stop when I say NO?
It is your decision on how to react. There are no hard and fast, right or wrong answers. Most likely your decision on how to react will be made within seconds based on your physical and emotional state, the situation, and what your relationship is to your attacker. Some options are:
- Try to escape. Scream. Be rude. Make noise to discourage your attacker from following.
- Talk, stall for time, and assess your options.
- If you decide to fight back, you must be quick, determined, and effective. Target the eyes or groin. Push the person away, and fight back if the person uses physical force.
If you have been sexually assaulted:
- Report rape or any sexual assault immediately. Reporting the incident can help you regain a sense of personal power and control and can also help to ensure the safety of other potential victims. Please visit the Sexual Harassment/Assault Policy page for more information on how to report your assault to the University.
- Preserve all physical evidence. Don't shower, bathe, brush your teeth, change clothes, or throw anything away until the police say it's okay.
- Regardless of whether or not you have decided to report your assault, you should go to a hospital emergency room for medical care immediately. The sooner you are examined, the greater the chances you have of preserving medical evidence and protecting yourself from the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and the possibility of pregnancy.
- Physical evidence is very important in sexual assault cases. Physical evidence that is present immediately after an assault will deteriorate as time passes. If you do not have an examination soon after the assault, the evidence will be lost forever.
- If you think you may have been given some type of "date rape drug," ask the hospital to take a urine sample for testing. Rape drugs, such as Rohypnol and GHB, are more likely to be detected in urine than in blood.
- Don't go alone. Ask a friend or family member to go with you or call a rape crisis center.
- As soon as possible write down any details that you can remember regarding the attack.
- Get counseling to help deal with feelings of anger, helplessness, fear, and shame caused by rape. It helps to talk to someone about the rape, whether it happened last night, last week, or years ago.
- Remember, rape is not your fault. Do not accept blame for being a victim.
If Someone You Know Has Been Raped.
- Believe her or him.
- Don't blame the victim.
- Offer support, patience, and compassion to help the rape victim work through the crisis and heal.