The Truth About Date Rape And What You Can Do About It

The Truth About Date Rape And What You Can Do About It

As evidenced by the Steubenville, Ohio rape and the Torrington, Connecticut rape case it is obvious that we have a rape epidemic in this country that needs to be addressed. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey there is an average of 207,754 victims of rape and sexual assault each year. And, according to a report by the University of Minnesota Duluth it is estimated that over 70% of rape victims knew their attackers. Although many people try to brush it under the rug, date rape is a reality. This article will explain the truth about date rape and what you can do about it.

What is Date Rape

Date rape (also known as acquaintance rape) is a criminal sexual assault committed by someone the victim knew, often times his or her date or partner. There is a common misconception that in order for a non consensual sex act to be considered rape the perpetrator has to be a stranger. This is not true. Legal standards have evolved. Under most state’s criminal statutes rape can be committed by a friend, a date or a spouse.

Another misconception is that unwanted sexual activity is not rape if the victim is male. Historically, rape could only be committed against a woman but the law on this has changed. Illinois’ Criminal Sexual Assault Statute is considered the national model. Under the Illinois statute there is no gender distinction; men can also be raped. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your relationship is to the perpetrator, or what you were wearing if you are subjected to unwanted sexual conduct you have rights. Under Illinois law any sexual penetration without consent is considered rape. If consent is gained by force, threat of force or intimidation the act is still considered rape.

It is also important to note that if the victim is intoxicated or drugged he or she is unable to give consent, therefore, engaging in a sex act with a person under the influence is considered rape. The 2012 Steubenville, Ohio rape case is a perfect illustration of this point. Two Ohio, high school football players were convicted of sexual assault for committing sex acts on an incapacitated teenage girl. The town, with deep roots in football culture was divided on whether the boys should take legal responsibility for their actions. A judge correctly decided that they should.

In addition, in 2003 Illinois became the first state to pass a law allowing a person to withdraw consent at any time during sexual intercourse. Therefore, even if you are engaged in a consensual sex act once one party says “no” any sex act thereafter becomes rape.

Stopping the Rape Epidemic

Keep an eye on your drink at all times. Some perpetrators use drugs to incapacitate their victims. Don’t allow anyone else access to your drink. If you have to go to the restroom take your drink with you.

Men can prevent rape too. Listen to your partner and respect boundaries.

If your date is too intoxicated to consent this means no even if he or she has consented in the past.

If you see a sexual assault being committed against another person intervene if it is safe for you to do so. If it is not safe to try and stop the perpetrators go to a safe place and call for help. Do not take pictures, cheer the perpetrator(s) on or ignore the situation.

What to Do if Date Rape Happens to You

It may be tempting to shower, but try not to bathe and don’t wash your clothes. Valuable evidence may be on your body or on your clothes.

Consider going to the hospital as soon as possible and get a rape kit done. Here trained professionals will be able to gather necessary evidence to build a case should you decide to press charges. Also, there are medications available that can prevent pregnancy and STI’s if administered in time. It is important to try and get access to these medications as soon as possible.

Contact your local rape crisis center or a similar agency for support. The rape crisis center can help you get access to mental health services and other support during this difficult time.

Get tested for STI’s six months after the incident and every six months thereafter. Unfortunately, date rape may expose you to sexually transmitted infections that may not be able to be detected immediately. Many STI’s have an incubation period of six months, sometimes longer. It is a good idea to monitor your health so that you can get the proper treatment if necessary.

Remember that trauma affects the memory and the body. If you choose to speak to the police don’t feel bad if you can’t remember everything at once. Your memory of the details will return with time and you can process these memories as they come. Remember self-care and time are your best friends.

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    JOYmatchmaker

    I am a matchmaker, dating coach and life coach. All aspects of love, sex, dating and self improvement intrigue me. I am an attorney by day and owner of J.O.Y. Love Professional Matchmaking by night. For more wise and entertaining dating advice visit me at www.myjoymylove.com

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