Rape is the act of sexual intercourse forced upon a person. It includes penetration of the anus, vagina or mouth by the penis or foreign object. It is a violent crime and both females and males of all ages can be victims.
Among females about 60% of rape cases are less than 18 years old. 22% are ages 18 to 24. 70 to 80% of victims know their attacker. In 1996 it is estimated that only about 1/3 of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to police. Statistics regarding the total number of rapes that occur are difficult to determine because of failure to report and biased surveys.
Date or acquaintance rape is forced/non-consensual sexual intercourse between people that know one another, even if briefly. This includes rape within marriage, by a boyfriend or fiance, or by a casual friend, “blind date”, etc. This does not include anonymous rape that may occur during a robbery, home invasion, etc. Acquaintance rape is the most common type of rape and often goes unreported. It is not uncommon on college and university campuses for several reasons:
1) High use of alcohol and drugs
45% of rapists are under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they commit the crime. Drugs and alcohol can also cloud the judgement of both males and females and limit the ability of a woman to make a choice about sex. If a woman has passed out she cannot consent to sex, so technically this could be considered rape.
2) Ill-defined personal and social sexual values
Many college age and younger people have not closely examined their own sexuality. They have not thought carefully about what situations and circumstances they want to when having sex. Many females like to romanticize about getting carried away with the moment and have not set personal limits on their interaction with the opposite sex. They are not firm about their opinions and then end up in a room alone with a man who assumes they will be having sex. Many males have been socialized to feel their interaction with a woman should have sex as its goal. They feel peer pressure “to score”. They also have not really examined their sexuality except to follow the male hormonal urge that more sex is better.
3) Misunderstandings between males and females
Some men think that if a woman dresses provocatively, flirts and goes with him to his room, she must want sex. Even though these may seem like very definite signals to some males, sex is not guaranteed. Many men also do not interpret “no” as an emphatic “NO!” Some women are passive and shy and are not as firm about their wishes as they should be. They feel that it is not “ladylike” or that they may offend if they are loud and firm about not wanting to have intercourse.
Avoiding Date Rape
To avoid date rape a woman should first examine her own sexuality. Under what circumstances do I want to have sex? What kind of signals should I send when I am interacting with a man? Be firm and clear with yourself before you date or go out with a man. Be aware of and stick to your own opinions.
When you are on your date or outing make choices. Don’t just passively follow all of his suggestions. If he wants to go to a room alone, and that does not fit with your plan–SAY NO– and then recommend an alternative. Have back-up plans available for getting home, etc. Also don’t let him pay for everything. Some men think an expensive date entitles them to sex. Be alert for warning signs: He encourages you to drink too much or take drugs. He acts aggressively and ignores your comments and opinions. He drinks too much or takes drugs and begins to get aggressive. If these warning signs arise, go to your back-up plan. Call a friend. Don’t end up in a room or car alone with him.
Also don’t let yourself drink too much or over indulge in drugs. It may seem fun at the time but staying in control will help you avoid a nasty situation.
1. Do not shower or bathe right away. You will wash away valuable evidence.
2. Call a friend or family member who can help you and give you emotional support.
3. Seek medical attention at a clinic, emergency room etc.
4. Report attack to university authorities, police, etc. Be honest about what happened. Even if you were high or drinking, you did not deserve to be raped.
5. Seek rape counseling
6. Rape crisis hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
Rohypnol or “roofies” has also been called the date rape drug. Rohypnol is a sedative similar to valium but much, much stronger. It is manufactured by Roche corporation but is not approved for medical use in this country. It is smuggled into the US illegally most often from Mexico and Latin America. Alone it causes drowziness and decreased awareness. It is sometimes used to soften the depression that follows a stimulant high. Mixed with alcohol it can cause severe disorientation, amnesia and loss of consciousness. Because it is tasteless and dissolves easily in many liquids it has become notorious as a drug that may be used surreptitiously to make a person vulnerable to rape, robbery etc. There have been reports of women at parties who wake up wearing no clothes and with no memory of the previous evening’s events.
Do not force yourself on a woman even if she wears provocative dress, flirts, goes into a room alone with you, etc.
Do not force a woman to have sex against her will even if she has had sex with you in the past.
Do not expect sex in exchange for an expensive date.
Be careful of alcohol and drugs especially if you tend to become angry or aggressive when drinking.
If a woman is semi-conscious or unconscious, she cannot consent to sex. So technically sex with such a woman is rape.
Don’t disregard even weak protestations about sex. If in doubt, KEEP IT OUT!
Men can be the victims of rape and unfortunately it is not a rare occurrence. Men often do not report rape because of the social stigma about homosexuality. Male rape is rarely discussed so many men feel there is no one available to help them. Like women, men are raped most often by someone they know. This could be a teacher, boyfriend, neighbor, date, etc. Drugs and alcohol also play a significant role in male rape in that they make the victim less alert and aware of his surroundings.
Male victims should follow the same guidelines as women in the section “What To Do If You Are Raped”.
Because most rape hotlines are set-up to help female rape victims, men might get more gender appropriate help by contacting one of the numbers at this link.
1. John and Jane have been dating for 6 months. Saturday night they went to a club and danced and drank heavily. It was a great evening. They go back to John’s apartment. Jane is worn out and flops down on the bed. She falls asleep almost immediately. John is not so tired. He massages and kisses Jane and removes her clothes. She wakes up and gives him a kiss. John enters Jane and begins to thrust. Jane murmurs “I’m tired”. John asks “is it ok?” Jane answers “yes, but I don’t have my diaphragm in–I might get pregnant” John comes a few seconds later.
Is it rape?
2. Paula sashays seductively as she takes off her clothes and whispers to Mike “I’ve been waiting to have sex with you all night”. Mike and Paula fall into bed and start to kiss. First they “do it” in the missionary position. Next Mike flips Paula over and tries to enter her from the rear. Paula says “I don’t want to do it this way”.
Mike persists “oh come on lets try something new”. He pushes himself into her.
“Not that way”.
“Don’t be a prude, Paula”. He continues thrusting harder.
“Stop it!” she shouts and kicks away from him and rolls out of the bed.
Is it rape?
3. Tim, Carl and Bob had been out for drinks and had just come back to Bob’s place. Tim grabs Bob from behind and snarls “we’ll kill your cat if you don’t give us each a blowjob”.
Bob whispers “please don’t hurt my cat”.
“Do Tim first and then me”.
Bob performs oral sex on both Tim and Carl. Afterwards Tim and Carl laugh “we weren’t even sure you had a cat”.
Is it rape?
Answers To Possible Rape Scenerios
1. No it is not rape, although there is a high risk of pregnancy.
2. Yes, this is rape. Even though Paula agreed to have sex the “traditional” way, she made it clear to Mike she did not want sex from the rear. Mike forced Paula to have sex. Despite the fact that Paula got away before Mike ejaculated, this still is rape. It would be very difficult for Paula to prove rape to an outsider in this case, but this would be a man to avoid because such behaviour is likely to happen again.
3. This is definitely rape even if Tim and Carl acted like it was a joke.
Rape Network: Rape, abuse and incest national network