What Is Date Rape?



photograph by Aviva Rowley. ©

Simply defined, date rape is when you are out on a date with someone and he rapes you. Unfortunately, date rape is a very common experience for young women. This is especially so for the young college co-ed who may find herself caught up in the drugging and drinking which is so pervasive on college campuses. Many times a girl may be taken advantage of if she is drunk or stoned. She does not have all her wits about her and she is not as physically strong when she is intoxicated.

"I really thought he liked me. We were dating for two months, but all of a sudden he went crazy, ripping my clothes off, putting his fingers inside of me, hurting me. No matter how much I cried or screamed he just kept at it. I feel so ashamed. He said I wanted it. I never told anyone because they know we were dating and I look like a fool." ...............written by a 17 year old date rape survivor.

There is a big difference between "making out" and having sexual intercourse. Although rape is legally defined as vaginal or anal penetration, rape includes any unwanted sexual violation of the body. For example, lesbian date rape may not involve penetration but the emotional damage it can cause is every bit as real.

Often girls describe being misunderstood or worse, manipulated. Many girls describe how they enjoy kissing and touching on a date but become frightened or confused when the person they are dating begins to force sex. A girl might be interested in a guy and enjoy dating him but she may not want sex or is simply not ready to hook up in that way. Often the guy will accuse her of leading him on if she refuses oral sex or intercourse. Remember this: if you are on a date with someone and you tell your date to stop touching you in sexual ways but he doesn't, then you are being raped.

It is important to be clear with your date and make certain he understands and respects your comfort level. A very wise 15 year old girl once said "If you are confident enough to hook up with someone, you should be confident enough to have a conversation about how sexual you want to be". Even when you are clear with the person you are dating, however, you can still become a victim of date rape. It is best to stay clear headed and not be stoned or drunk when you are alone with your date. Stay out of secluded places and have friends around. Most importantly, keep in mind that the word "no" really does mean "no".

"I don't care if a girl is dressed half naked, and she is all over me. If she says "no" she means "no". As a guy I need to respect that and stop." ...............written by an 18 year old male.

Acquaintance rape is the same as date rape except the rapist is an acquaintance and is not someone you are interested in dating.

Adolescents, especially adolescent girls, are at a greater risk for sexual assault then any other age group. Furthermore, women who are sexually assaulted in adolesence are at a greater risk of sexual assault when they become adults. Besides sexual assault and rape, adolescents are often victims of sexual abuse and incest as well. Many teens are influenced by and believe in, myths about rape. Misinformation and confusion about what makes rape too often stops many teens from disclosing that they have been assaulted. It is a sad fact that many teens who are victimized never receive proper medical care or counseling. Consider the following:
Of the women who reported being raped at some time in their lives, 22% were under 12 years old and 32% were 12 to 17 years old when they were first raped. (Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice, 1998.)

Look in the story section of our site to read what girls write about date rape and always remember.....