Self Help - Date Rape

Date rape is forced, manipulated or coerced sexual intercourse by a friend or acquaintance. It is an act of violence, aggression and power where sex is used as a weapon to humiliate and degrade the victim.

A person can be forced to have sex through verbal coercion, threats, physical restraint and/or physical violence. Date rape can happen anywhere, at anytime, to anyone. Studies have shown that college women (1 in 4) and college men (1 in 10) have been victims of rape or attempted rape. Often victims of rape do not seek assistance or tell anyone about the rape because they do not identify the experience as rape, or they may feel ashamed, guilty, betrayed, and frightened, particularly after being raped by someone they knew and trusted. The psychological effects can be profound and long-lasting.

Why Does Date Rape Happen?

There is no one direct cause, but usually there are several key elements involved: 

Men and women are exposed to many messages about what their sex role "should be." Men are generally taught to be aggressive in sports, careers and relationships. Sexual activity may often be the goal on a date. Women are generally encouraged to be passive in dating situations, while still alluring. These sex role stereotypes can lead to false beliefs about men and women. 

Often, couples do not discuss openly their sexual attitudes and expectations. This can often lead to mixed or confusing messages about what each partner wants. Each person needs to be clear and consistent, both verbally and nonverbally, in what both he or she wants. Open communication is important in developing good relationships. 

Studies showed that alcohol was involved in 75% of the date rape cases. Alcohol can contribute to risky situations because it impairs a person's sound reason and judgment, and lessens effective communication.

Some people have learned that aggression and violence are the only way to solve problems. These people are prone to violence when they are denied what they want. The use of alcohol can intensify these aggressive emotions. 

What to Do if You Are Raped?

Contact a friend or someone for support. The Brazos County Rape Crisis Center (979-731-1000), Student Counseling Service (979-845-4427/979-845-2700), or Gender Issues Services (979-845-1107) can offer help. 

  • Seek medical attention at once. 
  • Do not bathe, change clothes, or rinse your mouth. This will destroy evidence. 
  • You have the option of reporting the crime to the police. 
  • Write down what happened in your own words to help you better remember in case you want to press charges.
  • Decide if you will press charges. The Rape Crisis Center, the Student Counseling Service, or Student Conflict Resolution Services (847-7272) on campus can assist you in making this decision. 
  • Do not blame yourself.

Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk of Date Rape

  • Know and assert your sexual limits; it is your right to set these limits and your responsibility to communicate them.
  • Communicate your feelings, limits and desires clearly (verbally and nonverbally). Be aware that your nonverbal actions may send a sexual message that you do not intend. 
  • Be assertive, because sometimes passivity is interpreted as permission. 
  • Avoid going to a secluded place or leaving a party with someone you do not know well. 
  • If you do leave your group, make sure you tell someone else where you are going and how they can reach you. 
  • Pay attention to what is happening around you before you are put in an uncomfortable situation.
  • Pay attention to intimidating behavior such as unwanted touching or inappropriate language.
  • Trust your feeling of danger. If you feel like you are being pressured, leave the situation. 

It Is Never Ok To Force Yourself On Someone

  • Know your sexual desires and limits. 
  • If you are getting an unclear message from your partner about having sex, do not assume you know what your partner wants. ASK! 
  • Being turned down for sex is not a rejection of you personally. 
  • Accept a person's decision to say no (No means NO). 
  • Don't assume that just because some-one flirts with you or dresses in what you consider a "provocative" manner means he or she wants to have sex. 
  • In order to obtain sexual consent, your partner must have the ability to make a decision. Factors to be considered include: age (18 is the age of consent in Texas), mental functioning, emotional stability, and mental impairment due to the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. 
  • Date rape is a crime of violence; date rapists are punished by law.