Date Rape
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Rape, or first degree sexual assault, is legally defined in the State of Alabama as sexual penetration of a woman by a man that involves the use of force, or threat of force, and that occurs without the woman's consent. Most people think rape is only committed by strangers. Research indicates that women are more likely to be raped by someone they know fairly well than by someone who is a total stranger.

Acquaintance rape, or rape committed by someone the victim knows, is one of the most common forms of rape occurring in this country today, especially in a campus setting. It is not uncommon for women to be sexually assaulted by friends, family members, neighbors, boyfriends or ex-boyfriends, dates, co-workers, etc.

It is difficult to estimate the true magnitude of the acquaintance rape problem for two reasons. First most women raped by an acquaintance are reluctant to report the attack to police because they are afraid they will not be believed. Second, many women do not think of it as rape if they are forced to have sex with an acquaintance.

For example, in a recent study of adult women, it was found that only 29% of all rape victims reported the crime to the police; almost two-thirds (62%) of all rape cases reported involved a man the victim knew fairly well, and these acquaintance cases were less likely to be reported to police than were rapes by strangers.

The reluctance of women to label forced intercourse as rape is evident in the research finding that only 43% of victims experience abuse meeting the legal definition of rape actually acknowledge the experience as rape. Also, women who did not acknowledge their sexual assault as rape were more likely to have been unmarried students at the time of their assault.

Indications are that acquaintance rape occurs much more frequently on college campuses than you might imagine. Studies at some universities reveal that at least 20% of women students have been victims of acquaintance rape. One study of college males found that 61% admitted to having used some type of coercive behavior in sexual situations, and 15% said they had actually forced women to have sexual intercourse, an act that would constitute rape. In general, people believe acquaintance rape tends to involve less violence than rape committed by strangers. However, recent data collected by researchers show that rapes committed by some types of acquaintances are at least as violent or even more violent than stranger rapes. When rape cases involving boyfriends were compared with those involving strangers, victims of boyfriends were more likely to fear serious injury or death, to sustain minor physical injury. Boyfriend assailant cases were twice as likely to involve the use of a weapon than stranger assailant cases, but were less likely to have been reported to police.

Some say it's a shame, some say it's a misunderstanding, some say it is a lie, some say it's her fault, some say it's his fault.......
It's Date Rape. It's Wrong. It's a Crime.

If it happens to you...

The single most important thing a rape victim can do is tell someone - the police, a friend, the rape crisis center, a counselor. Don't isolate yourself, don't feel guilty, and don't just try to ignore it. Rape, whether by a stranger or someone you know, is a violation of your body, your trust, and your right to choose.
  • Do not shower, wash, douche, or change your clothes, even though that's your immediate reaction.
  • Give yourself the option of pressing charges by preserving this valuable evidence.
  • Seek medical attention because you may have internal injuries.
  • Don't live with the fear of STDs, AIDS, or an unwanted pregnancy. Get medical attention.
  • Seek counseling to help you deal with your feelings. This is the most important part of your recovery process.
If it happens to someone you know...
  • Listen. Do not judge.
  • Give comfort. Let her know she's not to blame. Realize she may be dealing with fear, embarrassment, humiliation, and guilt.
  • Encourage action. Stand by her decision to call the police, contact a hotline, go to the hospital.
  • Do not be overly protective. Encourage her to make decisions and take control as soon as she feels able.
  • Don't let your own feelings get in the way of helping her.
Some things to think about...
Men and women are both responsible for preventing assault and rape. Poor communication, mixed signals, and body language that contradicts the spoken word are often key factors in Date Rape.
  • You have the right to set limits.
  • Communicate those limits clearly; E.S.P. doesn't work.
  • Trust your instincts. If a situation doesn't feel right, change the situation or get away from it.
  • Be aware of sex-role stereotypes such as "It's macho to score," and "Being assertive is not feminine." These types of attitudes get in the way of honest relationships.
  • Party Time? Remember, drugs and alcohol decrease your ability to take care of yourself and make sensible decisions.
Don't fall for these tired old lines... Read between them.
  • "How about an intimate dinner for two at my place.?"
  • "Let's go into my bedroom and listen to my new CD?"
  • "What's the big deal THIS time? We've had sex before."
  • "Your roommate's out for the evening. Let's go study at your place."
  • "You want another drink? Let me fill your glass"
  • "Even though you say you don't want to, your body is saying yes."
Plan Ahead

First date or blind date? Check him out with friends. Go to a public place, a movie, restaurant, or campus event, and with friends, not alone. Speak up when others joke or talk about their sexual conquest. Let others know where you stand.

For information about what you can do to make our campus an even safer place to work and study, contact the Crime Prevention Office of the JSU Police Department at (256) 782-5239.

Another important phone number is the 2nd Chance Crisis Hotline at (256) 236-7233.