When people think of rape, they might picture a stranger jumping out of a shadowy place and attacking someone. But in reality about half of all people who are raped know the person who attacked them. This is known as date rape — forced sex that can happen on a date but also somewhere like a party with someone the victim may know, like, or even be interested in.
Girls and women are more likely to be raped, but it can also happen to guys. It's not just men who rape. In rare cases, women rape, too.
Being good friends, talking to someone, dating, or hooking up usually don't lead to violence or rape. But it can happen, so it's best to be prepared.
Here are three key things to know about rape:
Alcohol and drugs can play a role in date rapes. Drinking can loosen inhibitions, reduce common sense, and — for some people — allow aggressive tendencies to surface.
Drugs can take away your ability to be in control or get help. You may have heard about "date rape" drugs like:
These drugs can be mixed in to drinks and are almost impossible to detect, especially in dark-colored drinks such as cola or dark beer, or in a dark room. These drugs make people feel weak and confused and can cause them to pass out and forget everything that happened while they were on the drug.
These drugs are powerful and dangerous, and mixing them with alcohol is especially dangerous. People can end up dead if they're given a date rape drug when they've been drinking.
The best defense against date rape is to try to prevent it. Here are some things you can do:
If you are pressured into any type of sex or have been raped, or you wake up and are not sure what happened to you, here are some things that you can do:
The sooner a rape is reported, the better. Quick reporting increases the chances that rapists will be caught and can prevent them from hurting someone else.
If you're not sure about reporting a rape because you know the person, you can talk to a counselor at your local rape crisis center to find out what to do. You can report a rape months or, in some states, even years after it happens. Different states have different rules. To find out more about rape laws in your area, go to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) website (www.rainn.org).
Rape isn't just physically damaging — it can be emotionally traumatic as well. It may be hard to think or talk about something as personal as being raped by someone you know. A trained rape crisis counselor or other mental health professional can give you the right care and support to begin the healing process. Working things through can help prevent lingering problems later on.
Reviewed by: Michelle New, PhD
Date reviewed: October 2014
|The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network Call: (800) 656-HOPE|
|National Domestic Violence/Abuse Hotline Call: (800) 799-SAFE|
|National Center for Victims of Crime This organization is devoted to helping victims of crime recover and rebuild their lives. Call: (800) FYI-CALL|
|Love Is Respect This site is the online home of the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, a community where you can find support and information to understand dating abuse.|
You can talk one-on-one with a trained advocate 24/7 who can offer support and connect you to resources.
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|Am I in a Healthy Relationship? Does your boyfriend or girlfriend treat you as well as you treat him or her? Does your BF or GF support you in good times as well as bad? Does he or she get who you really are? Find out if you're in a healthy relationship.|
|Abuse Abuse can take many forms. This article talks about recognizing abuse, its effects, and what someone who is being abused can do.|
|Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Sometimes after experiencing a traumatic event, a person has a strong and lingering reaction known as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Getting treatment and support can make all the difference.|
|Abusive Relationships Abuse has no place in love. Read this article to find out how to recognize the signs of abuse and how you can get help.|
|How Can I Help a Friend Who Was Raped? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Rape Rape is forced, unwanted sexual intercourse. Rape is about power, not sex. Both men and women of any age can be raped. Find out what you can do and how to take care of yourself after a rape.|
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