Rape occurs when sexual intercourse is non-consensual (not agreed upon), or a person forces another person to have sex against his or her will. Rape includes intercourse in the vagina, anus, or mouth and is a felony offense. One in fifteen U.S. women between the ages of 12 years and 17 years are reported as rape victims. Although it involves forced sex, rape is not about sex or passion/love or caused by the rape victims actions or dress.
Nothing a person does justifies being raped. Rape is an act of aggression and violence and can happen at any time in one’s relationship with that person.
Acquaintance rape, a.k.a. date rape, is when a person you know uses threats or force you into participating in sexual activity against your will. Unfortunately, this is more common that many of us think.
In 2011, 8% of high school students nationwide stated that they had been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to. (4) While it can happen to anyone, seniors in high school or first-year college students are most likely to experience acquaintance or date rape.
Date rape can even happen to teens in committed relationships. Even if the two people know each other well, and even if they were intimate or had sex before, no one has the right to force a sexual act on another person against his or her will. Most acquaintance and date rapes occur in an apartment or private home, in dormitories or in parked cars. Statistics from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence implicate alcohol use in about half of all sexual assaults involving adolescents and college students, including date rape.
Recently, new drugs have come into “vogue” for rapists to use to help render their victims less inhibited. While, many drugs can be used to help decrease a victim’s inhibitions, the term “date rape drug” usually applies to the drugs Rohypnol ((“roofies,” “forget pill”), Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate (GHB, “liquid X,” “g-juice”) and Ketamine Hydrochloride. The drugs are virtually undetectable, as they are tasteless, odorless and colorless. Further, all traces of the drugs will leave the body within 72 hours of ingestion.
Date rape drugs are easily slipped into drinks and food and are very fast acting. They render the victim to have less inhibitions and also little or no memory of what happens while the drug is active in their system. These traits make them very enticing for a rapist to use.
Rape harms the victim both physically and emotionally. Physical harm includes not only physical injuries, but also exposure to sexually transmitted infections (that can be passed on during sex), and/or unwanted pregnancy.
Victims can undergo emotional trauma including shame, embarrassment and/or guilt. Such feelings can also cause depression. Victims can become fearful of the incident occurring again or running into their rapist. This causes them to have difficulty with trust and consensual sex later in life (inability to enjoy sex without intrusive recollections of the abuse). Some victims can also have flashbacks (reliving the rape in your mind) or nightmares.
There are ways to avoid situations that could lead to acquaintance rape.
For a factsheet on how to prevent acquaintance rape, refer to:
If so, get to a safe place immediately. If at all possible, let a parent or trusted adult know. Get medical help right away and call the police, your local rape crisis hotline, or both. It’s important to get help for yourself (as soon as possible) to avoid serious physical and/or emotional complications. You should get help even if you do not want to press charges against your attacker.
If you are not sure if what happened to you was rape, a rape crisis counselor or doctor can help you sort it out.
National Child Abuse 1-800-4-A-CHILD
Sexual Assault 1-800-656-4673
National Domestic Violence 1-800-799-SAFE
Information Last updated January 2019
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