Get Informed - Rape

Not So Fun Facts

  • 15% women will be stalked during her lifetime (1)
  • 15.2% of girls and 4.3% of boys were forced to do sexual things they did not want to do at some time in the last 12 month.(2)
  • 27 per 1000 women in college reported experiencing an attempted or a completed rape in college.(3)
  • 22% of female and 15% of male victims experienced intimate partner violence before age 18. (4)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Definition of Rape?

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.

What is the Definition of Acquaintance Rape?

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.

What is the ‘Date Rape’ Drug?

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.

What is the Harmful Effects of Being Raped?

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.

Tips to Avoid Being Raped

Get Informed - Rape

There are ways to avoid situations that could lead to acquaintance rape.

  • Find out as much as possible about your date ahead of time, especially if it’s a blind date. It may actually be a good idea to double date the first few times you go out with someone.
  • When you do go out, make sure a friend or a parent knows where you will be, and what time you should be home.
  • Remember, alcohol decreases your ability to react, so do not drink alcohol.
  • If you happen to get into a difficult situation, make it clear that you are saying no.


On dates or in social situations consider:

  • Don’t leave your drink unattended
  • Get your own drink and open it yourself
  • Have your own ride home
  • Avoid secluded places
  • Avoid people who ignore your feelings or try to make decisions for you
  • Always let somebody know where you’re going to be
  • Use the “buddy system”
  • Set your limits
  • Be assertive and say what you want


At Home:

  • Leave some lights on when you’re not home
  • Use the “peepholes” when somebody is at the door
  • Use deadbolt locks when home alone



  • Plan your route and walk confidently
  • Avoid alleys and other isolated spots
  • If you’re being followed, go into a store or knock on a door for help

In Your Car:

  • Have your keys out and ready when walking to your car, especially at night
  • Check the back seat and underneath your car before getting in it
  • Keep your car doors locked, even when you’re in it
  • If possible, carry a cell phone


On The Telephone:

  • If you receive an obscene phone call, just hang up
  • Don’t let anybody know that you’re home by yourself


For a factsheet on how to prevent acquaintance rape, refer to:


Need Help? What Should you Do if You Have You Been Raped?

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


  1. Stalking Resource Center from National Center for Victims of Crime, found at http://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/stalking-information/stalking-statistics, last accesses January 2019
  2. YRBS Survey 2017, at https://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline/App/Results.aspx?,accessed January 2019
  3. Fisher BS, Cullen FT, Turner MG. 2000. The sexual victimization of college women. Washington: Department of Justice (US), National Institute of Justice; Publication No. NCJ 182369.
  4. Youth.gov, found at https://youth.gov/youth-topics/teen-dating-violence/prevalence, last accessed January 2019


Information Last updated January 2019

Disclaimer: All health information on Girlsmarts.org is for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a trusted adult/guardian or professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard parental or professional medical advice or delay in seeking these because of something you have read on the Girlsmarts.org website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call a trusted adult and your doctor or 911 immediately.


Useful Websites


 CDC Violence Prevention


National Sexual Violence Resource Center

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