Teen Date Rape

Information

What Is Teen Date Rape?

Date rape, or acquaintance rape as it’s sometimes called, is any nonconsensual sexual activity between two or more people who know each other. It can happen between friends, boyfriend and girlfriend, study partners, people who meet at parties, and so forth. (1)

Among teenage victims, date rape is the most common category of sexual assault.

  • In 2004, there were about 210,000 rapes, attempted rapes, and sexual assaults in the U.S. (2)
  • About 44% of rape victims are under age 18 (3)
  • An estimated 80 percent to 92 percent of all teen rape victims know their attackers. (4)

Because these crimes often occur in situations where drugs and alcohol are being used, many teen victims are reluctant to report date rape due to their own illegal drug use or underage drinking at the time they were assaulted. (5)

Preventing Date Rape

Help your teen learn these tips to protect herself against date rape.

  • Trust your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable in a situation, leave it.
  • Be careful when inviting someone into your home, or going to someone else’s home. These are where most acquaintance rapes occur.
  • Communicate with your partner. Be firm. Don’t send mixed messages. Be clear with your partner what you are comfortable doing.
  • Be aware of alcohol and drugs. They can compromise your judgment, and the judgment of your partner.
  • If things start to get out of hand, leave immediately. Protest loudly. Don’t wait for someone else to help.
  • Use caution when going out with someone new. Check him out with friends before you go. Don’t feel you have to go alone. Meet a group of friends or meet in a public place.
  • Socialize with people who share your values. If you date someone who is more sexually permissive than you, he might perceive you as sharing his values.
  • Be aware of high risk situations. Be prepared to take care of yourself. Don’t put yourself in a situation where other people might have to take care of you, because they may not do it.
  • Talk with your friends about date rape. Help them stay safe. (6)

It’s especially important at any social gathering for your teen to always know what she’s drinking. So called “date rape drugs” like GHB and Rohypnol can be slipped into a soft drink. If ingested, these drugs can quickly cause drowsiness, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. These tips can help your teen avoid date rape drugs.

  • Drink only from a container you open yourself. If drinks are not served in such containers, always pour your own drink.
  • Don’t drink from a punch bowl. It can be easily spiked.
  • Never accept an open drink from anyone, even a friend. The drink could be spiked without your fiend’s knowledge.
  • Never leave your drink unattended. If you do so while dancing or in the restroom, throw your drink away. Never drink anything that tastes or smells strange. Use the buddy system. Go to a party with a girl friend. Stick together and watch out for each other. (7)

What to Do if You’ve Been Raped by Someone You Know

According to experts, many date rape victims don’t immediately realize they’ve been raped. Rather, they blame a “misunderstanding” or “mixed signals” for what happened to them.

After all, the victim rationalizes, the rapist is her friend and he wouldn’t have done that if he knew she didn’t want him to. Often weeks or months pass before the victim can finally face the fact that she has been raped. There’s even a name for this common victim behavior¬†– Date Rape Time Lag. (8)

Date rape victims should immediately take these steps.

  • Call a rape crisis hotline to talk with a counselor. If you don’t know a local number, call the national hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
  • As soon as possible, get to the emergency room for a rape kit exam. Don’t shower, wash, douche, or change clothes. Valuable evidence could be destroyed.
  • Call a trusted friend or relative you can talk to. Don’t isolate yourself, don’t try to suppress your feelings, and don’t try to ignore it.
  • Call the police to report the rape. Many rapists continue to rape until they’re caught. Reporting the crime can help stop the rapist from victimizing others.
  • Get counseling to help deal with the emotional trauma. If you don’t know where to go, call your local public health department. They can refer you. (9)

Teen Date Rape Sources:

  1. Project on the Status and Education of Women [online]
  2. 2004 National Crime Victimization Survey [online]
  3. RAINN – The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network [online]
  4. Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault [online]
  5. Cincinnati Children’s Organization [online]
  6. SAFE: Sexual Assault Facts & Education [online]
  7. National Women’s Health Information Center [online]
  8. Your Guide to Abuse/Incest Support [online]
  9. Hendersonville Police Department [online]