Frequently Asked Questions
- I was on a Date - Can it be Rape?
DATE RAPE FOLLOWS THE SAME MOTIVATION AS RAPE BY A STRANGER.
It is an expression of anger, power, dominance and control; not sexual frustration. Some rapists prefer to know their victims. They are able to get closer to them or trap them in a vulnerable position without arousing alarm. They may also have access to certain information about them---whether they live alone, when they're alone, and their routines. The rapist gains the confidence and trust of his intended victim and manipulates it to isolate and violate her. The advantages of this type of assault for the offender include: her trust, reluctance on her part to practice caution for fear of offending him, and the information he possesses. All of these make the attack easier. One added disadvantage for the victim is that she is often unable to identify the extent of the danger until she is past a safety point.
During the intrusion stage by an acquaintance rapist, he may use unwanted touches, uncomfortable looks or very personal conversation. At this stage, he is not usually threatening. He is testing the waters. During the desensitization stage, he senses that she is used to his intrusions, has dropped her guard, and has accepted his behavior as natural for him. She tries to push aside the sensation of uneasiness. At the point of the isolation stage, he has her alone. She may have been raised to be polite and accept the preferences of her date. She may not want to hurt his feelings. Suppression of her feelings and true fears may be something she has learned to do. Women who might otherwise react assertively to the same situation with a stranger may be quite passive with a date.
SOME DANGER SIGNALS TO WATCH FOR: A man who doesn't listen or chooses to ignore your limits is
not sensitive to your needs. This is a sign of a man for whom consent is not important in physical intimacy. If anger is a typical response when limits are set and is repeated, this may be a man who cannot allow women to counter him. The man may be a power tripper.
Other signs include:
Blames others for his problems/feelings
Cruelty to animals or children
Sudden mood changes
Threats of violence
Unrealistic expectations of himself and others
Isolation of victim from resources
Any force used during an argument.
DATE RAPE MYTHS VS REALITIES
Myth: It's not as bad if she knows him.
Reality: It is no less traumatic, threatening or dangerous if she knows her attacker. It may cause deeper and longer lasting emotional and psychological effects due to the betrayal of trust and manipulation.
Myth: If she doesn't report the attack, it isn't rape.
Reality: Most victims of date rape don't report it since he most likely used coercion and manipulation rather than physical violence. She may have no outward signs of the abuse. She fears she will not be believed.
Myth: If she didn't resist, it wasn't rape.
Reality: She may not physically resist for a number of reasons--he catches her by surprise, she fears for her life or serious injury, or he is a friend and she doesn't want to hurt him. Texas law recognizes psychological coercion
as a weapon and does not require resistance if she believes he can carry out his threats and she "earnestly resists" the attack.
Myth: When she says "NO", she really means yes or maybe.
Reality: She means "NO". This myth underlies the societal attitudes that perpetuates an atmosphere that allows and even encourages date rape.
Myth: If he paid for dinner and a show, she owes him something in return.
Reality: Rigid sex role stereotyping that still exists in dating situations puts unnecessary stress and rules for behavior on both the male and female. There is no excuse for forced sex.
Myth: It's not rape if she is too drunk to give consent.
Reality: In fact, because the legal definition of rape deals with "consent", sexual contact with someone too drunk to be capable of giving permission is technically a crime.
WHO CAN DATE RAPE HAPPEN TO?
Our teenage children, college women, men, or a woman who dates or socializes with male friends, ANYONE!
WHERE CAN IT HAPPEN?
At school, at home, in the car, at a party, ANYWHERE!
The victims of date rape have been much overlooked and misrepresented by the system. It is the intention of the Crisis Center of Southeast Texas to bring attention to and clarity to this under reported and oversimplified type of abuse.
The victim of an acquaintance rape suffers as much, if not more, trauma than the individual victimized by a stranger. Due to societal attitudes, the victim of acquaintance rape usually does not report the crime or seek help. Victims tend to feel ashamed, guilty, depressed, and angry with themselves. The trust and integrity of a relationship has been shattered. They feel betrayed by their own judgment. Victims may find themselves in the position of having to face their assailant again, particularly in school and work settings.
LET SOMEONE ASSIST YOU THROUGH THE STAGES OF RECOVERY.
HERE ARE SOME DATING TIPS TO REMEMBER:
Find out as much as possible about your date, particularly if he is a blind date or someone you do not know well.
Consider double-dating the first few times you go out with a male whom you are not well acquainted.
Know beforehand the exact plans for the evening, and make sure a parent or a friend knows these plans and what time to expect you home.
Be aware of your decreased ability to react under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Think carefully about leaving a party or gathering with a man you may not know well. If you do leave with someone, make sure you tell another person you are leaving and with whom.
Avoid out-of-the-way or secluded areas.
Trust your instincts! If the situation makes you uncomfortable, try to be calm and think of ways to remove yourself from the situation.
Examine how you behave with men, especially those behaviors that could be misinterpreted.
Assert yourself when necessary. Be firm and straightforward in your relationships with men. When you
say NO, say it loudly and clearly and make sure he understands your resistance.