Although no one can guarantee that you will not be a victim of rape, there are several precautions that you can take which will significantly reduce the odds of this ever happening to you. But first, let’s look at some jaw dropping statistics from research done by Kansas State University:
- 84% of women who are raped know their perpetrator.
- 57% of all rapes occur while on a date.
- 84% of male students who had committed acts that clearly met the legal definition of rape said what they had done was definitely not rape.
- 75% of male and 55% of female students in an occurrence of date rape had been drinking or using drugs.
- 25% of men surveyed believed that rape was acceptable if: the women asks the man out; if the man pays for the date, or the woman goes back to the man’s room after the date.
- 50% of high school boys and 42% of girls said there were times it was acceptable for a male to hold a female down and physically force her to engage in intercourse.
What can we do to prevent ourselves from being a victim of date rape?
1. Avoid becoming intoxicated in public and at parties. Keep yourself to a 1-2 drink limit. Alcohol decreases awareness and judgement. Being intoxicated may prevent you from noticing subtle signs that your instincts would normally pick up on about a person’s behavior.
2. Always keep an eye on your drink! This cannot be stated enough. Date rape drugs are mostly tasteless, odorless and easily dissolved into your drink. I highly recommend carrying a date rape“drink tester” strip with you at all times. These allow you to simply place one drop of your drink onto the test strip and see immediately if your drink has been drugged. They are very inexpensive and convenient to carry in your purse.
3. Be cautious of large punch bowls, open your drinks yourself and don’t share drinks.
4. Do not give out your personal information or daily schedule. A rapist may not assault you tonight, but could easily plan to do so at a later time when he knows you will be alone. Furthermore, do not allow new acquaintances know that you are alone at an event or that you live alone.
5. Communicate your sexual boundaries clearly. If you are not interested in someone, be clear about it. If a person’s advances make you uncomfortable- tell them frankly. This is not the time to be shy or play hard to get.
6. Be cautious if a person tends to negate your opinions or feelings. This may be a person that doesn’t take “No.” for an answer. If they are saying things like, “You don’t really believe that” or “You don’t really feel that way”, you should be alerted.
7. Be cautious with anyone who displays hostility towards a gender or tends to verbally degrade or stereotype, “They’re all gold diggers”, “All women say one thing when they really mean another.”
8. Be assertive with anyone who ignores your personal boundaries.
9. Make an observation of how an individual treats service staff (waitresses, clerks, etc.) Is he rude and aggressive or degrading to them?
10. Meet up for dates and leave separately in the beginning. Or, go on double dates in the beginning. Getting into a secluded situation with a date you have just recently met, is putting yourself at risk. Do not do this until you have gotten to know the person.
11. Always let someone know where you are going and who you will be with.
12. Always carry extra cash for a cab and do not spend it. This money may be what you need to escape a violent situation if you do not have transportation or the attacker took your car keys.
13. If you are in a situation where you are going to be raped- lie lie lie! Tell the rapist that you have HIV or another sexually transmitted disease. Say anything to stop them before they start.
14. Instead of screaming “Rape!”, scream “Fire!”. More people will respond and try to assist if they think there is a fire. It’s sad, but it’s proven to be true.
15. If you are in a situation where you are being attacked, the most opportune time to escape is when the rapist’s pants are around his ankles. Use your self-defense training to strike your attacker and run! It will be difficult for your attacker to run with his pants around his ankles.
Above all else, the very best precaution that you can take is to TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!If a person or a situation feels wrong, follow your gut. If the worst should happen and you are raped, get to the emergency room immediately. Although this may be very difficult, do not bathe, change your clothes or wait until morning. This can destroy evidence and make it much more difficult for authorities to build a case against your attacker. Physical evidence is your greatest weapon against the person who hurt you.
Finally, do not stuff your feelings and carry your pain in silence and shame. There are support groups to help you heal. Your local police station can provide you with resources to help in the emotional healing process.