Rape and Date Rape

What is Rape?

Rape occurs when sexual intercourse is non-consensual or not agreed upon, or a person may force another person to have sex against his or her will. Men, women and children can be raped. Rape includes intercourse in the vagina, anus or mouth. It is one of the most serious crimes you can commit.
Violence is usually used to commit rape, but fear alone can also be used to commit rape.

What is Date Rape?

Date rape is when someone is forced to have sex against their will. The difference from rape is that the victim knows their attacker socially. It could be from dating, parties, etc.

What should I do if I’ve been raped?

If you have been raped, follow these steps:

    • Don’t wash or douche. Your attacker has left physical evidence (DNA) of themselves on you. As much as you just want that person off of you, it is important not to wash, this includes your clothing. The police will be able to use this evidence to identify and convict your attacker.
    • Phone the police and report what has happened. If you are not comfortable with calling the police call your local rape center. They will be able to guide you through what to do and give you assistance.
  • Go to an emergency room. While there, you will be examined. A doctor will make a record of your injuries and treat you for them (you may not have any external injuries, but it is important to be checked). Samples of any fluid left in the vagina or anus (especially semen) will be gathered. Hair, pieces of clothing, or other objects left by the attacker may also be taken. These samples may be used to help identify and convict your attacker. Even if your attacker used a condom they may have left enough evidence on you to help the police.

This is very serious and you need to report this. Remember if it has happened to you, that person might go out and do it to other people as well. You want this person to be stopped.
Always remember that this is not your fault, you are the victim. You should not be embarrassed or scared, you need to take your personal power back. You can fight back, but you need all the evidence you have to make sure this person is brought to justice.

I’m not sure if I was raped.

If you aren’t sure if what happened to you was rape, a rape crisis counselor or doctor can help you sort it out.
Rape hurts people emotionally, so many victims feel like it was their fault. It is never the victims fault. Alternatively you may not have any emotions towards the situation, but you may develop painful feelings later one. It is important to get physical and emotional help early on so you can get through this.

What does rape do to you emotionally and physically?

Rape hurts the victim physically and emotionally.
Physical harm can include:

  • Broken bones, bruises, cuts, and other injuries from violent acts.
  • Injuries to the genitals and/or anus.
  • Being exposed to diseases that can be passed on during sex, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
  • Unwanted pregnancy.

Emotional harm can include:

  • Shame
  • Embarrassment
  • Guilt
  • Feelings of worthlessness

You also may have problems with:

  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Trust
  • Attraction to men (if the attacker was a man)
  • Consensual sex later in life (inability to enjoy sex without intrusive recollections of the abuse)
  • Flashbacks (reliving the rape in your mind)
  • Nightmares
  • Falling and staying asleep

Will I ever feel better?
You can be left with physical and emotional scars for a long time, and some victims find it never goes away. Counselling and support groups can help with long term emotions.

How can I protect myself from rape?

There is no guarantee against rape. But there are several things you can do to help avoid it or minimize your chances of it happening to you.

    • Be responsible for your actions. Don’t go to a party alone, get drunk, and ask a stranger to take you home. Always stay in control, avoid excessive drinking. When you go with friends, make sure you leave with the same friends.
    • Never leave your drink unattended anywhere, even a friends house, people do get raped by people they know. If you leave your drink alone, throw it out and get a new one.
    • Don’t walk alone at night. It takes just one trip alone to your car to be attacked. Walk with a friend or co-worker or call for a ride. If you are on campus, there is often campus security that will walk you to your car.
    • Don’t get talked into something you don’t want to do. Make your own choices and stick with them. Do not feel pressured, don’t give in because you are scared of hurting the other person.
    • Learn ways to defend yourself in the case of an attack. Take a self defense class, it might just save you. See if it is legal to carry pepper spray or dog spray. You can keep a knife on you (if it’s legal) but remember you need to get really close to that person to hurt them with a knife, it’s best to have a weapon you can use at a distance, or that gives you the ability of a quick escape.
    • Trust your feelings. If a person seems threatening to you, don’t continue the friendship/conversation.
  • Learn about rape and why people rape. This knowledge will make you more alert to possible attackers. Many attackers don’t rape because of sex, it is often the feeling of power that they want.