Date rape is a misleading term which describes a serious crime that is misunderstood and under-reported. Rape, regardless who commits it, is a felony sexual assault that leaves the victim injured and traumatized. Victims of rape, especially when committed by an acquaintance, often feel a sense of responsibility for the attack and don't report the crime to the police. Acquaintance rape is fostered by the common sex role stereotype that men should be competitive and aggressive while women should be yielding and passive. Experts advise women to be open and assertive from the start to prevent any misunderstanding with their date. Meanwhile, men must realize they do not have the right to force a woman to have sex just because they paid for her dinner or drinks. The Wayne Police Department's additional tips on avoiding acquaintance rape:
Report Rape Immediately
- Stay sober on a date. Alcohol impairs judgment and memory. A victim of rape who was intoxicated may have her credibility attacked in court.
- Drive your own car and ask to meet your date in a public place -- if he hesitates, don't waiver. If you do accept a ride from a date, always carry some "mad money" so that you can call a cab if you need to cut the date short.
- For men, if the woman says "no" take her for her word. Never assume she is playing "hard to get" or that she means "maybe".
- For women, if you mean no, say so and be prepared to assert your refusal if your date persists. Learn self-defense techniques that provide you with an option if you are attacked.
If you are raped, report the crime immediately to the police. Many victims delay for days or even weeks to report the attack. This makes it difficult to catch and successfully prosecute the offender. After reporting to the police, share what happened with close friends and family -- those people who can offer the needed emotional support to help you cope with such a crisis.
To arrange a group presentation and discussion on date rape, call the Wayne Police Department at (402) 375-2626.