Preventing Date/Acquaintance Rape and Gang/Group Rape
• Communicate your expectations and limits, and demand that they be respected.
• If you feel that you are being pressured into an unwanted situation, communicate your limits. If your partner does not listen to you, leave immediately.
• Say “no” to any unwanted sexual contact.
• Even if you are in a long-term relationship, you have the right to refuse sexual activity with your partner. Prior consent to sexual contact does not compel consent.
• If you are uncertain about what you want, ask your partner to respect your uncertainty.
• If you agree to go to a place where intimacy may be expected (e.g., bedroom or secluded area), both parties should state their limitations and/or expectations clearly.
• Do not be embarrassed to do what is right for you. Do not hesitate to raise your voice, stand up abruptly, scream or shout, or leave if you feel the situation warrants it.
• Trust your instincts. Leave a situation immediately and go to a safe place if you think you are in danger.
• Avoid the use of drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol can increase your vulnerability by lowering your alertness and ability to react quickly. Conversely, they can impair your ability to understand and respond appropriately to feelings and situations.
• Arrange to meet new friends in public places, and when possible, go with good friends.
• Tell someone you trust where and with whom you are going and when you will return.
• Leave social events with your close friends instead of walking alone or with someone you don’t know very well.
• Always have money for transportation in case you must leave a situation abruptly, and have your cell phone on and charged.
• Respect a person’s expectations and limits. If you do not know what they are, it is your responsibility to ask.
• When a person says “no,” he/she is communicating their limits, not rejecting you as a person.
• Do not assume that a person’s past behavior applies to the present. People have the right to make different choices about their sexual activity and level of desired intimacy at all times.
• An absence of “no” does not equal “yes.” Silence could mean many things other than “yes.” It could mean fear to say “no.” If someone is afraid to resist or fight back, they are unable to give consent.
• You are responsible for your actions. Your attraction to someone does not give you the right to ignore that person’s expectations and limits.
• Listen carefully. Take the time to hear what a person is saying. If you feel he/she is not being direct or is giving you mixed messages, ask the individual to be clearer.
• Remember that date rape is a crime. It is never acceptable to use force in sexual situations, no matter what the circumstance. This applies whether the person is a date, a girlfriend or boyfriend, an acquaintance, a spouse, or a significant other.
• Having sex with a person who is mentally or physically incapable of consenting is rape. If you have sex with a person who is drugged, intoxicated, passed out, incapable of saying “no,” or otherwise unaware of what is happening around him/her, you may be guilty of rape.
• Be especially careful in group situations. Be prepared to resist pressure to participate in exploitive, violent, or criminal acts, and clearly communicate your disapproval.
• If you see someone in trouble or observe a friend trying to force or pressure someone into an unwanted situation, intervene. You may save the person from the trauma of a sexual assault or your friend from criminal prosecution.
Substance-related rape has been occurring more frequently in recent years. When secretly slipped into a beverage, even a glass of lemonade, sedating substances can leave anyone vulnerable to sexual assault. You may not be able to see it, smell it, or taste it. You don’t have to be at a bar or club; it could happen in any social setting. If an individual appears extremely intoxicated after consuming a non-alcoholic beverage, or only a small amount of alcohol, he/ she may have unknowingly ingested one of a number of substances.
Although the often-tasteless drugs are hard to detect, there are precautionary steps one can take to reduce the risk of falling prey to this criminal conduct. For example:
• Do not leave beverages unattended; always keep yourdrinks in sight.
• Do not take any beverages, including alcohol, from someone you do not know very well and trust.
• At a bar or club, accept drinks only from the bartender or server.
• At parties, do not accept open-container drinks from anyone.
• Be alert to the behavior of friends. Anyone appearing disproportionately inebriated in relation to the amount they consumed may be in danger. • Share this information with friends and talk about ways to look out for one another when you are at parties and social events.
• Anyone who believes that they have consumed a sedative-like substance (symptoms include low inhibition, confusion, impaired judgment, dizziness, extreme drowsiness, or other sudden and unexplained symptoms) should be driven to a hospital emergency room or should call 911 for an ambulance as soon as possible. Bodily fluids can be examined for traces of these substances within hours of ingesting. Try to keep a sample of the beverage for analysis. If you or someone you know believes they have consumed a sedative-like substance, please contact your resident assistant, resident director, or the Office of Safety and Security as soon as possible so they can assist you.
Updated on August 23, 2012