Date/Acquaintance Rape and Gang/Group Rape
- Date/acquaintance rape occurs when you are forced or manipulated into having sex against your will by someone you know, whether that person is your date, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a significant other, an acquaintance, a friend, a neighbor, a classmate, a co-worker, or a teammate. This is the most common form of sexual assault.
- Gang/group rape is defined as a sexual offense by more than one perpetrator. Peer pressure to participate in the sexual offense is a key factor in gang/group rape. Be aware that use of alcohol and/or drugs contributes to instances of such rape.
Protection Strategies: Date/Acquaintance Rape and Gang/Group Rape
- Communicate your expectations and limits, and demand that they be respected.
- When a person says “no,” they are 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 any time.
- An absence of “no” does not equal “yes.” Silence could mean many things other than “yes.” It could mean fear of saying “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 they are not being direct or if you are receiving 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 them, you may be guilty of rape.
- Avoid the use of drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol can impair your ability to understand and respond appropriately to feelings and situations, and can increase your vulnerability by lowering your alertness and ability to react quickly.
- Be especially careful in group situations. Be prepared to resist pressure to participate in exploitative, 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.
- 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 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.
- Arrange to meet new friends in public places and, when possible, go meet them accompanied by 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.