Is It Rape?

When most people stop to think about rape, they tend to imagine a stranger jumping out of the bushes at night to force sex on an unwitting victim. But the truth is half of all rape victims knew their attacker prior to the event. Another surprising fact is that while it is most often females who are raped, men can also become rape victims.

Most of the time, dates and relationships, or friendships, for that matter, don't lead to violent sexual assault. But sometimes it does. When two people are acquaintances and one forces sex on the other, there is a special name for the act: date rape.

There is an implication that if two people are well-acquainted, or if they have been intimate in the past, that date rape cannot occur. But any time sex is forced upon an unwilling individual, this is rape. No one has the right to demand sex from another person. No relationship bestows this right.

Violent Aggression

There is a pervasive misunderstanding that rape is about an extreme need for sex or is an expression of intense passion. But rape has nothing to do with passion and little to do with sex. The act of rape is one of violence and aggression.

There are those who believe that rape is invited by the behavior or dress of the victim. There is no truth to these allegations. A rape victim is blameless. The rapist is the only one who is to blame when someone is raped. This doesn't change if the victim dated the rapist or had been intimate with him in the past. Past intimacy does not obligate a partner to have sex again. When sex is not consensual, it is rape.

In a healthy relationship there is respect for the feelings of each partner. When one partner does not wish to have sex at a given time, that partner deserves respect from the other. If your partner cares about you, he will never consider pressuring you or forcing you into intimacy.

Alcohol Consumption

A major factor in date rape is alcohol consumption. Having a few drinks can loosen a partner's inhibitions and can also impair judgment. In some individuals, drinking alcoholic drinks allows the surfacing of aggressive tendencies.

Drugs are also often involved in date rape. The drugs known as gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), rohypnol (roofies), and ketamine, go under a general heading as date rape drugs. These medications can be slipped into drinks and cause the victim to fall into a temporary state of unconsciousness. When the victim awakens, she has forgotten the details leading up to the rape and has no recall of the actual event. Men and women who have fallen under the influence of these drugs later report a feeling of paralysis, blurred vision, and amnesia. All of these drugs, when mixed with alcohol, become toxic and can be fatal.

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