|SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center|
What Is Date Rape?
When people think of rape, they might picture a stranger jumping out of a shadowy place and attacking someone.
But it's not only strangers who rape. About half of all people who are raped know the person who attacked them; sometimes it's the person they're going out with or interested in. Girls and women are most often raped, but guys also can be raped.
Most friendships and dates never lead to violence. But it can happen. So it's good to be prepared. Here are two key things to know about rape:
Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol and drugs can play a role in date rapes. Drinking can loosen inhibitions, dull common sense, and — for some people — allow aggressive tendencies to surface.
Drugs can take away your ability to be in control or get help. You may have heard about "date rape" drugs like "roofies," GHB, and ketamine. Drugs like these can easily be mixed in drinks to make a person black out and forget things that happen. Girls and guys who have been given these drugs say they felt paralyzed, had blurred vision, and couldn't remember things.
Mixing these drugs with alcohol is highly dangerous. People can end up dead if they're given a date rape drug when they've been drinking.
The best defense against date rape is to try to prevent it. Here are some things you can do:
If you are raped, here are some things that you can do:
Immediately After a Rape
Up to 72 Hours After a Rape
More Than 72 Hours After a Rape
Reporting a Rape
The sooner a rape is reported, the better. Quick reporting increases the chances that rapists will be caught and prevent them from hurting someone else. But you can still report a rape months or, in some states, even years after it happens. Different states have different rules. To find out more about rape laws in your area, go to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) (RAINN) website.
Rape isn't just physically damaging — it can be emotionally traumatic as well. It may be hard to think or talk about something as personal as being raped by someone you know. A trained rape crisis counselor or other mental health professional can give you the right care and support to begin the healing process. Working things through can help prevent lingering problems later on.
Reviewed by: Michelle New, PhD, and Allan R. De Jong, MD