Thursday, November 25, 2004

Everything You Need to Know About Date Rape

Thank you Kelly Robinson of the Guardian newspaper in Prince Edward Islan, Canada for an excellent story on the terrifying prevalence of date assisted rape. Here's the frightening facts:

Youth are particularly vulnerable to date rape, with women aged 16- 24 comprising the majority of victims. Shockingly, the New York University at Buffalo website cites a study that found that one in 15 university aged men polled admitted to having forced a woman to have sex. And in a Canadian study cited by the Ontario Women's Directorate, 60 per cent of polled university aged men said they would commit sexual assault if they knew they could get away with it.

While many victims are forced to engage in sexual activities through coercion, threats, guilt-trips, physical violence and pressure, a popular means of committing date rape is through the use of alcohol and drugs. While many different substances can be used to sexually assault, three drugs are used most often: GHB, Ketamine, and Rohypnol. These substances are used to assault people at clubs, at house parties, at bars and on dates.

Easily dissolved in alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and juices, these drugs are difficult to detect without chemically testing the drinks. There is often no taste, no smell and no discolouration to alert the victim. These drugs cause dizziness, blackouts, sleepiness, forgetfulness, immobility and increased drunkenness. These drugs, especially when mixed with alcohol, can be extremely harmful and may even cause coma or death.

It is not always possible to prevent or stop date rape. If you have been assaulted, it is not your fault. These are some steps to take to prevent date rape [applicable to men too, because they are also victims sometimes]:
  1. Never leave your drinks unattended;
  2. Go to clubs with friends;
  3. Provide your own transportation;
  4. Mix or get your own drinks from the bartender;
  5. Do not drink from punch bowls at house parties;
  6. Ask the bar/campus staff if they provide date rape drug tester cards /coasters;
  7. Avoid secluded places and never leave a club with someone you do not know well;
  8. Always stay with someone if she or he is acting different or seems drugged;
  9. Set and express clear sexual limits;
  10. Trust your gut feelings;
  11. Make 'a scene' if you have to.

What men can do:

  1. Educate yourself and your friends about date rape and date rape drugs [learn how dangerous they are, as well as the legal consequences];
  2. Be certain that your partner is sober and has consented to sex before continuing;
  3. If you're getting mixed messages, stop and ask for clarification;
  4. Refuse to accept it if someone talks about pressuring women/men into sex;
  5. Refuse to tell or laugh at jokes about rape or sexual assault;
  6. Refuse to purchase or condone pornography depicting rape.

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