Date Rape


The term "date rape" in and of itself is a controversial subject. Unlike the term "forcible rape", date rape is a less harsh term that often suggests that the victim, typically female, has played a role in her assault and shares blame and responsibility for the violation of her person. Because the violation specifically applies to a rape victim who has a preexisting relationship with the offender, attempts are made to attribute the unwanted sexual violation to a miscommunication. The reality is that 2/3 of all rape victims have a preexisting relationship with the offender. The offender is someone that the rape victims trusts and has a relationship with. Very few rapes are what we term "stranger rapes" in which the victim and the rapist do not know one another. The term "date rape" and the implications that follow are dangerous; it serves to blame victims and help excuse rapists.

Rape in the most basic sense is the forced vaginal penetration without the consent of the woman. In California, rape is defined in [WWW]Penal Code sections 261-269. The state also has corresponding criminal statutes governing forced oral copulation and forced sodomy.

Historically, rape was defined under federal law as requiring vaginal penetration. In early 2012, however, it was redefined to include oral copulation and anal penetration.

While efforts have been made to advance the "no means no" campaign and slogan, what it fails to recognize is that women do not respond the same way to sexual violation. The perspective needs to shift to emphasize the importance of gaining consent from a sexual partner; that is to say only "yes means yes". A person is rendered incapable of consenting to a sexual act when they are intoxicated, unconscious or outside the age of consent (defined differently on a state to state basis) or is forced to participate (not consent) through threat of violence.

By law, the University is required to publish its sexual assault statistics in an annual Clery Report. UCD Statistics of sex related crimes may be found [WWW]here, courtesy of the Campus Violence Prevention Program. Statistics are available at local law enforcement agencies as well. However, rape is the most under-reported crime in the country. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates that 54% of rapes are not reported to law enforcement.


What you can do

Our culture is one in which rape is, if not condoned, then excused. The onus is on the victim to avoid being violated, rather than offender to not participate in violating the victim. While these ideas reinforce the components of a rape culture, the unfortunate reality is that some of these suggestions are helpful. What should also be stated here is that failure to follow these "rules" does not make a victim responsible for their violation.

What you can do, Part 2

This list, adapted from Rape Crisis Scotland, challenges the assumptions implicit in rape culture by shifting responsibility for preventing rape from the victim to the perpetrator.

Helpful information for rape survivors and their loved ones

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