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Nothing — not even previous consensual sex — entitles anyone to force others to perform sexual acts. Without consent, forcing sexual contact is a crime. Date rape is a betrayal of trust and causes long-lasting emotional injuries. Date rape or acquaintance rape is about power, control, and anger — not romance.

Date rape can happen in homosexual relationships as well as heterosexual ones. Although it is less frequent, men can also be the victim of rape. It is still a crime and the victim still needs to get medical attention and counseling as soon as possible.

Preventing date rape

  • Be clear about what, if any, sexual behavior you are comfortable with and keep talking as you get deeper into a relationship.
  • Don't use alcohol or other drugs — they decrease your ability to take care of yourself and make sensible decisions.
  • Trust your gut feelings. If a place or the way your date acts makes you nervous or uneasy, leave. Always take enough money for a phone call for help.
  • Check out a first date or blind date with friends. Meet in and go to public places. Take pubic transportation or drive your own car.
  • Leave social events with friends not with someone you just met or don't know well.
  • Always watch your drink and never leave it unattended. Don't accept beverages from someone you don't know and trust.
  • Accept a person's decision when he or she says "no."

If date rape happens...

Remember that rape is rape. The victim is not to blame. Remember that, and know that action against the rapist can prevent others from becoming victims.

  • Get help immediately. Phone the police, a friend, a rape crisis center, a relative. Don't isolate yourself, don't feel guilty or ashamed, and don't try to ignore it. It is a crime that should be reported.
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible. Do not shower, wash, douche, or change your clothes. Valuable evidence could be destroyed.
  • Get counseling to help you through the recovery process. Rape is a traumatic experience and trained counselors can make recovery easier and quicker.
  • If you think you've been sexually assaulted under the influence of a date rape drug, get medical help immediately. Try not to urinate before providing any urine samples. If possible, collect any containers from which you drank.

What are "date rape drugs"?

Rohypnol and GHB are called "date rape drugs" because when they are slipped into someone's drink, a sexual assault can take place without the victim being able to remember what happened.

  • Rohypnol ("roofies," "roopies," "circles," "the forget pills") works like a tranquilizer. It causes muscle weakness, fatigue, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination and judgment, and amnesia that lasts up to 24 hours. It looks like aspirin — small, white, and round.
  • GHB (also known as "liquid X," "salt water," or "scoop") also causes quick sedation. Its effects are drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, coma, and death. Its most common form is a clear liquid, although it also can be a white, grainy powder.

If it happens to someone you know

  •  Believe him or her.
  • Ask how you can help.
  • Offer comfort and support. Go with the victim to the hospital, police station, or counseling center.
  • Remind the victim that he or she is not at fault.

 

If you have been the victim of a sexual assault, we encourage you to call 9-1-1 immediately.

24-hour hotlines

Western Washington (KCSARC)
1 (888) 99-VOICE

National Sexual Assault Hotline
1 (800) 656-HOPE