Acquaintance Rape Prevention
People are usually sexually assaulted by friends, neighbors, dates, acquaintances, co-workers, family members, service people, and other people they know. Such situations are called “acquaintance rape.” This is the most common form of sexual assault. On college campuses, victims know their assailants more than 80 percent of the time.
- It is NEVER OK to force yourself on a woman, even if…
- you think she’s been teasing and leading you on
- you paid for the date
- she asked you out
- you have heard women say No but mean Yes
- you think it is “manly” to use force or coercion to get your way, or
- you think that she will expect some force or coercion.
- Whenever a woman is forced, against her will, to submit to unwanted sexual relations, it is rape — and not a successful seduction by a lover, friend, neighbor, acquaintance or stranger.
- Be aware of stereotypes that set you up into acting in forceful or coercive ways, such as “aggressive behavior is masculine.” Don’t get trapped by these roles.
- Be honest: communicate what you want honestly, assertively and respectfully. That means speaking your needs and listening to other person’s needs.
- Remember — No means No.
- Be aware that force can be emotional coercion and intimidation as well as physical force.
- If a woman is unable to give consent (i.e., is drunk) it is still rape.
- You don’t always have to be “in charge” or make all the decisions.
- Physical affection does not always have to lead to sex.
- Rape is a crime of violence. It is motivated by the desire to control, dominate, and humiliate, not by sex.
- Know your rights in any social situation. You have the right:
- to be concerned about yourself, and not worry about taking care of others
- to do only what you want to do
- to say NO.
- Be aware of your feelings and express them assertively.
- Say No when you mean No; say Yes when you mean Yes. Use eye contact and tone of voice to show you mean what you say. When you feel threatened by either a stranger or an acquaintance put yourself above rules of etiquette and social norms. Be willing to make a scene, if necessary, to get out of a troubling encounter.
- Trust your instincts: Be aware of specific situations in which you do not feel relaxed and in charge.
- Make decisions for yourself. Decide in advance what you will tolerate. Set limits and take steps to cut off interactions that exceed them.
- Be aware of female stereotypes that prevent you from expressing yourself; such as “anger is unfeminine,” or “being passive is feminine.” Don’t allow yourself to be trapped by them.
- Be alert to what is going on around you.
- Support your friends — don’t pressure them when they are unsure about a situation. If a friend asks you to leave with her from a party because she is uncomfortable — help her out.
- Stand up for yourself.
- Rape is not the victim’s fault. It is not sex, it is violence.
- Nobody asks for or deserves rape.
- Victims do not cause rape. Rapists cause rape.
- Submission to a rapist out of fear is not consent and does not imply failure on the part of the victim.
- — Reprinted with permission from The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
GC counseling and health service personnel are available to students wishing to discuss issues regarding sexuality or sexual behavior. These conversations will be held in strict confidence.