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What is date rape?

What do you think of when you hear the word rape? A stranger hiding in the darkness waiting to attack the first woman who walks by? The truth is most women know their attacker. The attacker could be a dating partner, a friend, an acquaintance, or a work collegue. Date rape and acquaintance rape are the same thing.

Date rape is when either person forces the other person to have sex. This is a person who is violated sexually, against their will, by a person they know. Even if you have been intimate before, if you are forced to have sex when you don’t want it, it is rape.

Rape can be against either sex. The sad statistics are that one in three women will be raped in the course of her lifetime. The percentage of males who are raped is between 5% and 10%. However, the majority of the rapes we hear about are women being attacked by men.

Even though rape is sex, it is not about sex. It is about one person having power over another person. It is about control. It is an act of violence and aggression.

It is important to remember that the person who has been raped has not “asked for it.” Relationships that are healthy involve respect. Someone who respects you will honour your decision not to have sex. They will not pressure or force you to have sex.

Date rape is often associated with 'Drug' rape which is described below;

What is drug rape?

It is the violent act that takes place with no screams and no apparent resistance from the victim, yet it can leave the same scars as any assault - physical, emotional and psychological. In essence, it can happen to anyone - male or female - but everyone can take the appropriate steps to ensure that it doesn't happen to them.

Drug-assisted sexual assault, or drug rape as it is more commonly known, can be defined as the administering of a drug against an individual's wishes, or without their knowledge, which incapacitates or disorientates the individual with the intention of carrying out a sexual assault.

Research has shown that in over 50 per cent of drug rape cases the drug was administered through alcohol and 70 per cent of attackers were known to their victims in some way. It is no surprise, therefore, that most instances of drug rape occur as a result of victims attending pubs and clubs, where the consumption of alcohol, the act of socialising, and the hustle and bustle of the environment, can allow the administering of a drug into a drink to go unnoticed. However, other settings - such as homes, hotels, house parties, university campuses and business offices - have been the scene for drug rape assaults. In addition, drug rape is not a crime exclusively perpetrated on women - 12 per cent of known victims have been male.

According to a national survey of the crime, up to one in four young women who regularly hit the pubs and clubs last year believed they had their drinks spiked on one occasion. Many of the victims had no memory of what happened to them, either waking up with a strange man, or being helped home by friends. Their drinks had been spiked with GHB, Rohypnol or Ketamine - three of the most common date rape drugs around.

Find out more on our Drugs page.

If you think you've been raped

Sounds odd doesn't it, but remember these drugs take away your memory. If you wake up in a strange place or even if you wake up in your own bed and your underwear is scattered around the room, if you have any physical evidence on your body, if you have sore genital areas, or bruising, you've probably been raped.

If you fear you have been raped whilst under the influence of drugs, taken willingly or not - report it! Go straight to the police and insist that they take a urine and blood sample, it could prove to be vital forensic evidence. Make sure you are accompanied by a friend or even better a solicitor. Also make sure you visit your doctor or a GU clinic. Never forget the risk of Aids.

The police are keen to point out that anyone reporting being raped whilst under the effect of drugs will NOT be prosecuted for drug taking and will be treated as a normal rape victim.

It is important to get across that, in some cases, the traces of the drug in the body disappear before the memory of the event comes back. Many different times have been given for the drug passing through the body. Some say 5-8 hours, others 8-12 hours. Evidence in Britain seems to point to that fact that forensic traces of these rape drugs can only be picked up within 48 hours. However American forensic tests can pick up traces of the drug after 72 hours, but their police seem to be using different tests, they are also better equipped and are much more aware of the problem,

If by any chance you do not want to go to the police and report the crime then go immediately to your doctor and tell them what has occurred - ask them to check you over and do any tests.

If you need any further advice or help then read the information in the Advice section or the Roofie Foundation's website.

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