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June 4, 2012

What EVERY GUY Must Know About Date Rape

From Mike Hardcastle,
Your Guide to Teen Advice.

A Date Rape Fact Sheet for Guys

Call it date rape, call it acquaintance rape, or just call it what it is, rape; whatever you call it, it’s a crime and it is committed at a shocking rate of every 2 minutes in North America. While public education about rape has made great strides in the past decades, particularly in the area of victim blaming and shaming, many guys still just don’t seem to get it when it comes date rape. Sure we all know that forcing yourself on a girl is rape but when we picture this we usually imagine a violent attack, sometimes with a weapon, or drugging a girl with a date rape drug, yet there are other ways to coerce or instigate an unwanted sexual encounter that some guys may not even think about. Often non-violent on the surface and sometimes the result of mixed messages, not listening, wishful thinking, and/or diminished capacity on the part of one or both parties, date rape is one of the most misunderstood and controversial of sex crimes.

In date rape scenarios many guys really don’t feel that they have crossed a line or done anything wrong and this is the biggest part of the problem. Society still sends a very mixed message on this topic with many people feeling that date rape is most often the result of miscommunication or misunderstanding rather than a true act of criminal intent. Regardless of society's confusion the law remains clear and we want to lay it on the line for all you guys out there in a no-uncertain-terms kind of way. Guys, believe it or not it is in your best interest to really get it where date rape is concerned because a date rape conviction is still a sex crime conviction and can follow you for the rest of your life. Here it is, the bottom line on date rape.

Date rape, also called acquaintance rape, is rape that occurs between two people who know one another and usually happens in social situations. It can happen between people who are dating as a couple and have had consensual sex in the past. It can happen between two people who are starting to date. It can happen between people who are just friends and it can happen between people who are friends of friends, a.k.a. acquaintances. You do not have to be on a date for a date rape to occur. The first and most important thing a guy needs to understand is that NO MEANS NO. This is a non-negotiable fact. As soon as the word “No,” comes out of her mouth you must stop what you are doing and you should not persist by trying again. Even if it is a hot and heavy make out session as soon as she puts the brakes on you must stop. Even if the kissing starts up again you must not move things any further than she clearly indicates she wants them to go. If you have even a shadow of a doubt about what she really wants you must stop altogether.

Believe it or not guys, this is for your protection as much as it is for hers. Try not to lose sight of this fact. By stopping when she asks or when it is clear she is uncomfortable you are not only thinking of her (which is important) but you are protecting yourself. For everybody’s sake when she says “No,” or starts physically pushing you away even without saying no, or if she repeatedly stops you from moving past a certain point (for example: she is OK with kissing but physically stops you when you try to reach under her clothes - even without saying “no”) you MUST STOP. Just because she is OK with the kissing doesn’t mean she wants more. Kissing you is not a promise of giving in to anything you may want. Think of it this way, when you willingly give a buddy a ride home one day does that automatically mean you’ll do it everyday or that you’ll also start driving them to work and on errands as well? No, of course not. Consenting to one thing does not mean you are consenting to the same thing in the future, nor does it mean that you are consenting to similar or related things. This is the case with sexual contact. Just because a girl consents to one type of sexual interaction does not automatically mean she is open to others. Just because a girl has had sex with you in the past does not mean that she is obligated to have sex with you every time you get intimate together.

A Date Rape Fact Sheet for Guys

Another area of confusion on the date rape topic is intoxication. Bottom line, if a girl is intoxicated she cannot consent to sex and you could be charged with rape. It does not matter whether you knew she was intoxicated, it doesn’t matter if you were intoxicated too, all that matters is that she was not in a state of mind to consent and therefore it is rape. If you get a girl drunk or high and then “get together” with her you have committed a sexual assault. Again, it doesn’t matter if you are drunk or high as well. Your diminished abilities do not negate your responsibilities. A good rule to follow; if you are under the influence do not have sex. Now say you really had no idea a girl was intoxicated and that she truly appeared to be a willing partner, what then? The reality is that you could still be charged with rape if she is able to prove she was drunk or high.

Your knowledge of her state may only be a mitigating factor; it does not guarantee you won’t be charged. So another good rule to follow, don’t have sex with anybody you are not 100% certain is able to consent. In other words, don’t have sex with somebody you don’t know very well or have not spent most of your time with immediately before your sexual encounter. While it may seem unfair to say to a guy “Dude, you’re under the influence too but you need to be thinking clearly even when she does not need to be thinking clearly,” really it is in your best interest to be on top of the game. Why? Because it is your future and your life you could be messing up and it is not up to her to protect you, only you can do that. Like the issue of birth control and condom use, when it comes to consent and sex it is up to you to make sure you are protected.

So let’s recap quickly:
  • Not stopping when she is indicating that she wants you to stop, be it with words, actions or both, is rape. If she seems hesitant don’t try to convince her to give in, just stop!
  • Just because a girl has had sex with you in the past does not mean she has consented to having sex with you whenever you want it. Forcing the issue could result in you being charged with rape.
  • Just because a girl is your girlfriend does not mean she owes you sex on demand. Push it when she doesn’t want it and you could be charged with rape.
  • If you get a girl drunk or high and then get together with her you have committed a sexual assault. If you do this and then have sex with her it is rape.
  • If you do not get a girl drunk or high but you know she is when you have sex you have committed rape.
  • If you are unaware that a girl is drunk or high and you have sex with her you could be charged with rape.
  • Even if you too are drunk or high when you have sex with a girl who is drunk or high you could be charged with rape. It is not a sufficient defense to say, “I was wasted too!”
Hope that clears up the so-called gray areas on the topic of date rape. Remember it is your responsibility to protect yourself, not only from pregnancy and STDs, but also from being charged with date rape. Don’t blame your partner for actions you can control. You should use a condom and protect yourself from pregnancy even if she says she is on birth control. You should use a condom to protect yourself from STDs even if she says she is clean. You should stop yourself from having sex when she seems uncomfortable, when she says no, when she physically starts pushing you away or when one or both of you may be intoxicated and protect the both of you from a date rape. It is the right thing to do for EVERYBODY concerned.

Writer's Note: This article is not gender neutrel but date rape is. Date rape can and does occur within homosexual relationships and all of the scenarios outlined above apply in these situations as well.

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