Sep 282003
 
Authors: J.J. Babb

“I was date raped.”

It has taken me two years to make this statement. Before now I

never considered what occurred two years ago in Boulder rape. I

denied what happened and convinced myself it had been consensual

sex.

This is not unusual. According to the study Sexual Victimization

of College Women, about half of all women raped each year do not

consider themselves victims. I am not sure why it took me two years

to admit what happened to me was rape. Maybe it was because I was

so close to the man who raped me I denied the significance of the

event. Maybe it was because I was so shocked by the betrayal of

trust; I couldn’t face the reality of that night. But whatever the

reasons were, they were wrong.

Rape is rape: by a friend, date, boyfriend, husband or

acquaintance; unwanted sex is still rape. It is also considered

rape by law in Colorado if a woman is intoxicated or high on drugs,

and a man has sex with her because she cannot consent to sex

(Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault). The punishment for

acquaintance/date rape is just as serious as stranger rape-it is by

no means a lesser crime.

“I am not alone.”

One woman is raped every two minutes in America, (U.S.

Department of Justice), and 86 percent of these women are

victimized by someone they know, (CCASA). This means one out of

every six women in the U.S. have been the victim of rape or

attempted rape in her lifetime, and 60 percent by the time she is

18 years old (CCASA).

The problem here is women never discuss rape, especially date

rape. We hide from the reality of it; we pretend it won’t happen to

us, or someone we know. But as the facts I wrote above show, this

perception is wrong. Either you, or someone close to you has been

raped, and most likely date raped. We need to stop whispering about

this ongoing violence in our society. We need to discuss rape, date

rape, sexual assault and abuse. We need to realize it happens, and

unfortunately a lot.

We need to know we are not alone.

“It was not my fault.”

Rape is never the woman’s fault.

It is not her fault if she was walking alone at night, in a dark

alley, with bad guys all around. It is not her fault if she got

drunk at a party and went home with someone she just met. It is not

her fault if she is spending time with a friend, one who decides

they should be more than friends.

There are things you can do to increase your safety, and thus

reduce the chance of being raped. These include avoiding

intoxication on a date, being alone in a stranger’s room, or being

alone with someone on a first date.

But no matter what, rape is never the woman’s fault.

“I should have reported the rape.”

Not only is date rape unrecognized as rape because women are

afraid to call it such, but also because women do not go to the

police after being raped. Women are also afraid to go to court and

face their accused rapist.

It is true acquaintance and date rapes that are difficult to

prosecute. Nationally, only 16 percent of all rape cases end in

convictions, and even less when just looking at date rapes (Abuse,

Rape and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection,

www.aardvarc.org).

But even if the man is not convicted, you have stood up publicly

against date rape, something very few of us do. You will have also

made a stand in society that date rape is rape, and wrong.

Whether or not the perpetrator is convicted of the crime he

committed, it still happened. A non-guilty ruling does not mean you

were not raped, nor does it lessen the emotional and/or physical

trauma you may have suffered.

“There is help out there.”

Now that you know it was rape, that you are not alone and that

it wasn’t your fault you can begin the healing process. Although it

may be too late to report the rape to the police, there is still

help out there. For the Colorado Rape Hotline call 1-800-522-6484

or in Larimer County call 472-4200. Web sites www.ccasa.org and

www.aardvarc.org are also great resources. Just remember there are

people that can help, and people who understand. Just remember you

are not alone.

Web sites for the web:

www.ccasa.org

www.aardvarc.org

CCASA

 

 

 

 

 

 

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