by Kristi Kane
During my last year of college, a young man in one of my creative writing classes wrote a story about a young woman who had been raped. I still remember the opening line of his story written in first person, in which the victim says of the rape, “I don’t know if I liked it or not…” His story made him the target of open hostility among the female students. Two of the young women began crying. I was one of them.
Years earlier, when I was barely 16, my best friend and I double dated one evening with our boyfriends. My best friend’s boyfriend drove a small car, an old VW bug, and during the drive, my boyfriend slid over to my side of the car and started kissing me. I didn’t mind that, but suddenly he became forceful and pinned my hands behind my back with one hand, and with the other, groped my private region. I was literally screaming for him to stop, but he kept at it until his friend (the one driving), realized I was serious and told him to stop. Even then he kept touching me for a few seconds, then scooted back to his side of the car and started laughing. I can assure you that I did NOT like it!
I asked my friend’s date to drive me home. All I remember is going home and getting ready for bed. Once in bed, I lay there feeling violated and guilty. Did I do something to make him do that to me? What should I do? Should I tell my parents? I didn’t sleep that night. I had a sick feeling in my gut that didn’t leave for some time. I didn’t tell my parents what had happened for almost five years. By then my family had moved to another state. I was afraid to tell my parents before because I was afraid of what my Dad would do to this boy. I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want trouble with this boy or his friends. I was so humiliated, and felt so guilty. I just wanted the whole situation to go away.
Now that I am an adult, I wish I had come right home and told my parents. Even though I felt like throwing up, and even though I was worried about the consequences, I should have told them. Ironically, I was worried about what my telling would do to that boy’s future. While I was not technically “raped,” (rape is described as “physically forcing a woman (or man) to have sexual intercourse), I was sexual assaulted. Sexual assault is described as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.”
The Role of Drugs and Alcohol in Date Rape
In the mid-1990’s, the date rape drug was brought to the forefront of the press. Several big magazines wrote stories about it, several talk shows spotlighted it. Alcohol is the most common drug used for DFSA (drug facilitated sexual assault). Often women will willingly drink alcohol in a business or social setting. If they drink to the point of intoxication or drink a beverage that has secretly or openly been tainted with a date rape drug, they are only aware of a potential rape if one or all of the following have happened: they regain consciousness and discover that they are in a different location, they have disarranged clothing, there is the presence of semen, vaginal or anal soreness, they awake feeling woozy or confused with little or no memory of what happened.
Date rape drugs are easy to be found. They include prescription sleep aids (Ambien being the most prevalent), and tranquilizers (Valium, Librium, Xanax or Activan). The most common, however, is alcohol. In 90% of date rapes, alcohol is involved . Practically any drug (either secretly or openly administered), could be considered a date-rape drug if it is used to facilitate rape.
If you have been raped, or suspect you may have been raped, it is important for you to go to a medical facility immediately. The medical facility will treat you, complete a forensic analysis (collecting hairs, fluids and fibers for evidence), and contact the police if you wish to file a report. If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, report it to the police. Seek counseling. Rape is a crime. Sexual assault is a crime. The predators who commit these acts are criminals and deserve to be penalized for what they have done. To not report it, may expose another victim to their violent behavior.
Parents’ Role in Keeping Children Safe
To parents, I cannot state emphatically enough how important it is for you to be aware of your children’s whereabouts and for you to meet your children’s dates. I’ve had times when my “creepy crawly” radar has gone off, and I have not let my girls leave with a date. My husband has literally chased off a couple of boys too. Look at your children’s faces when they come home from a date. Often their countenance and/or body language will tell you if there is a problem. (It may seem extreme, but my husband and I literally have GPS trackers on our children’s phones so we know where they are.) Use common sense. Partying may expose you to assault and/or rape. Use the buddy system. Do not be alone with a member of the opposite sex, or especially with several members of the opposite sex. If you decide to drink, do not drink to the point of intoxication. Do not drink from a cup that has been handed to you. Pour your own drink and keep it in your possession. Better yet, just do not drink. That leaves you in control of your own faculties.
Some of the information, facts and statistics on date rape and sexual assault are found on the following website. Please read it. It is quite alarming.
And in my early college years, my Dad gave me the book, “Tough Target: The Street-Smart Guide to Staying Safe,” by JJ Bittenbinder and William Neal. He made me read it, and I’ve never been sorry I did. The point of this article is not to scare you, just to make you aware.
For those of you who need help, please call the Rape Crisis Hotline at 800-656-HOPE.