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Aquaintance rape


Every finger in the room is pointing at me

I want to spit in their faces then I’m afraid of what that could bring

I got a bowling ball in my stomach I got a desert in my mouth

Figures that my courage would choose to sell out now

I’ve been looking for a savior in these dirty streets

I’ve been looking for a savior between these sheets

I’ve been raising up my hands drive another nail in

Just what god needs another victim

By: Tori Amos; professional musician and rape victim, founder of RAINN

Acquaintance rape, which is also referred by some as "date rape" and "hidden rape," has been increasingly recognized as a real and relatively common problem within society. Even though awareness is increasing, I feel it is nowhere close to where it should be. A woman is raped every two minutes. It took me about eight minutes to write this page so far, which leaves 4 more victims of sexual assault to add to our statistics. It’s absolutely disgusting how we have socially and legally ignored this problem.

Acquaintance rape is an epidemic leading to unneeded cases of people suffering from anorexia, bulimia, self injury, suicide, depression, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder, never feeling safe, being unable to trust anyone and having normal functioning relationships. Yet for some reason instead of the rate of rape going down, it is continuing to rise, just as the sun, everyday we wake.

It wasn’t until the media started its infatuation with the issue of rape, such as the Mike Tyson/ Desiree Washington and William Kennedy Smith/ Patricia Bowman cases, did laws really begin change. Wide scaled television coverage delivered the issue of acquaintance rape into living rooms around the world. Then the horrendous story where sexual harassment, sexual coercion, and acquaintance rape of female Army recruits at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds and other military training facilities. All these women wanted was go out and defend their country, instead their lives were made a living hell, as they were terrorized by their very own peers. I thought it was those kind of people we were fighting against.

As these well-publicized events indicate, an increased awareness of sexual coercion and acquaintance rape has been accompanied by important legal decisions and changes in the legal definitions of rape. Until recently, clear physical resistance was a requirement for a rape conviction in California. A 1990, which was in reality not that long ago, amendment now defines rape as sexual intercourse " where it is accompanied against a persons will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury." The important issues additions are " menace" and " duress," as they include consideration of verbal threats and implied force. The definition of

"Consent" has been expanded to mean" positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will. A person must act freely and voluntarily and have knowledge of the nature of act or transaction involved." In addition, a prior or current relationship between the victim and the accused is not sufficient to imply consent.

The problem is society is still, despite the violent nature of acquaintance rape, victim- blaming. "Blaming the victim" seems to be an all too common reaction to acquaintance rape. Excuse me, I was taught no means no, weren’t you. So what’s the confusion about? Socio-cultural considerations are central to explanations of rape supportive attitudes and sexual assault. American culture influences the on- going sex- role socialization of the young, attitudes toward rape, and sexually aggressive behavior. In the book Acquaintance Rape, there was an interview done with students between the grades of junior high and college, I could not believe some of the responses they got. Some kids said if a guy paid more than 10.00 on a date, he had a right to have sex with the woman whether she wanted it or not. Another one was women thought if she was married or in a relationship with a guy, if he forced sex upon her, she deserved it and it was his right, not rape. They say that adolescents are reluctant to label nonconsensual sex within a dating relationship as rape, even if the guy slugs her. What the hell are we teaching are children?


"I was so sick when I woke up," the 25- year old woman said. "I couldn’t remember anything. I didn’t know where I was or how I got there. There was vomit on the bed and stuck in my hair. He was naked, and I was naked. He said we made love.

This woman, like many others, was a victim of a drug- induced date rape, a growing problem among young women, and men, hitting the nightclub and bar scenes. There are a multitude of drugs being used by these perpetrators, but I am going to focus on Rohypnol. This seems to be the one, most of these innocent victims, are getting drugged by.

The "date- rape" drug is Rohypnol. Street names are roofies, roach, rope, R-2, Mexican Valium, and rib. It’s usually dependant on which part of the country you live in. The drug, which is highly illegal in the United States, is an odorless, tasteless, white tablet resembling aspirin. It dissolves right into a liquid making almost impossible to detect.

Though small in size, Rohypnol packs enough power to cause memory loss and unconsciousness, rendering you helpless. It is usually felt within 20- 30 minutes. The strongest effects occur within 1 to 2 hours, with overall sedative effects lasting around 6- 8 hours. That’s pretty scary. That leaves you totally vulnerable, unaware what is happening to you and your body for 6-8 hours. A lot of damage can occur during that period of time, and it unfortunately usually does.

Adverse effects of this drug include decreased blood pressure, memory impairment, drowsiness, visual disturbances, dizziness, confusion, gastrointestinal disturbances and urinary retention. On a more serious note, many people have died from this drug. It has a tendency to cause major convulsions and seizures, which lead to death. This is one of the ways society learned of this drug. Emergency rooms had become suspicious of these seizures, and tested their blood, finding Rohypnol.

Reports of abuse on many college campuses include stories of women waking up naked in unfamiliar surroundings with no memory of the proceeding hours. They may have been sexually assaulted without any memory of what took place. The sick part is some women become pregnant or contract sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, from these assaults.

Another important fact is roofies are not gender biased. Although females report most cases, this is probably because men a more embarrassed to report such things. This drug does have the same effect on them, and in my opinion is used just as frequently on them as women. Both men and women both have the right to seek treatment after sexual assault and/ or suspected Rohypnol abuse.

People have been "spiking" drinks for decades with legal or illegal substances. Even though I have only written about Rohypnol, a drug called GHB ( Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate) have also been increasing. These are the drugs of today, as in right now, but tomorrow will bring new ones are way. I don’t really see an end to the drugging of innocent victims, there are just to many sexual perpetrators out there. Therefore, we have no choice but to educate everybody, including men and children, of precautionary measures and how to report suspected incidents. We have absolutely no choice, but to do this. An uneducated person is an easy target.

How can you lower your risk? Watch your drink, no matter what it may be. People drug sodas and even water. Watch out for each other. Rohypnol can make someone appear drunk, display no coordination, blood shot eyes and slurred speech. Sedation can occur as soon as 20 minutes after ingestion. Avoid punch bowls, who knows what could be in there. Open your own bottle or container- don’t accept any open drinks. Its not hard to do and it may stop you from becoming a victim.

Another very important thing is to tell others about Rohypnol and other "date- rape" drugs. Get the word out there so people can start protecting themselves from these freaks. Don’t be over- confident in your environment, friends drug friends at very high rates; it’s a proven fact. You are not safe from anyone- remember that. Rohypnol is odorless, colorless and tasteless and can be added to any drink- including water. You are your only protector.


There are so many effects on an individual and society I don’t even know where to start. These women and young girls, and even men, get so damaged by this event, they carry this damage into society. Then in return people other than the victim get damaged themselves. Example, a young single mother is raped by a neighbor she grew up with. Everyday she has to see this guy, so she is constantly reminded of the attack, making her severely depressed. This mother gets so depressed she is unable to care for her child and go to work. What is society to do now?

Anorexia nervosa is a common disorder people get in the aftermath. Anorexia is an eating disorder A person suffering from anorexia is obsessed with keeping their weight down, usually to an very unhealthy extreme. Victims are prone to anorexia because it is a disease that thrives on low self- esteem, which results after a sexual assault. Anorexia can be deadly and needs to be treated by professionals. In most cases the therapy involves dealing with the underlying cause, which is the trauma of sexual assault.

Bulimia is another common effect after an assault. Bulimia is an eating disorder as well. A person suffering from bulimia binges, eats a grip of food, and then purges, either yaks our takes laxatives so that the food will not be digested and will pass directly out of the body. They are basically disposing of their emotions.

Borderline personality disorder is a personality disorder. There is some evidence that links sexual abuse/ assault to the contribution of the severity of the disorder. Defined by the DSM-IV, it is " a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self image, and affects, and marked impulsivity."

Self- injury is unfortunately common as well. It is the deliberate harming of one’s self as a coping mechanism. I have personally known many people who have this problem; it is a serious problem with younger women. It is caused by the emotional stress that the person is incapable of, for whatever reason, dealing with their problems. Self-injury is an escape, a way to relieve numbness, and an expression of pain. I have seen people do it and not even be conscious of it.

Depression is common in I would personally say in every case, whether noticed or not. It is an illness, which manifests itself as severe or prolonged sadness, which interferes with a person’s daily life, which in turn effects society. It makes them feel incapable of feeling happy. People suffering from depression often feel worthless and lose their will to live. Depression is the number one cause of suicide. In raping someone, you rob them of their worth, making them feel dead to the world. It should be tried under murder of ones soul instead of sexual assault. Post traumatic stress disorder is becoming a popular diagnosis for rape victims as well. It may be confused by some for depression.

People become very unpredictable when experiencing these disorders. They become dysfunctional making it harder for them to interact with society. They become very distrustful of people and paranoid over everything. They feel, as everybody is out to get them. It’s pretty hard to work, take care of yourself and family, and do your daily functions when you don’t even care about anything and feel as if death would be the only fix for your so-called " disease."


Parrot, Andrea, and Bechhofer, Laurie, ed. Acquaintance Rape the Hidden Crime.

Canada: Wiley- Interscience, 1991

Calhoun, Karen, and Atkeson, Beverly. Treatment of Rape Victims. New York: Pergamon Press, 1991

Warshaw, R. I Never Called It Rape. New York: Harper Perennial, 1994

Wieche, V.R., and Richards, A.L Intimate betrayal: Understanding and Responding to the Trauma of Aquaintance Rape. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1995

Pritchard, Carol. Avoiding Rape On and Off Campus. New Jersey: State College Publishing, 1985

Sweet, Ellen. Date Rape: The Story of an Epidemic and Those Who Deny It" Ms. October, 1985, p. 545

Hughes, Jean. Friends Raping Friends- Could It Happen To You. Association of American Colleges, April, 1985

Estrich, Susan. Real Rape. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985

Rape Crisis Center Of Fresno Website

STAAR website

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