Domestic Violence Day 20: Date Rape or Acquaintance Rape

 

According to RAINN, the definition of date rape or acquaintance rape is as follows:

Acquaintance assault or date rape involves coercive sexual activities that occur against a person’s will by means of force, violence, duress, or fear of bodily injury. These sexual activities are imposed upon them by someone they know (a friend, date, acquaintance, etc.).

Some important things to remember is that a prior or current relationship or previous intimacy with a person does not mean that you are giving consent. Verbal consent prior to any level of sexual intimacy should be obtained. Also remember that just like all other forms of sexual assault, acquaintance assault is motivated by a need to control, to humiliate, and to harm.

Date rape has several obstacles to coping with the trauma and the victims recovery.  One of the common myths is that the attack was incited by the victims clothing or a simple level of intimacy like kissing. A big obstacle is FEAR.  Many fear retaliation, harassment, future harm, as well as harassment from family and friends of the attacker. Another big obstacle is when the attacker is part of the victim’s daily routine like part of family or school or work. This actually causes continued trauma to the victim. Many family or friends blame the victim and support the attacker.

It is important to know that despite the violation and reality of physical and emotional trauma, victims of date rape often do not identify their experience as sexual assault. Instead of focusing on the violation of the sexual assault, victims of acquaintance rape often blame themselves for the assault.

Some of the victim’s physical and emotional reactions include sleeping and eating disturbances, mood swings, feelings of humiliation and self-blame, nightmares, anger, anxiety, fear, substance abuse, suicidal ideation or behavior, depression, or self-harm.

In order to prevent date rape or acquaintance sexual assault we all need to be aware of the three stages of acquaintance rape so that we can avoid or prevent such an event from occurring.

According to RAINN, three stages of date rape or acquaintance rape include:

  1. Intrusion– Attempt by the offender to violate the victim’s personal space and level of comfort. May draw close by revealing personal information or through “accidental” touches and stares.
  2. Desensitization– Occurs when the victim feels comfortable with the offender and has come to regard intrusive actions as no longer or, at least less, threatening. The victim of the desensitization may feel uneasy but convinces himself or herself that the feeling is unfounded.
  3. Isolation– The offender uses the victim’s trust to isolate him or her from others.

Society put pressure on us to be polite and passive. Relying on these expectations, many victims of such assaults may suppress feelings of fear and discomfort in an attempt not to offend. Acquaintance assault prevention demands that we set aside such social norms and listen to our instinctual sense of fear and discomfort.

Information from http://www.rainn.org/get-information/types-of-sexual-assault/acquaintance-rape

8 thoughts on “Domestic Violence Day 20: Date Rape or Acquaintance Rape

  1. Does avoiding any physical contact with the attacker help? Actually I know of a friend who is a victim of this type of abuse from a close friend of hers. She cant tell anyone for fear that nobody will believe her. I’ve actually been thinking of how to help her. Thanks for this post anyway, though you didn’t state what one should do in such state.

    • I can tell you that avoiding the attacker will decrease the recurrent trauma from seeing him but it will not heal the wounds caused by the attack. Those wounds will only be healed by exposure. If it has happened once, he may have done it to others. I totally understand that fear that no one will believe her but as she tells counselors, family, and close friends, her emotional support will grow and she needs that support. She can not carry this burden alone. I pray for her healing and restoration. Many blessings to both of you!

  2. Pingback: Domestic Violence Awareness Day 31: The Unofficial Survey | The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

  3. Pingback: Domestic Violence Day 20: Date Rape or Acquaintance Rape | The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

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