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"Rape is an act of violence using sex as a weapon. It is an act used to control and dominate." But the rapist is not always a masked stranger.

Date rape is the most common form of rape and the least reported. Date rape is also a real danger for teenagers and young adults.

FACTS:

*In 2004, there were approximately 210,000 rapes, attempted rapes, and sexual assaults.
44% were under the age of 18.
80% knew their attacker.
70% of all sexual assaults are date or acquaintance rape.
Unlike rape involving strangers, date rapists use psychological pressure or strength to force sex instead of weapons or threats of violence.

EFFECTS OF RAPE:

- Date rape causes emotional harm, including feelings of guilt, depression, anger, distrust, shame, worthlessness, and trouble sleeping.
- Victims are 6 times more likely to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
- Victims are 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
- Victims are 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
- Victims are 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
- Nightmares of the date rape can recur for months and years after the attack.


My daughter, Hollie, was a victim of date rape by her boyfriend, and this is what I learned:

MOMS:

- Talk to your daughter about date rape. I talked to Hollie about sex all the time and how to keep safe from "strangers". I had heard of date rape, but I was thinking old men...not teenage boys.
- Tell her to trust her instincts. If she is feeling uncomfortable with a person or situation - leave and don't be afraid to ask for help.
- Tell her to stay in control; don't drink or do drugs.
- Always make sure she has a cell phone and extra money in case she needs to get out of a bad situation.
- Let her take a self defense class.
- Use caution when going out with someone new - suggest double dating.
- Stress to your daughter that it's her right to say NO to anything that makes her feel uncomfortable.
- Warn her about date rape drugs - they have no color, no taste, no odor, and can be added to a drink without her knowing it. Teach her these precautions:

*- Only drink from containers that you have opened.
- Don't drink from a punch bowl that can be spiked.
- Never accept an open drink from anyone, not even a friend.
- Never leave your drink unattended.

Stress to your daughter that if she is raped, it is very important that she tell you IMMEDIATELY even if the boy threatens her. (Hollie waited 3 days before saying anything, and by the time she told me, it was too late. We did go to the police, but there was no evidence - it would be her word against his. Four years later, she is still very angry. There has been no closure for her.) So this is very important.

WHAT ARE DATE RAPE DRUGS?

- Rohyponol ("roofies", "roopies", "circles") - Works as a tranquilizer and causes muscle weakness, fatigue, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination and judgement, and amnesia that lasts up to 24-hours. They look like an aspirin - small, white, round - and are colorless and flavorless. When dissolved in liquid, it can take effect in 20 minutes or less.

- GHB - Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate (Liquid X, salt water, scoop) - Causes drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, coma, and death. The drug's most common form is a clear liquid, but can be a white grainy powder.

- Ketamine Hydrochloride (Special K, Super K, KO) - A legal drug sold as a veterinary sedative that causes delirium, vivid hallucinations, confusion, slurred speech, delayed reaction time, amnesia, and coma. Looks like off-white powder.

MOMS RAISING SONS:

- Teach your son to respect girls.
- Teach your son what date rape is, and that nothing gives him the right to force sex. It does not make him cool or tough or macho. It just makes him a rapist, which is a crime that can land him in jail.
- Talk to him about the effects of rape. Make him understand that when a girl is raped, she is traumatized for life.
- Make it clear to him that nobody deserves to be raped; no matter how she acts or how she's dressed. She's not "asking for it".
- Teach him that NO means NO.
- If a girl says yes, then changes her mind and says NO, that means STOP.

If your daughter is a victim of date rape, get her medical attention, offer her comfort, and listen while she talks, but don't force her to talk about details, except for information the police need. She'll talk about it on her own time. Hollie wrote me a letter about three months later telling me everything that happened. It was a hard letter for me to read, but she was ready for me to know.

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