Even Among Friends

Know the facts: If it is against your will, it is against the law.

We want to trust the people in our lives: our friends, family members and community acquaintances. Unfortunately, the truth is that we are more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone we know: a friend, a relative, an employer, a date or someone we have recently met than by a stranger.

Acquaintance rape occurs when someone you know uses physical strength, emotional bargaining, bullying, threats, blackmail, alcohol, drugs or mind games to force you to have sex. If you do not consent freely, and someone has sexual contact with you anyway, it is a crime.

There are many different types of acquaintance rape. Date rape is one of the most confusing kinds. Some men believe that spending money on women creates a situation where dates owe them sex. Some men also believe that women play hard to get and say "no" but really mean "yes," and that women will be shy to tell anyone what happened. Because some men perceive that sex is their right, many women are raped by the men they are dating. It is not simply a lack of communication or a result of lack of control. Rape is an act of violence and of power which is often planned.

Sexual assault is NEVER the victim's fault. It is the responsibility of the person who committed the act of violence.

Women are most at risk for rape between ages 16 and 24. Since this is when young women begin to date, they are particularly vulnerable to being a victim of date rape.