The Dark Side of Dating
The room is dark, and her clothes are scattered about the small, seedy space. She is groggy, disoriented and has no idea where she was and why she was naked in a strange bed. She was alone but felt strangely violated. She rakes her hands through a tangled mess of hair trying to remember what happened the night before. The evening started off pleasant enough when her date, a guy she just met at school, picked her up after class. He was extremely polite and movie star handsome, and she couldn’t believe how lucky she was to score a date with such a perfect guy. He took her to a small but elegant café and ordered an expensive dinner. She briefly wondered how a student could afford such extravagance, but she didn’t think too much about it. She excused herself to the restroom as the waiter delivered her soft drink. That is when the memory of the date stopped. What happened between the 10 hour time gap from the café to waking up in the dark and dingy room? She slowly crawls out of bed and staggers to the tiny bathroom. She turns on the light and looks in the mirror shocked at her own image. One eye was swollen shut, her lip was cut and her body was full of bruises. She felt a searing pain between her legs and when she put her hand there, blood covered her fingertips. Panic-stricken, she knew it exactly what happened to her. Her “perfect” date drugged her, took her to a seedy motel and brutally raped and beat her. But how could she prove it? How could she have let this happen?
Dating is an essential ingredient in most young women’s busy and socially active lives and for the most part, it is an enjoyable experience. There is a dark side to dating, however, and it is important to understand that rape isn’t always perpetrated by a stranger. More than 90% of rapes of college women involved someone she knew. If an act of sex is forced upon an individual with a familiar person, this crime is termed as date rape or acquaintance rape. Rape is not about love or about sexual passion. Rape is an act of violence and aggression, which stems from a deep psychological need to control and dominate. Alcohol often stimulates the prerequisite that leads to date rape such as loose inhibitions, lack of common sense and enhanced aggressive behavior. Drugs also play a powerful role in manipulating a situation that can lead to date rape.
The three most common “date rape” drugs are Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine. These drugs act quickly (usually with 20 minutes of ingestion) and can cause a multitude of symptoms that distorts rational functionality. Sexual predators slip these drugs into their prey’s drinks to induce her into a foggy stupor and leaving her confused and disoriented and unsure if an assault actually took place.
It is a frightening reality that date rape can happen to anyone at anytime, but there are measures that women can take to prevent this violent crime from happening to them.
· Avoid secluded places including your place or your date’s place until you trust your partner.
· Trust your instincts and don’t spend time alone with someone who makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. If the situation doesn’t make you feel good, then it’s time to leave.
· Stay sober and alert. If you are out on a date with someone you don’t know very well, be aware of your surroundings and stay in control of the situation.
· To avoid being slipped a date rate drug: Do not leave your drink unattended and do not accept open drinks from people you don’t know or don’t trust. If you are at a bar or club, make sure you only accept your drink directly from the bartender. Do not accept open drinks at parties. Do not drink from open sources such as punch bowls, pitchers or tubs.
· Go on dates with a group of friends while on a date with someone you hardly know. Remember there is always safety in numbers.
· Take self defense classes to buff up your confidence and self esteem while learning tactical and effective tools to protect you from sexual assault.
· Always carry a personal protection device such as a pepper spray, mace, stun gun or TASER® to use as a personal self defense tool and avoid physical harm. These devices are portable, affordable and legal in most of the 50 States.
· Ask for help if you feel you are in a threatening situation. Make sure you always carry a charged cell phone that is turned on whenever you are out.
A healthy relationship begins with respect for each other’s feelings which does not include pressuring or forcing a partner to have sex. “No” means “No” and if your date or partner can’t take “no” for an answer, it is a clear indication for you to remove yourself from the situation immediately. A good resource to learn more about date/acquaintance rape is www.RAINN.org, a non-profit organization focused on educating and helping victims of rape. Finally, it is very important that you take the above safety tips seriously before you go out on a date with someone you hardly know. If you do, there is an excellent chance you will not become a victim of date rape.
*Please check your local and state law before purchasing a TASER®, Mace, Pepper Spray or Stun Gun.
*The purchase and use of any personal protection devices such as TASER®, Mace, Pepper Spray or Stun Gun is the sole responsibility of the purchaser. The purchaser assumes all rights and liabilities from the use of any of these products.