inside might have to do with the sexual assault. He referred to the experience I described to him in one of our sessions as "date rape" (now it seems that the term "acquaintance rape" is more frequently used).
I remember going home and typing out "date rape" into google. Nothing that came up was useful. Everything that popped up discussed various "date rape drugs," such as Rohypnol, and well, I hadn't been drugged. As a result, I kept dismissing my emotions, minimizing what happened to me.
The only resources that I came across which didn't directly target rape through use of drugs were websites dedicated to prevention of date rape. These websites provided lists of ways for women to reduce their chances of it occurring to them. I read numerous times, "don't consume alcohol"and "make sure you're with someone you trust." I also came across other recommendations, such as "avoid men who talk down to you", "men who treat women with disrespect", "men who are verbally abusive," etc. Basically, these lists seemed to high light everything I should have done differently, giving me further reason to place blame upon myself and not my perpetrator.
- Don't consume alcohol?
Well, damn, I can't go back in time. I consumed a whole lot of alcohol that night; clearly, I have to take responsibility for what happened so that must mean I wasn't raped. My world is crumbling because I am dirt.
- Make sure you're with someone you trust?
Well, okay...didn't really think I had reason to not trust him.
- Avoid men who talk down to you, treat women with disrespect/verbal abuse?
Well, what about the men who are charming? What if they open the door for you, look you right in the eye, TELL YOU THEY ARE GOING TO RESPECT YOUR BOUNDARIES BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH WAITING FOR??? What about those guys - I guess they can't be rapists?!
I couldn't find anything that I felt applied to my circumstance. Nothing to help ease my mind. Besides, let's be honest, how many people really google "date rape" if they haven't already experienced it or are trying to help someone who has?
The only reference I could find that seemed to apply to my situation occurred on the ABC show "The View." The hosts began discussing date rape for whatever reason, and all I remember is Joy Behar commenting with a condescending smirk plastered across her face that if a girl is extremely intoxicated, she had it coming. Let's just say, I haven't watched that show since...
Since reopening the "rape can-of-worms," I find myself once again googling "date rape."Actually, a google search of "date rape" led me to the term "acquaintance rape," a term I had never heard prior to a few months ago. Though there is still much room for improvement, I have to say, the online resources available today are more accessible and extensive than they were in 2003 when I was desperately looking to the web for answers.
Out of curiosity, earlier today I googled the following - "date rape" 2003 - and this page surfaced. I'd like to point out that 6 of 8 links targeted date rape drugs. However, if you google "date rape" without the year so that you get more recent links, this page is presented. The descriptions of the provided links for this search mention topics such as "hidden crime," "when someone you know socially makes you have sex and you don't want to," and "students protest newspaper columnist who says girls who 'drink five drinks' and go to frat parties invite date rape." Let me add, only one article on the page is a date rape drug fact sheet. Quite a change since I was googling this topic almost 10 years ago.
I'm not saying that information on date rape drugs is unimportant; I just think it's extremely important to let others know that date rape, or acquaintance rape, occurs without the presence of these drugs. Alcohol, if utilized in a certain way, can be a date rape drug, and I think the more that fact is recognized, the more difficult it will be for rapists to throw their hands up and deny their intentions were in fact to take advantage of someone in a vulnerable state. By limiting the definition of date rape to drug-induced rape, we allow rapists to carry out their rapes by feeding drinks to women (who are often already extremely intoxicated) free of blame.
So often the authorities and general public view rape instances, in which the victim was intoxicated, as ludicrous because the victim agreed to take the drinks. They completely dismiss the intentions of the perpetrator. Somehow agreeing to drink alcohol gets translated into agreeing to give another individual full access to your body. Sure, drinking in excess is bad, but isn't giving drinks to a woman or targeting the drunkest woman, with the intention of taking advantage of her, worse - like a lot worse?! When drinking is part of the picture, it seems that the perpetrator no longer has to account for his actions. With this type of mindset, what's to stand in the way of rapists continual use of alcohol as a means to violate women too intoxicated to give consent?
It's good to know that date rape is being taken more seriously now, at least as evidenced by my google searches. Yes, there is much room for improvement in this area, especially within the legal system, but it appears that progress is being made. And that is a positive point on which to end my day.