Title IX Splash

How to Minimize the Risk of Date Rape

  1. Choose Your Date Wisely:  Pay attention to what you hear. A person may have a bad reputation for a reason.
    1. Pay Attention to Behaviors:  Observe the other person’s behavior carefully.  Be aware of controlling behavior in your date or relationship. Rape is a crime of power and control. Most rape survivors recall feeling “uncomfortable” about some of their partner’s behaviors including:
      1. Intimidating stares.
      2. Degrading jokes or language.
      3. Refusal to respond to stated physical limits.
      4. Refusal to accept “no” as an answer, whether in a sexual context or otherwise.
      5. Insistence on making all of the “important” decisions about the relationship or date.
      6. An unwillingness to interact with you as a person rather than a sexual object.
      7. Extreme jealousy, possessiveness.
      8. Strong belief in sex role stereotypes.
      9. A history of violent behavior.
    2. Pay Attention to Attitudes:  Examine attitudes about money and power in the relationship. If your partner pays for the date, does it affect your ability to say “no?” Does your date have a sense of sexual entitlement attached to spending money on your relationship? If so, then you may consider paying your own way, or suggesting dates that do not involve money.
  2. Know your limits: and let your date know them right from the start.  Your sexual limits are yours alone to define. The first step in preventing sexual assault is to define your limits clearly to yourself and then to act quickly when a date or partner intentionally or unintentionally crosses your stated boundaries. Don’t get in over your head. If someone pushes you to do something you don’t want to do, you have the right to leave.
  3. Avoid secluded places until you know your date better.  Suggest a group or double date.  Meet in public places, where there are other people and where you feel comfortable.  Think about appropriate places to meet, (not necessarily your room or your date’s; these are the most likely places for acquaintance rapes to occur).
  4. Stay in control. Alcohol is the most common date-rape drug. In fact, alcohol is involved in 75 percent of all sexual assaults reported. Be aware that alcohol and drugs compromise your ability (and your partner’s ability) to make responsible decisions. Avoid alcohol and drugs.  If your beverage is out of your sight, even for a few seconds, get a new one. Spiking a beverage with a date rape drug can happen quickly.
  5. Stay Connected:  Tell a friend where you are going, especially if you’re going out on a first date or a blind date.  Always charge your cell phone and keep it on you.
  6. Speak Up:  Be independent and aware on your dates. Be clear about what’s okay for you. Don’t expect your date to read your mind.  It is your body, and no one has the right to force you to do anything you don’t want to do. Many people have difficulty confronting coercive behavior because they have been socialized to be “polite”. If you do not want to be touched, you can say, “Don’t touch me,” or “Stop it, I’m not enjoying this.” Tell your partner, “If you do not respect my wishes right now, I’m leaving” and then do it if your partner won’t listen.
  7. Speak Clearly:  Do not give mixed messages. Say “yes” when you mean “yes” and “no” when you mean “no.” Be sure that your words do not conflict with other signals such as eye contact, voice tone, posture or gestures.
  8. Trust your instinct:  If you feel uncomfortable, leave.  If you feel you are in a dangerous situation, or that you are being pressured, you’re probably right, and you need to respond. Many rape survivors report having had a “bad feeling” about the situation that led to their victimization. If a situation feels bad or you start to get nervous about your date’s behavior, confront the person immediately or leave as soon as possible.
  9. Be able to get yourself home, and do not rely on others to “take care” of you.  Always carry enough money to take a taxi home.
  10. Make a scene! If you feel pressured, coerced or fearful: protest loudly, leave and go for help. Your best defense is to attract attention to the situation if you feel you are in trouble. In an attempt to be nice or avoid embarrassment, you may be reluctant to yell or run away to escape being attacked. If you are worried about hurting the aggressors’ feelings, remember, the aggressor is attempting to hurt you physically and psychologically.
  11. Practice basic self-defense. Knowing in advance how you would respond to a physical threat greatly increases your chances of escape. Anyone can learn basic self-defense and classes are often available free or at a low cost through schools and community context.
  12. Challenge sexist attitudes that make rape acceptable. People often deny the assailant’s responsibility in a rape by blaming the victim. People may do this to convince themselves that only “bad” people are at risk for rape and that as long as they live their lives by certain moral standards, they are safe. The truth is that as long as one person is at risk for rape, everyone is a potential target of violence. People can resist rape by challenging the attitude that those who are raped “deserve” to be victimized, and by intervening on behalf of those in danger.
  13. Stay SHARP, Consider Training UMHB Police Department offers PPCT Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention (SHARP).  This course is specifically designed to meet the needs of women when control methods and assault prevention are required. Principles and strategies for effectively reducing the likelihood of assault through both confrontation avoidance and actual techniques of countering an attack are stressed in this program. Because the techniques taught utilize efficient and effective methods of subject control that do not rely on size and strength, SHARP is a training system that can be used by anyone who is interested in personal safety. The course is offer by SHARP instructors from the UMHB Police Department.  For more information or to schedule a SHARP class, contact the UMHB Police Department.
Susan Owens

Susan Owens, Title IX Coordinator
Email: susan.owens@umhb.edu

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
900 College Street, Belton, TX 76513
Phone: (254) 295-4527