What is acquaintance rape and what are the steps that need to be taken if it happens to me?
Acquaintance rape occurs when a person is forced to have sex or participate in sexual activity against her or his will by someone she or he knows (a friend, date, neighbor, classmate, partner, spouse, etc.). Most rape victims are women, but men can also be raped. Many acquaintance rapists use the fact that the victim trusts them and feels safe with them as a way to gain access to that person or get that person to be alone with them. .
If you are in a dangerous situation, it is important to be clear and assertive. Try to stay calm and use active resistance (kick, scream, fight or run). If it is not safe to use active resistance (i.e. if the perpetrator has a weapon), you can try to use passive resistance such as saying that you have a sexually transmitted disease.
Rape is not always preventable but there are steps that can be taken to reduce your risk of being in this situation. Communicate your desires and limits, avoid excessive drinking and drug usage, and pay attention to your instincts .
If you are raped, remember that it was not your fault regardless of what you wore, if you drank, where you went, or who you trusted. Don’t blame yourself, you are the victim of a crime. Be sure to seek medical help and talk to someone trained to help such as the Counseling Center, the Health and Wellness Center, the Women’s Resource Center, or the Sexual Assault Hotline [24H Anonymous Hotline- (925) 878.9207]. You should also consider whether you want to report the incident to the police or to the Dean of Students – the people listed above can help you with those decisions.
Gillian Cutshaw; Coordinator of Sexual Assault Awareness Outreach and Education