Date Rape

Date rape is any act of sexual assault in the context of a date or dating relationship. This page includes information and links to resources about date rape.

What is date rape?

  • Date or acquaintance rape is sexual assault, which is a forced, unwanted act of a sexual nature by someone you know - a friend, a partner, someone you just met, a boss, a teacher etc.
  • 57% of rapes happen while on dates (Ontario Women's Directorate).
  • It is a violation of your body and your trust. Date rape is an act of violence and is a crime of power and control.

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How do I protect myself against date rape?

  • Make your limitations clear.
  • Avoid excessive drug and alcohol use so that you are able to make good decisions.
  • Party with a friend.
  • Choose to meet someone you do not know well in a public place.
  • Don’t accept drinks from a stranger.
  • Carry your drink with you (at all times when you are at a party or bar etc.).
  • If someone hurts or touches you against your will, tell someone you trust right away even if you are not sure that something happened.

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Who are the victims of date rape?

  • 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. (Ontario Women’s Directorate).
  • Women from all age groups, racial and ethnic groups, social classes, sexual orientations, abilities, and religious groups are at risk.
  • The risk of rape is 4 times higher for women aged 16-24.
  • The risk is even higher for women with disabilities. (Ontario Women’s Directorate).
  • Men can also be victims of date rape, although it is much less common.
  • Date rapes also occur in same sex relationships.

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Who commits date rape?

  • A date rapist could be anyone you know or go out with.
  • They come from all walks of life. The victim knows the assailants in two out of three instances of rape.
  • The majority are men. (Ontario Women's Directorate).

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Where does it happen?

  • Most sexual assaults happen in your home, in the offender’s home, at a party, or in a car.
  • More than half of all sexual assaults happen in private homes. (Ontario Women’s Directorate)

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What should I do if I suspect I have been a victim of date rape?

  • The first thing you need to worry about is your immediate safety.
  • Do what you need to do to make yourself safe.
  • It may be helpful to contact someone you trust, a crisis service, police or hospital.
  • You also need to make sure there are no immediate physical injuries that need to be looked after. If there has been vaginal intercourse then you need to consider the possibility of pregnancy (if that is a risk for you). You can get the emergency contraceptive pill to reduce the possibility of pregnancy. It must be taken within 5 days of being sexually assaulted. You can get this at a Sexual Health Clinic, doctor's office, walk-in clinic or at a hospital sexual assault treatment centre External Link.
  • Another concern may be the possibility of getting a sexually transmitted infection. Medication can be taken immediately after an assault to prevent certain infections (chlamydia External Link, gonorrhea External Link, incubating syphilis External Link) without having to undergo an examination.
  • You may choose treatment for possible exposure to hepatitis B (if you have not had the vaccine before). That is offered at the hospital and needs to be done preferably within 48 hours of the assault.
  • You may choose to have an HIV test at some point. The waiting period is usually 14 weeks before a test can be done, however there are times when it can be done earlier if it is a concern for you. There are sites that can do this testing anonymously. Treatment is available for possible exposure to HIV, however it also needs to be taken within hours of the assault and is still somewhat controversial. It may be helpful to know that there is less than a 1% chance of contracting HIV from a single act of vaginal intercourse.
  • Your emotional health also needs to be a concern for you. Experiencing sexual assault is very traumatizing and so seeking counselling is going to help you for your long-term healing.
    For more information, visit our web pages on What to Do if You Experience a Sexual Assault and Community Supports for Sexual Assault/Violence.

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Myths and Realities - Date Rape:

Myth:

Sexual assault is a crime of passion or sex.


Reality:

Sexual assault is a crime of violence.

Myth:

Women say "no" when they really mean "yes".


Reality:

All women have the right to say "yes" or "no" at any time.

Myth:

Men can't control their sexual urges.


Reality:

Men can and do control their sexual urges. It is their responsibility to do so.

Myth:

"I bought dinner- it's owed to me"


Reality:

Buying dinner or taking someone out on a date does not give any "sexual rights".

Myth:

"I was drunk".


Reality:

Being drunk is not a legal defense. You are responsible for your actions.

Myth:

"They asked for it".


Reality:

No one asks to be raped, no matter how one behaves or dresses.

(Adapted from "Date Rape-Some Important Facts to Know", Sexual Assault Rape Crisis Centre of Peel)

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Related Links

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