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How To Prevent Date Rape

Today, Your Legal Corner will discuss "Date Rape."

When we hear the term "date rape" we think of the unsuspecting young co-ed at a party or nightclub having her drink spiked with a sedative rendering her unconscious and vulnerable to the sexual advances of her predator.

However, this atrocious conduct is not exclusive to frat boys. Further, it is only the "tip of the iceberg" of the conduct that constitutes date rape.  

While the recent Stanford rape case and the ongoing Bill Cosby saga have generated considerable media scrutiny, much less attention has been given to preventing date rape; identifying potential predators and the substances they use to facilitate this criminal act.    

Preventing Date Rape

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 10% of all women were the victims of penetrative rape that was facilitated by alcohol or drugs and more than half of them reported their perpetrator was an acquaintance.

There are important precautionary steps to protect you in a public setting. Never leave your drink unattended and never accept a drink from anyone but a bartender or server. Always try to attend parties in a group and always try to leave with the same people. If any of your friends shows signs of excessive intoxication, please seek medical attention immediately.

It's a fine line between having fun with friends and being in a potentially dangerous situation. Please remember only you decide whether you want another drink-no one else.

Identifying Potential Predators

A recent study, "Understanding the predatory nature of sexual violence," by David Lisak found that serial rapists committed 90% of campus rapes and averaged six rapes each. Like all predators, they are looking for vulnerability in their victims. They will display anger or physical aggression towards women. They will ignore your wishes; will ignore space boundaries and make you feel guilty or accuse you of being uptight.

Predators show little empathy towards others. They will act particularly friendly in public settings and try to separate you from your friends. When you are alone with them, they will become increasingly hostile or aggressive especially when you disagree or say no. Predators will demand your attention or compliance at inappropriate times with little concern for societal norms.

Date Rape Drugs

Alcohol is by far the drug of choice of sexual predators. Acquaintances who ignore your wishes and urge you to drink more, place you in a dangerous, vulnerable situation. There is loss of judgment as well as memory loss. When something bad happens, they will be the first to announce that it was consensual or that both of you were drunk. Intoxication is certainly not a legal defense to rape but can impact the criminal prosecution or cause a victim to think twice about pursuing criminal charges.

GHB, ketamine or rohypnol are other common date-rape drugs. These are drugs that affect your judgment and behavior. A predator will typically put one of these in your drink. They will cause drowsiness, dizziness, loss of consciousness, loss of coordination and memory loss and will make you a target.

Remember, a sexual predator can be the 18 year-old swimmer like the Stanford rape case or the older person in a position of power like Bill Cosby as well as everyone in between. The common denominator is the predator is looking for a vulnerable target.

Identifying the warning signs is the key to keeping safe and preventing you and your friends from becoming a victim of date rape.    

Till next time, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner will discuss "it's time to say good bye to the old and welcome the new."

Victoria M. Dalton is a dedicated Family/Elder Law Attorney with the Law Offices of Hoffman DiMuzio. Email correspondence to vdalton@hoffmandimuzio.com or call 856-845-8243.

Please note that Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational material about the law and is not legal advice.

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