Sexual abuse, rape, or sexual assault, is the act of sexual intercourse with one or more persons who did not consent to it. It may involve penetration or not. In most countries it is a criminal offense, and merits jail time for the perpetrator. It, unfortunately, does happen, and causes both physical, and emotional damage for the victims.

  • Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted .
  • In 2006, there were 272,350 victims of sexual assault. (NationalCrime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice.)
  • 1 in 6 (approx. 16.6%) females, and 1 in 33 (approx .03%) males will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetimes.
  • College aged women are 400% times more likely to be raped.
  • 60% of sexual assaults do not get reported to the authorities.
  • Since 1993, reporting of such crimes has increased but 33%.
  • Approximately 73% of rape victims know their assailant.
  • Only 6% of rapists spend 1 night in prison.
  • About 44% or rape victims are under the age of 18.
  • 15% of rape victims are under the age of 12.
  • 93% of the rape victims age 18 and under knew the rapist. Of these rapists, 34.2% were family members and 58.7% were acquaintances.

What to Do

If it is you who has been raped, there are a few things you can do.

  • Go straight to the police; waiting a few days will compromise the evidence needed to capture the rapist.
  • Failing that, go to the hospital (You should anyway), so that you may be treated for whatever injuries (emotional too) you may have sustained in the incident.
  • TELL SOMEONE, don't live in silence. It will make it harder to forget.
  • There are a number of helplines and websites dedicated to rape victims below.


In the aftermath of a rape, as in directly or soon after. It is wise to be checked out. So, in an emergency room, there would most likely be a scan for injuries, inspection and cleaning of any wounds, collection of any internal evidence, and also, a blood test will be done to check for STDs and pregnancy. Results can take a couple of weeks.

For people that have been victims of sexual abuse as a child more of than a one time rape, therapy for PTSD is often needed. PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is very common amongst sexual abuse victims. Medication for anxiety and other residual problems from the sexual abuse. 

Date Rape

Rape can be broken down into two general categories: forcible rape and date rape.

Forcible Rape - Sexual intercourse carried carried out against the victim's will, under threat of violence of bodily injury.

Date Rape (acquaintance rape) - Being forced, pressured, or threatened into have sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or other sexual content, by someone you know, against your will (without your consent).

Date Rape Statistics
  • Up to 75% of date rapes involve alcohol or drugs
  • In an anonymous survey, 44% of college men said they would rape a woman, if there weren't any consequences
  • Rape is the fasted growing crime in the U.S.

Myths vs. Reality

Myth: A woman who is raped usually deserve it--she was dressed provocatively, and/or she agreed to go off alone, or park with him.

Reality: Being alone with a man, in his house or his car, does not mean that the woman has agreed to have sex with him. However seductively a woman dresses, it doesn't have to mean she's looking for sex.

Myth: Paying for dinner, drinks, and the evening's entertainment entitles the man to sex.

Reality: Sex is not payment for dinner or any other expense, no matter how much was spent. This is called prostitution.

Myth: It's easy to pick out men who commit date rape. They look like rapists.

Reality: Men who force sex on women look the same as anybody else. They're people you know.

Myth: If a woman doesn't fight back, then she actually wanted the sex.

Reality: Rape is being forced to have sex against your will, whether you physically fight back or not.

Myth: Intimate kissing and petting means that she has given permission for intercourse.

Reality: Everyone has the right to say "no", no matter how far you've gone, or how aroused you get. If your partner says "no", believe it and back off.

Myth: When a man gets arouses, he can't help himself. He has to go all the way.

Reality: Men can control their sexual urges. Really. (Having "blue balls", however unpleasant, is NOT an excuse.)

Myth: Most women cry rape because they are mad at the man, or regret having consented to sex with him.

Reality: Acquaintance rape really happens. Only about 2% of rape reports are found to be false, about the same percentage of false reports for any other crime.

Myth: When she says "no", she really means "yes".

Reality: This is an old stereotype. If a woman says "no", believe her and respect her wishes.

Myth: She was drunk. She didn't say "yes", but she wanted him.

Reality: Forcing sex on anyone who doesn't have the mental capacity to say "no" (ie: they're drunk, on drugs, passed out, etc.) is legally rape.


Prevention for Women


  • Respect each other.
  • Communicate your intentions clearly.
  • Say "NO" like you mean it.
  • Be aware of the effect of how you dress and present yourself. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look good, but be aware of the kind of attention you're attracting. (There is a fine line between "sexy" and "slutty")
  • Only drink from bottles and cans you break the seal on yourself.
  • Use a party buddy system, where one person is designate to stay sober and keep his/her friends safe. (The designated person should identify themselves to the waiter/bartender, if there is one. The bartender then knows not to serve them alcohol, and some establishments will even provide free sodas for the DD, to encourage them to stay sober.)
  • Get involved--take care of your friends.
  • Take a self-defense class.
  • Use your intuition–listen to your gut feelings.
  • Get out of any situation that feels unsafe.
  • If you are being raped


  • Yell "FIRE", not "HELP"
  • Fake convulsions, vomit, drool, act like a lunatic.
  • Fight your aggressor, if you have the skills, and if you think it won't endanger you more.
  • If you have been raped, or if you think you have been raped, get medical attention immediately before the physical evidence is lost.


  • Don't lose your judgement with drugs or alcohol.
  • Don't go off alone with someone you don't know very well.
  • Don't accept open drinks from anyone, including water. Don't drink from a punch bowl. Date rape drugs are easy to slip into an open drink.
  • Don't leave an open drink and come back to it after going to the bathroom or dancing.
  • Don't tease or lead a man on with the intent of stopping him later. Even if you don't get hurt, it's just plain cruel.
  • Don't always let the man pay for meals, drinks, entertainment, gas, etc. Offer to pay your share--it's only fair.
  • Don't ignore the "red flags", or warning signs for potential trouble in a relationship (see below).

Prevention for Men


  • Respect each other.
  • Communicate your intentions clearly.
  • Listen to her.
  • Hands off if she says "no".
  • Use a party buddy system where one person is designated to stay sober, and to keep his/her friends safe. (The designated person should identify themselves to the waiter/bartender if the group goes out. The bartender then knows not to serve them alcohol, and some establishments will even provide free sodas for the DD to encourage them to stay sober.)
  • Get involved--take care of your friends.
  • Get out of any situation that you think may lead to forced or coerced sex.
  • Hands off if she's intoxicated or stoned.
  • Remember, sex with a woman who's intoxicated, drugged, or for any reason does not have the capacity to say "NO", is RAPE. 


  • Don't lose your judgement with drugs or alcohol.
  • Don't try to get her drunk or stoned to loosen her up.
  • Don't ever force or pressure a woman into sexual activity.
  • Don't just assume she knows what your intentions are.
  • Don't assume that kissing and/or petting means that she wants to have intercourse.
  • Don't assume that "no" means "yes".
  • Don't go off alone with someone that you don't know very well.
  • Don't always insist on paying for the meal, the drinks, the movie, the gas, etc. Give her an opportunity to pay, too.
  • Don't have sex with a woman whose judgement is impaired by alcohol or drugs, or for any other reason is incapable of saying "no".


Warning Signs

It's a "red flag" in a relationship when someone:

  • Tries to make you feel guilty if you say "no"
  • Gets angry when you say "no"
  • Ignores your wishes, opinions, ideas
  • Always needs to know your wherabouts, and who you're with
  • Acts overly jealous or possessive
  • Shows uncontrolled moods, anger or aggression
  • Is emotionally abusive to you
  • Tells you how to dress, how to act, who to be friends with, where to go, etc.
  • Talks negatively about the opposite sex in general
  • Shows lewd, crude, sexist behavior
  • Intimidates you
  • Tries to get you drunk or drugged
  • Gets angry when you offer to help pay for a meal, a drink, a movie, gas, etc.
  • Doesn't see you as an equal
  • Is kind one minute, and cruel the next
  • Threatens you to the extent that you have changed your life/behavior to avoid the other person's anger

Remember, many date rape drugs may be tasteless, odorless, and/or colorless, and thus can be given to you without your knowledge.

Although its often thought that only a man rapes a woman, ANYONE can get raped; many of these tips may apply to both genders

Forum and Resources

For more information and discussion concerning Sexual Abuse, please visit our Abuse Forums


Lecture materials on date rape

Lynn Meschan's psychology classes

Moorpark and Ventura Colleges