From the age of 14 to graduating from college, 25 percent of women have been victims of rape or attempted rape. In 90% of the cases, the women knew their assailant and the rape or attempted rape most likely occurred in places where they were together such as studying or at a party (Sampson, 2003). The impact of acquaintance rape is often traumatic. It leaves the person feeling guilty, confused, devastated and doubting her own judgement as she was assaulted by someone she trusted.
The only way to prevent a rape is to stop the person from raping; however, in many cases the person becomes immobilized from the impending danger and is unable to say “No” (Porges & Peper, 2015; Peper, 2015). Thus not saying “No” does not mean saying “Yes.” Consent is the explicit expression of “Yes”.
Although the only sure way to prevent rape is to stop the rapist from raping, there are some steps you can take to avoid or help to prevent acquaintance rape. As the above two videos clips point out, an important component is to communicate very clearly your sexual intentions and limits as you have the right to say “no” to any sexual contact. Remember your partner cannot read your mind. Be explicit what you mean with words and body language. For additional steps you can take to avoid or help to prevent acquaintance rape, see the very useful article by Jody K. Althous, the Director of Outreach and Education at the Women’s Resource Center, What Every College Student Needs to Know about Sexual Assault, Acquaintance Rape, and the Red Zone.
Althous, J.K. (2014) What Every College Student Needs to Know about Sexual Assault, Acquaintance Rape, and the Red Zone. http://ccwrc.org/uncategorized/what-every-college-student-needs-to-know-about-sexual-assault-acquaintance-rape-and-the-red-zone/
Peper, E. (2015). Porges and Peper propose physiological basis for paralysis as reaction to date rape. https://peperperspective.com/2015/05/24/porges-and-peper-propose-physiological-basis-for-paralysis-as-reaction-to-date-rape-or-assualt/
Porges, S.W. & Peper, E. (2015). When not saying no does not mean yes: Psychophysiological factors involved in date rape. Biofeedback, 43(1), 45-48. https://biofeedbackhealth.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/porges-and-peper-date-rape.pdf
Sampson, R. (2003). Acquaintance rape of college students. Public Health Resources, 92. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=195868
*The same responses could take place in situations involving same sex partners, or involving a female aggressor. But we are describing the more common date rape situation today, involving a male aggressor.