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Violence against women: How to prevent date rape


The Pinoy Abroad section of GMA News Online is running a series of articles on gender-based violence to help empower women and enlighten men. Dating someone we like is meant to be a happy experience. However, some women end up being victims of “acquaintance rape” or sexual assault by the person the victim is dating. Date rape is more common than most people think. A United Nations (UN)-affiliated organization said the UN Crime Trends Survey defined rape as sexual intercourse without a valid consent. The “International Statistics on Crime and Justice” of the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI) said Southern Africa, Oceania and North America have the highest recorded rape rates, while Asia has the lowest. Young women at highest risk An Australian government site said: “Date rape can happen to women of all ages but young women between 15 and 24 are at highest risk.” "While it’s mostly women who are raped, guys can be victims of date rape too. And, as with female victims, guys are usually assaulted by other men," the New South Wales Attorney-General's Department Crime Prevention Division in Australia said. Attackers "might use physical and verbal threats, emotional blackmail, or alcohol and drugs” to force their victims into having sex, it said. It added that the woman may have initially agreed to have sex but decided to stop for some reason. If her partner forces her to continue the sexual act, that is also considered rape. The website cited the story of Azeeza who was at a party with friends. Although she only had a couple of drinks, she could not remember what happened that night. She woke up to find herself in the bed of someone who was at the party. Afraid that she was raped, she went to the hospital. Tests showed that she had sex. She knew she was drugged because she had no idea what happened to her. Drugs and sexual assault A US government site – womenshealth.gov – said drugs are "sometimes used to assist a sexual assault." "Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity that a person does not agree to. It can include touching that is not okay; putting something into the vagina; sexual intercourse; rape; and attempted rape,” it said.   “The drugs often have no color, smell, or taste, so you can't tell if you are being drugged. The drugs can make you become weak and confused — or even pass out — so that you are unable to refuse sex or defend yourself,” it added. The site recommended some actions women can take to prevent themselves from becoming victims of date rape:
  • Do not accept drinks from other people.
  • Open beverage containers yourself.
  • Keep your drink with you wherever you go, even to the bathroom.
  • Do not share drinks with other people.
  • Do not drink from punch bowls or other open containers as these may contain drugs.
  • If someone offers to get you a drink, watch it being poured.
  • Don't drink anything that tastes or smells strange.
  • Ask a nondrinking friend to accompany you.
  • If you realize that you have left your drink unattended, do not drink it anymore and pour it out.
  • If you feel like the effects of drinking alcohol are stronger than usual, seek help right away.
Self-defense The US self-help site Women's Self-Defense Instruction Online suggested some self defense tips "to reduce the likelihood of date rape."
  • When dating someone for the first time, meet during the day and in a public place.
  • Do not depend on your date for transportation. When a woman rides someone else's car, she can easily be taken to a secluded place.
  • Do not take drugs or alcohol. If you do drink, know your limit.
  • Stay away from men who seem to have violent tendencies or won’t take no for an answer.
 Date rape statistics The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), a nonprofit organization in the United States that advocates victims' rights, cited the following US statistics:
  • 77 percent of rapes are committed by “non-strangers” or people whom the victims know;
  • a woman is four times more likely to be raped by someone she knows than by a stranger;
  • date rape is rarely reported to the police;
  • Each year, one in eight women in college is raped, and
  • in 85 percent of the attacks against women, the victims knew their attackers.
In Europe, a report of the news site The Guardian said:
  • 9,008 cases of rapes were reported in Britain from 2001 to 2002, compared to only 4,025 from 1991 to 1992;
  • In 2002, the British Crime Survey estimated that some 61,000 rapes were carried out every year;
  • about 167 rapes are taking place every day in Britain;
  • one in 20 women has been a victim of rape, and
  • one in 13 rape cases ends in a conviction.
Dating is a way for a woman to get to know someone and perhaps develop a special relationship with that person.   However, some people may take advantage of the "date" to abuse a woman. It is up to women then to choose carefully whom they go out with and to take extra precautions when they go out on dates. - RJMD/HS, GMA News Pinoy Abroad's previous article on violence against women: Rape: A horrific global phenomenon  
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