Sexual assault can happen anywhere, whether you’re on the streets or in a car. It can also happen when you’re on a date! To help you protect yourself from this kind of assault while you’re out with someone, here are some useful tips.
Understand First What is Sexual Assault
In situations where sexual assault unfortunately takes place, it is crucial to bear in mind that it is never the victim’s fault. To start off, sexual assault is defined as sexual contact or sexual behavior that transpires without the consent of the victim.
According to a study, an estimate of one out of five women are victims of sexual assault, and this includes uninvited sexual contact, attempted rape and sexual threats. Unfortunately, a majority of the offenders or the perpetrators are people who are already known to the victims.
Where It Can Happen
About 8 out of 10 sexual assaults are done by someone known to the victim in instances of so-called acquaintance rape or ‘date rape’. This happens when someone known to the victim or someone that the victim already trusts, forces one to engage in sexual behaviors.
In other cases where the crime is committed by someone not known to the victim, this can be referred to as ‘stranger rape’. Those that have survived either stranger or acquaintance rape usually take the blame for what happened. This is because they believe that their behavior might have contributed to the motivation of the perpetrator. In yet other cases, drug-facilitated sexual assault may also occur. This usually takes place at social events like a party or while in a club. In this scenario, someone would secretly pour drugs or mix an individual’s drink with a drug, and wait for it to take effect on the victim before committing the act. The drug makes an individual incapable of escaping and resisting and may also have the side effect of momentary amnesia.
Check Your Surroundings
Most sexual assault cases occur when there are alcoholic beverages involved, which is why it is important to know your limits in order to still be conscious of your surroundings. Intoxication can essentially make one vulnerable. With that, it is also not a bad idea to keep watch of your drink because, as mentioned earlier, drug-facilitated assaults may also happen in social events.
Additionally, one should be mindful of what one puts up on social media. Adjusting your privacy setting is recommended if you are going on a first date with someone since this allows your information to remain confidential.
While you cannot 100% avoid dangerous situations, you can always prepare for them. Being aware of your surroundings, like knowing your location, may help you out in unfavorable situations. Aside from this, and if it is possible, perhaps avoiding dark and/or secluded areas might protect you. Being in well-lit places where people can witness anything is a smart idea for a date.
Meanwhile, if you do not know where you are going, just act as if you do. Being deemed confident may protect you because offenders usually go for vulnerable victims.
Always Know When It’s Under Consent
Assault is under any circumstances an involuntary act. Perpetrators physically have the option to stop at any point. It is not an impulsive action or an unmanageable act; rather, it is considered to be an intentional act of violence. Thus, the emphasis on consent must be outlined. If an individual enters the date’s room, it does not automatically mean that one is willing to engage in sexual acts. Nothing should ever be assumed in that case. Consent should always be clearly given.
In relation to this, just because victims do not fight back, it does not imply that they asked for it, nor did they not get sexually assaulted. Submission and cooperation are two different things. With that, coercion is not the same as consent either. Consent should be affirmative, while coercion is a strategy utilized to trick a victim.
Sexual assault is not about sexual attraction and gratification towards a victim; rather, it is all about the offender feeling in control and being dominant. Regardless of the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, it does not nullify the crime committed. That’s why consent plays a pivotal role when it comes to the prevention of this crime. Consent is an active rapport and should not be coerced. It should never be implied by anyone, even if one is in an official relationship.
To protect yourself from sexual assault while on a date, be mindful of your limits and intentions to be able to communicate your desires clearly. Hence, when one says “no”, it means no or stop, or that one is not willing to engage in any sexual activity.