Acquaintance Rape: Keeping Your Teen Safe

2018-04-11T22:27:44-05:00May 15th, 2017|Categories: Sexual Assaults|

What is acquaintance rape?

Acquaintance rape is when somebody you know—a boyfriend or girlfriend, a friend, a classmate, or even someone you just met—uses coercion (including drugs or alcohol), violence, or threats to force unwanted oral, vaginal, or anal sex. When this happens in a dating relationship, it is commonly known as date rape.

How common is acquaintance rape?

Unfortunately, acquaintance rape is very common. In some surveys, as many as one in four young women reported being verbally or physically pressured into having sex during the past year. Shockingly, one in 10 high school girls, and one in 20 boys reported being forced into sex at some point in their lives.

Can guys get raped?

Yes. Guys can get raped and it has nothing to do with their sexual orientation, appearance, physical size, or strength. Guys can be raped by family members or other people they trust, as well as by strangers. If a guy gets raped, that does not mean he is gay.

What are date rape drugs?

An acquaintance may slip drugs into your drink to try to make it easier to victimize you. Being drugged without your knowledge makes consent impossible. ANY drug, even alcohol, can put you at risk. Drugs commonly used in acquaintance rape include:

  • Rohypnol (pronounced row-HIP-nal; also, called roofies): A sedative that can make you feel sleepy, slur your speech, make it difficult to walk, make you black-out, and cause amnesia.
  • GHB: A depressant that may cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, heart problems, seizures, black-outs, and, in some cases, coma.
  • Ketamine (pronounced keet-ah-meen; also, called Special K): An animal tranquilizer that can cause delirium, loss of memory, depression, and long-term memory and cognitive difficulties.

What can I do to be safe?

  • Expect respect and keep away from people who don’t show you respect.
  • Be clear about your limits: let the other person know what you want and don’t want to do. You have the right to change your mind, to say “no,” or to agree to some sexual activities and not to others.
  • Don’t allow a person to touch you if it makes you uncomfortable. If your limits are reached or you sense danger, speak your mind and act immediately. Make a scene if necessary.
  • Avoid excessive drinking or drugs. They reduce your ability to think and communicate clearly. Being drunk or high does not give anyone permission to assault you.
  • Pour your own beverage and keep it in sight.
  • Date rape drugs can be put into drinks and are often undetectable.
  • Don’t hang out in places that keep you isolated from others. Although you may feel you can take care of yourself, it is always wise to be careful.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel that a person is not trustworthy or a situation is unsafe, leave.
  • Have a back-up plan. For example, if you’re going out to a party in a different neighborhood, make sure someone you trust knows where you’re going. Have a person you can call to come and get you if you need to leave without your original ride.

Did you know?

  • 75% of sexual assaults are committed by someone that the victim knows.
  • 28% of rape victims are assaulted by their boyfriends and 35% are sexually assaulted by relatives
  • 38% of acquaintance rape victims are 14-17 years old.

Myths & Facts About Acquaintance Rape

  • MYTH: Girls who claim that they were raped are just looking for attention.
  • FACT: No one wants the sort of attention that comes after being raped. Rape is an extremely traumatic experience that is difficult to overcome
  • MYTH: Rape only happens to girls.
  • FACT: Rape can happen to anyone
  • MYTH: If a guy pays for the date, he deserves sex.
  • FACT: Nobody “owes” anybody sex. No one has a right to expect that a date will end in sex.
  • MYTH: Girls who wear short skirts or tight tops are looking for sex.
  • FACT: Rape has nothing to do with physical appearance; it’s about power and control. How a girl dresses is not an invitation for sex
  • MYTH: When a girl says “no” she really means “yes.”
  • FACT: No means no.
  • MYTH: Girls who are raped are asking for it.
  • FACT: Rape is never the victim’s fault. Nobody asks for or deserves to be raped.
  • MYTH: Only strangers and dirty old men in dark alleys commit rapes.
  • FACT: The vast majority of rapes are committed by people who already knew their victims.
  • MYTH: Rape is just about sex.
  • FACT: Rape is about power and control. It’s a crime in which sex is used as a weapon

 For additional information on staying safe, visit. . .


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  2. Howard, D.E., & Wang, M.Q. (2005). Psychosocial correlates of U.S. adolescents who report a history of forced sexual intercourse. Journal of Adolescent Health, 36(5), 372-379.
  3. Greenfeld, L.A. (1997). Sex offenses and offenders: An analysis of data on rape and sexual assault. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved January 12, 2009 from
  4. Bohmer, C., & Parrot, A. (1993). Sexual assault on campus: The problem and the solution. New York: Lexington Books.
  5. Warshaw, R. (1988). I never called it rape: The Ms. report on recognizing, fighting, and surviving date and acquaintance rape. New York: Harper and Row Publishers.
This project was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS. National Child Traumatic Stress Network Child Sexual Abuse Committee. (2009). Caring for Kids: What Parents Need to Know about Sexual Abuse. Los Angeles, CA & Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.