Answers to Christian Teens' Questions About Date Rape

What You Know and Don't Know About Sexual Assault

In America a woman is raped every two minutes. Since many Christian teen girls are dedicated to waiting until they are married to have sex, a rape can be devastating. There are some mistruths out there about rape, one of which is that sexual assaults are only done by strangers.  However, the facts show that most rapes are committed by someone close to a person, like a friend, boyfriend, or date. Here are some answers to the common questions regarding date rape:

Why is date rape such an issue for Christian teen girls?

According to the 2003 Department of Justice Report, Acquaintance Rape of College Students, women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience rape at a rate that is 4 times greater than women of other ages. For those women in college, they are at an even greater risk than women the same age that are not in college. Also, it is estimated that 1 out of 4 college women have been victims of rape or attempted rape since the age of 14. Women in college are most susceptible to rape during the first few weeks of their freshman and sophomore year. Also, teens between the ages of 16 and 19 were 3.5 times more likely to be victims of rape or attempted rape, and 50 percent of rape victims were under 18.

How many teenage and college-age women are victims of date rape each year?

A recent study showed that there were 35 rapes per 1,000 female students over the study period of 7 months.

In 1999 there were a total of 2,469 reported incidents of rape on all U.S. college campuses. Yet even that number could be wrong. Less than 5 percent of victims report the rape to the police. About 2 out of 3 victims will tell a friend.

Why don't rape victims report the crime to the police?

In one survey 40 percent of victims stated that they did not report the rape due to fear of retaliation.

However, there are other factors like fear that the legal process will be emotionally traumatic. Other women are embarrassed, fear the publicity or not being believed, have a mistrust of the legal system, or some women even blame themselves.

But shouldn't I be more worried about strangers?

Yes, most of us were taught from childhood about "stranger danger," however stranger rape only makes up 10 percent of all rapes. We hear more about stranger rape through the media, because it makes a more shocking story. However, true date rape (where the woman is actually on a date or with a boyfriend) accounts for 13 percent of college campus rapes and 35 percent of attempted rapes. The remaining 77 percent of all rapes are committed by acquaintances.

What kinds of acquaintance rape exist?

Most studies divide acquaintance rapes into types. There is party rape, where the rape occurs at a party. There is also date rape, where the rape occurs on a date. Then there is rape by a former intimate, where the woman is raped by a person she used to date or know. Finally, there is rape by a current intimate.

Where and when am I most vulnerable?

According to the Department of Justice 70 percent of sexual assaults reported to law enforcement happened in the victim's home, the offender's home, or another residence.

For a woman of college age, 34 percent of rapes and 45 percent of attempted rapes take place on campus. 60 percent of those rapes occur in the victim's residence, 31 percent in another residence, and 10 percent in a fraternity house. Also, 68 percent of rapes occur between 6pm and 6am.

Are athletics and fraternities breeding grounds for rapists?

No one can explain why there are more athletes and fraternities involved. Some say that these rapes are reported more due to the view that these men are more "privileged," so the rape is resented. Also, athletes may have an attitude that they are "above" the campus rules. They may be more prone to take advantage of their "groupies." Fraternities have the dubious reputation for gang rape, binge drinking, and secrecy. Their parties take place in private houses with private rooms.

They often involve copious amounts of alcohol, and some fraternities are notorious for their misogynistic attitudes. However, it is noted that some fraternities are more rape-prone than others. Many national Greek organizations are working hard to educate members regarding sexual assault and have strict rules about alcohol consumption. Some have even instituted mandates for "dry" chapter houses.

What role does alcohol play in rape?

Alcohol is a major factor in many rapes. At least 45 percent of all rapists were under the influence of alcohol when the rape occurred. Also, studies have shown that men get more sexualized when under the influence, and any misperceptions are magnified by a decreased ability to analyze situations. Some men have stereotypes of women who drink, making them believe the girls are "easy." Other rapists have used alcohol as an excuse.

Some rapists prey on teen girls who have been drinking, because the alcohol decreases the girl's ability to resist rape.

Why do some men rape?

There is no one reason why rape occurs. However, there are four common mindsets that have been discovered in rapists. The men who commit rape have a tendency to have stereotypical views of women's sexual behavior and a sexist attitudes and a desire for sexual conquest. They may also see alcohol as a tool for sexual conquest and receive peer support for sexually abusive behavior.

What makes me more vulnerable to acquaintance rape?

There are several risk factors of which Christian teen girls should be aware so that they can protect themselves:

  • Drinking to get drunk
  • Drinking to the point where you are unable to resist forceful sexual actions
  • Using drugs/drinking
  • Having previously been the victim of a sexual assault prior to the current school year
  • Being single
  • Engaging in social activities with sexually predatory men
  • Being at an isolated site or being alone.
  • Miscommunication about sex
  • Holding less conservative attitudes about sexual behavior

How often are victims physically abused during the rape?

Rape is a violent act committed against the will of the victim.

Approximately 50 percent of college rape and attempted rape victims fight back against their assailants, and 50 percent tell the assailant to stop. Due to the forcefulness of a rape, 20 percent of college rape victims report other injuries like bruising, black eyes, cuts, swelling, and chipped teeth. 75 percent of female rape victims need medical attention after they are attacked.

So, what can I do to prevent rape?

There are several things every Christian teen girl should do to prevent rape. Much of what helps to prevent rape involves using your common sense. If you are at a party, avoid drinking or using drugs. Avoid letting someone get you alone. When you are on a date or dating someone special, be clear on your values and views on sex. Be assertive. Also, know how to defend yourself. There are many things Christian teen girls can do to prevent a rape.

What can I do if I am a victim of rape?

The number one thing you can do if you are a victim of rape is to talk to the authorities. It is never okay for anyone to make you have sex against your will. Your community probably has a rape crisis center that you can use to receive counseling. If you are not sure about discussing your situation with the authorities, try discussing your situation with an adult you trust like a parent, pastor, youth leader, or guidance counselor.

I've been raped. Have I committed a sin?

Many rape victims blame themselves for the rape. "I led him on." "My skirt was too short." "I was drinking." "I kissed him." These quotes are all ways that victims build up guilt an blame within themselves. However, "no" means "NO!" This means that is is absolutely not your fault that someone raped you. Christian teen girls face another fear - sex before marriage. Most consider sin to be a matter of the heart that results in the act. The rapist is the sinner. The girl is the victim. She has been wounded. It may take time, but God can heal those wounds. Through prayer and support, the Spirit can heal those wounds. Psalm 34:18 states, "The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (NIV).