Victim unaware of plan, predator has a plan
I was so unaware I was being set up. I was so ignorant to the gossip of the young men at my high school. I had no idea how entering high school would expose me to more people than I had ever managed before in my social life. I was unaware that the popular crowd of guys actually planned and boasted about which girls they wanted to have sex with; that they had a bet going on who could get to me first. I was a virgin. I was 14 years old. I had no way of understanding or competing with the mindset of my male counterparts. I was innocent to all this. I was an adolescent, still a child when in came to sexuality and what that even meant. This is normal. The real issue is that I was being exposed to sex and I had no real understanding of it. Middle school was my first introduction. It was a limited word I had heard from my peers, but it was still happening around me. Entering into High School in a new town only increased my level of contact with peers who were sexually active.
I was alone, without the company of a trusted guide to help me navigate something I did not understand but I was facing daily. My parents had abandoned the time they would’ve spent with me, preparing me to face this world of peer pressure. I, in turn, abandoned them and the so-called respect & honor I was supposed to give their rules. I threw myself into school and my social life. I enjoyed most of what school had to offer apart from sitting at a desk for long periods of time. It had been made pretty clear to me that school and good grades were very important. Building my college resume was pretty much the pinnacle of my existence for high school. No one told me I was one of a kind, created for good works. No one explained to me I was more than a body with a soul, but that I was a Spirit destined for eternity. The repeated lecture that I was simply to remain a virgin until marriage, just because it was wrong not to, wasn’t enough information for me to stand my ground against multiple predators. And once they realized I was an open target, lacking a protective hedge of a watchful guardian, it was over for me. My fate had been sealed, their game had begun.
Date Rape is real and I am going to say it happens a lot more than we know. I experienced date rape when I was only 14, the summer before my freshman year. I never talked about it. I never told anyone. For over a decade I believed it was my fault. That simply because I said yes to a date with a graduating senior, that somehow what had happened was my doing. So I sank into silence. I hid what happened down deep in a dark place in my heart. I was ashamed. It made me feel awful. I had simply been used and victimized by a guy from my high school. I saw myself as unworthy of respect from young men, simply because of the way this one person treated me. I needed counsel and help, yet I really didn’t feel I had any adult I could confide in. My mother had tried to shame me into not having sex. I love my mom and I get why she did it. I believe she really did want me to remain pure and abstinent, but the shame theory proved more lethal in this regard then at all helpful.
When I really need unconditional love and open arms, I felt sure I would receive anger and shame
Even from my own parents who were responsible to teach and train me. To be fair, there really wasnt this type of adult at my high school or church setting either. I needed to be told I could be a target. I needed to be told that some guys would ask me out just to try to have sex with me and that was the only reason they were asking me out. This fact was alone not enough, I then needed a plan on how to respond. I needed an adult helping me to decide which dates I should say yes to and which ones I should say no to. It’s too much for a new teen to manage. I needed counsel.
The really sad part of date rape for young ladies like myself, is that if somehow I could have told a responsible adult, the outcome of the next decade of my life could have been much better. If a caring person could have heard what happened to me that night, they would have helped me understand it was in no way my fault and in no way OK. I accepted being raped and it in turn affected how I allowed men to treat me for years afterwards. I do not want this to happen to anyone else. Always know that no matter what has happened to you, bringing it into the light will cause healing. In telling your story you are yourself saying what happened is unacceptable and wrong. This is the first step. This is why I am telling my story and choosing to combat date rape.
Top Five Tips for preventing Date Rape:
1. Stay in a group
If this person is a total stranger or you are new to knowing someone, only agree to go out with a group of people – the more the merrier! Even if this is the most well-known individual in your high school and you have known each other for years, I still recommend Group Dating until you are of legal age. We all act differently in public and staying accountable should be a top priority if you want to achieve success.
2. Stay in populated areas
Busy restaurants, venues, movie theatres; think crowds. If date rape is the intention, your date will be trying to get you alone and seclude you from others.
3. Avoid alcohol and using recreational drugs
You are going out to meet another person and get to know them. This is definitely worthy of you keeping a sober mind. According to the University of Sciences: “74% of the perpetrators and 55% of the victims of rape within a nationally representative sample of college students had been drinking alcohol (Koss 1988)” Keep this in mind when you’re dating.
4. Always tell a trusted friend who you are going out with and where you are going.
Even in a world of GPS and technology, nothing compares to having a reliable friend or family member hear from you what your plans are and when you will be back. This person can be a safety friend that you can call in case of an emergency during the date, one that is willing to come and pick you up. So many times if I had only take this step, I would have had an immediate out for bad situations. Always tell someone where you are going and who you are going with.
5. Have a trusted mentor you can confide in about dating and turn to incase of rape.
I hate to say expect the worst and that is not what I am promoting, only that you have someone you can talk to. Never keep silent if you are the victim of rape. If your believe that you are mature enough to date you need to be mature enough to be accountable to the people who value and love you. Parents, teachers, mentors: They are doing what they do because they care. Find someone you can trust and open up to – this may not be your parents because you feel too intimated.
Facts about date rape:
From National Studies Of College Women
* 84% of women who were raped knew their assailants.
* 57% of rapes occurred on a date.
* 25% of men surveyed believed that rape was acceptable if: the women
asks the man out; if the man pays for the date, or the woman goes back
to the man’s room after the date.
* 33% of males surveyed said they would commit rape if they definitely could
* 84% of male students who had committed acts that clearly met the legal definition
of rape said what they had done was definitely not rape.
* 75% of male and 55% of female students in an occurrence of date rape
had been drinking or using drugs.
* Only a quarter to a third of women whose sexual assaults met the legal
definition of rape considered themselves rape victims.
* Many women do not report or characterize their victimization as a crime for reasons
such as embarrassment, because they do not want to define someone who assaulted
them as a rapist, or because they do not know the legal definition of rape.
Many women blame themselves.
* Nearly 5% of college women are victimized in any given year, meaning over 4 years
one-fifth to one-quarter of a cohort of women may be assaulted. Similar numbers
experienced attempted rape.
* The majority of rapes occur in living quarters–60% in victim’s residence, 10 %
in a fraternity, 31 % in other living quarters. Off campus victimizations also took
place in bars, dance clubs and work settings.
* 50% of high school boys and 42% of girls said there were times it was
acceptable for a male to hold a female down and physically force her to
engage in intercourse.