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The term, acquaintance rape or "date rape" refers to rape or non-consensual sexual activity between people who are known to each other either platonically or sexually. These particular instances of sexual assault take place during a social interaction between the rapist and the victim hence the name date rape. It may be either planned or spontaneous.
The term date rape is widely used but can be misleading because the person who commits the crime might not be dating the victim. Rather, it could be an acquaintance or stranger.
Drug-facilitated date rape[edit | edit source]
Drug-facilitated date rape is the use of drugs to assist the attacker in a rape. The drug can be any substance that is physical or mind altering. In some cases, "date rape drugs" such as GHB, rohypnol, and ketamine may be used to neutralize resistance or even render the victim unconscious. Such drugs will usually also affect memory of the event. Alcohol remains the drug most frequently implicated in substance-assisted sexual assault. Memory loss of the event can lead to an inability to later prosecute as the victim will not remember the exact circumstances of the attack. As such date rape is difficult to prove in most judicial systems.
Drug facilitated sexual assault (DFSA), which is considered an umbrella term for crimes such as drug-facilitated date rape, differs from many rapes in that it is not typically a crime of physical violence but rather of sexual hedonism and entitlement.
Though flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) is often cited as a date rape drug because of its high potency, strong effects and the ability to cause strong amnesia during its duration of action, investigations into its actual use as a date rape drug have contradicted popular belief. According to research conducted by Michael Robertson from the San Diego Medical Examiner's office and Dr. Mahmoud El Sohly of El Sohly Laboratories, test results indicated that flunitrazepam was only used in around 1% of reported date rapes according to Robertson and 0.33% according to urine lab tests done by El Sohly. In fact, the benzodiazepines midazolam and temazepam were the two most common benzodiazepines utilized for date rape.
GBL or GHB are popular because "Victims may not be aware that they ingested a drug at all. GHB and its analogues are invisible when dissolved in water, and are odorless. They are somewhat salty tasting, but are indiscernible when dissolved in beverages such as sodas, liquor, or beer." Also, GBL can pass through the skin so the flavor is irrelevant. In some cases, GBL has been allegedly administered by applying it to jewelry that is designed to break (presumably to prevent overdose). 
In 2001, Michael Welner published pioneering research on the typology of drug-facilitated rapists. The typology has since been cited and used by law enforcement and mental health professionals for distinguishing different perpetrators, their personalities, and their psychological makeup.
The typology of drug-facilitated sexual assault includes
- Setting: Typology is best distinguished by the setting in which the attack takes place (e.g. Workplace Setting, Healthcare Setting or Social Setting).
- Accomplices and conspiracies: There may be multiple perpetrators who conspire to commit the crime. Particularly in social settings, confirmed cases have involved male and female couple collaborators, siblings and friends.
- Intrafamilial DFSA: Many intrafamilial DFSA's often go unreported. Typically there is a power differential that prevent victims from speaking out.
- Male-on-male offenses: Such cases occur nearly exclusively in social or school settings. Often the crime reflects the perpetrator's conflicted feelings about private same-sex thought and desires.
- Sexual deviance or sexual hunters: This group often includes those who are incompetent at finding sexual partners and those who have sexual fantasies of dominance.
Laws[edit | edit source]
United States[edit | edit source]
In 1996, President Clinton signed the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act. This act punishes for the use of the drug called Rohypnol. Four years later, the president signed another legislation banning GHB.
People who use date rape drugs have a risk of up to an additional 20 years in prison. Any possession of Rohypnol, even if there is no intent of using it, has a sentence of up to three years in prison. Every state has laws pertaining to rape.
Indiana has a statute which makes the offense a Class A felony if "the commission of the offense is facilitated by furnishing the victim, without the victim's knowledge, with a drug ... or a controlled substance ... or knowing that the victim was furnished with the drug or controlled substance without the victim's knowledge." (see drink spiking)
Social issues[edit | edit source]
Understanding date rape as a social issue is very difficult due to conceptual differences about even what constitutes "rape". It both reflects and is reflected by political and sociological differences in ways of viewing gender roles, personal responsibility, and social norms. Debates on this topic often reflect polarized opinions in which the points of argument are considered as "radical feminism" or "misogynistic".
Similarly, institutional responses, including efforts in the criminal justice system have been difficult to establish. Colleges and Universities, settings in which date rape is considered a common problem[How to reference and link to summary or text], have attempted to develop policies and guidelines for prevention and discipline that can be unwieldy and unenforceable. While criminal prosecution of so-called "stranger rape" (e.g. no pre-existing relationship, use of physical force or of a weapon) is sufficiently difficult, as the statistics regarding attitudes included above bear out, a situation considered "date rape" can be even more difficult if not impossible.
This is due to the highly subjective components involved in determining consent, and conscious intention, as well as attitudes toward gender, toward sexuality, and individual responsibility. Further, in a society that is both "obsessed" with but uncomfortable with sex and sexuality, direct communication is too frequently lacking, so that expectations and interpretations vary drastically between the potential perpetrator and the potential victim. Add socially sanctioned use of alcohol (over 80% of date rapes included the use of alcohol by at least one partner, while over 50% involved the use by both partners)[How to reference and link to summary or text] and the likelihood of such miscommunication goes even higher.
In 1998 the issue of date rape was raised in the United Kingdom when the popular soap-opera Brookside featured a story in which character Nikki Shadwick was date raped. The issue of date rape was lesser known at the time. The following year the first charity of victims of date rape was established in the United Kingdom.
The Institute for Relationship Intelligence says:
- "Two thirds of teens in one survey said it was okay for a boy to force sex on a girl if they’d been dating for more than six months. A large number said it was okay if the boy/man had spent a lot of money on her. One in three said it was okay if the girl had been sexually active before."
See also[edit | edit source]
References & Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Date Rape Drugs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Women's Health
- ElSohly, Mahmoud A.; Lee, Luen F.; Holzhauer, Lynn B.; Salamone, Salvatore J. (2001). Analysis of urine samples in cases of alleged sexual assault case history. Benzodiazepines and GHB: 127–144.
- DEA Resources, For Law Enforcement Officers, Intelligence Reports, Club Drugs: An Update. Web.archive.org (2004-09-01). Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
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- GHB, GBL and 1,4BD as Date Rape Drugs. Justice.gov. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
- What is GBL?. projectghb.org
- Welner, M (2001). "The Perpetrators and Their Modus Operandi" Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault, 39–74, London: Academic Press.
- State Rape Statutes. American Prosecutors Research Institute
- Nora Fitzgerald and K. Jack Riley Drug Facilitated Rape: Looking for the Missing Pieces. National Institute of Justice Journal, April 2000, pp. 9–15
- Drug Facilitated Rape. Butler County Rape Crisis Program. Oxford, UK
- USLegal – Date Rape Law & Legal Definition. Definitions.uslegal.com. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
- Humphreys, Terence Patrick (1993). Gender differences in the perception of rape: The role of ambiguity (M.A. thesis) Wilfrid Laurier University
- (4 November 2002) 20 years of Brookside, 133–134, Carlton. URL accessed 1 October 2011.
- Love Smarts. Love Smarts. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
- "65% of the boys and 47% of the girls said it was acceptable for a boy to rape a girl if they had been dating for more than six months (White, 1991)." ( “Young People’s Attitudes Toward Acquaintance Rape,” J White and JA Humphrey, 1991, in Acquaintance Rape: The Hidden Crime, ed. Andrea Parrot, Wiley
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