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Acquaintance Rape

Acquaintance rape and sex are difficult topics to talk about no matter who is doing the talking and no matter who you are talking to. Just because these are difficult topics to talk about doesn't mean there is something wrong about talking about them or that we shouldn't talk about them. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Studying for exams is difficult as is exercising. Just because it is hard to lift pounds of iron weight above your head when working out doesn't mean we should stop doing it. This is where the expression, "No pain no gain" comes from. Talking about sex and what can happen when two people aren't honest with themselves or each other can only bring us closer together.

Below we have listed the definition of Acquaintance Rape, some statistics, and several questions for you to talk about with each other, whether you are a parent talking to your student or you are a student talking with other students in your dorm room. If you have any questions about any of this information please feel free to contact the Drexel University Counseling Center at (215) 895-1415 or Office of Victim Support & Intervention Services at (215) 895-0353.


What is Acquaintance Rape (also known as non-stranger rape)?

Acquaintance Rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse by a friend or acquaintance. There are some important points about this definition:

  • Non-consensual — It is without agreement
  • Force is not necessarily involved; if someone is unable to give consent or does not agree to have sexual intercourse it is considered rape. (i.e. if someone is asleep or "passed-out")

Please be aware, men may also be victims of rape or sexual assault. Rape and sexual assault can and do occur in same sex relationships as well as opposite sex relationships; and women can also be perpetrators of an assault.


Statistics About Acquaintance Rape

  • Approximately one in four college aged women is acquaintance raped or experiences an attempted acquaintance rape during her college years.
  • Eighty-four percent of women who have been acquaintance raped knew their attackers.
  • Women between the ages of 16-24 are four times more likely to be acquaintance raped than any other age group.
  • Approximately 90% of acquaintance rapes happen with alcohol involved.
  • In one study, approximately 33% of men said that if they could escape acquaintance rape without detection that they would rape someone.
  • Forty-two percent of women who are acquaintance raped tell anyone at all about it.
  • Twenty-seven percent of women who were acquaintance raped did not realize that what happened met the legal definition of acquaintance rape.
  • Eighty-four percent of men who were involved in an acquaintance rape did not realize that what they did met the legal definition of acquaintance rape.
  • Forty-four percent of women who have been acquaintance raped have considered suicide.

Important Questions to Think and Talk About

  1. If a woman says no then after more foreplay willingly has sex then is that rape?
  2. What does it mean if someone comes to your room?
  3. What behaviors are there that suggest that someone wants to have sex?
  4. What about kissing while dancing?
  5. What about "grinding" on the dance floor?
  6. What about taking one's clothes off?
  7. So how do you know then that someone wants to have sex?
  8. What does "Playing the game" mean?
  9. What is the, "I don't think we should routine?"
  10. Where does the myth that "no" means "yes" come from?
  11. What does, "hooking up" mean?
  12. How about "fooling around?" If it means different things to different people then isn't it important to be precise?
  13. Why is it so difficult to ask how far someone wants to go or to clarify your intentions?
  14. For women - If a guy asks you how far you want to go with him how will you feel? Is that wimpy or not cool? Will that "turn you off?"
  15. What are "beer goggles"?
  16. What role do you think alcohol plays in acquaintance/date rape?

TIPS: What You Can Do: Some Do's and Don'ts

Tips for Women

  • Be clear and direct. If you say," no," mean no and don't smile. Sometimes when we are uncomfortable or don't want to hurt someone's feelings we smile when we say no and this does not communicate clearly how we are really feeling.
  • If someone tries to force you to do something that you don't want to do say, "Stop!" or "No," loudly.
  • There is something powerful about the word, "stop" that can be very effective in helping someone to understand that we are serious and mean business.
  • Don't allow yourself to be coerced in order to avoid a scene. This is a case where a scene might need to be caused for someone to realize that what they are doing is wrong.

Tips for Men

  • When someone says, "Stop," stop. Ask and clarify. If you are not sure that someone definitely wants to do something intimate or sexual with you then ask.
  • Don't assume that you know how someone feels. Most women find that it is respectful and mature when a man actually asks if is ok to do something sexual. Asking if you can kiss someone does not "kill the moment" and in most cases it actually makes someone feel more comfortable with you. Some people say that it turns them on.
  • Be honest about what it is that you want.

Tips for Both Women and Men

  • Do not go home alone with someone that you just met.
  • If you really like someone and want to know whether they are someone you would like to be closer with them don't drink around them. It can complicate things greatly especially in the beginning.
  • Talk about sex. Mean what you say and say what you mean when you do talk about it. Sex is not a game. Know how you feel about someone and decide before hand how far you want to go with them.

If You Choose to Drink...

  • If you choose to drink, make sure to learn about date rape drugs. Do not take a drink from someone you don't know. Do not leave drinks unattended. If you think someone put something in your drink tell a friend to stay with you and go to the hospital. If you see someone who seems very intoxicated and has had too much to drink then stay with them to be sure no one has put anything in their drink.
  • Know that alcohol impairs judgment. The more you drink the more you are at risk. Avoid secluded places, stay in a group and arrange for your own personal safety.

The content provided here is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment, nor should it replace the consultation of a trained medical or mental health professional. Please note that outside links are not under our control, and we cannot guarantee the content contained on them.