(Graphic by Autumn Mariano)
(Graphic by Autumn Mariano)

Forms of gender-based violence such as date rape are very difficult topics for the public to discuss. Despite this, awareness about the problem is the first step in combating it.

Date rape is very common on college campuses. It’s important for students to have the right facts about the issue.

One in four women is date raped or experiences an attempt during her college years, according to USciences.edu.

The definition of date rape according to the site is “non-consensual intercourse by a friend or acquaintance.”

It is important to break down this definition into two points.

First, non-consensual means that it is without agreement. Second, force is not necessarily involved.

If someone is unable to give consent or doesn’t agree to have sexual intercourse, it’s considered rape.

About half of people who are date raped know the person who attacked them. Most friendships and dates never lead to violence, but it’s always a possibility.

One idea the public seems to have is that the girl was “asking for it.” It is important to stray away from this idea because the person who is raped is not to blame.

Rape is not about sex or passion. It is an act of violence or aggression.

With date rape, alcohol and drugs usually play a large factor, so it’s important to remember that these things can loosen one’s inhibitions, dull common sense and allow aggressive tendencies to surface in some people.

When drinking you can stay safe by always ordering your own drinks, and not leave them unattended, according to kidshealth.org. Drugs like Flunitrazepam, or “roofies,” can easily be mixed in drinks to make a person black out and forget things that happen later.

Date rape can be avoided with simple measures. One way is to not go home alone with someone you just met. It can get risky when you don’t know a person well. Wait until you trust them to be alone.

If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t spend time alone with that person. Following your instincts can save your life.

On the other hand, if you want to get to know someone better, don’t go drinking with them at first. It can really complicate things in the beginning.

Probably the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe is to simply talk. Be clear with what kind of relationship you want with a person, including sex. Sex isn’t a game and shouldn’t be treated as such.

With advice and protective measures sometimes we still end up in bad situations. If you end up being a victim of date rape there are places you can go to get help.

If you’re hurt it’s important to go to the emergency room. Hospitals normally have doctors and counselors trained to help with this kind of situation.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of a friend. Call someone you feel comfortable with and trust to tell them what happened. Because this is such an emotional ordeal, there may not be an easy answer right away.

Calling a rape crisis center can help, and there are usually ones locally available. The National Sexual Assault Hotline is 800-656-HOPE.

Weber State has a few places for students to go as well if this happens to them. The Student Health Center on campus, located in Room 190 in the Student Services Center, offers students free or low-cost medical care without insurance.

Also in the Student Services Center, the Counseling and Psychological Services Center gives students information on crisis lines. A licensed psychologist is there if students need to talk.

Lastly, the Women’s Center in the Shepherd Union building Room 322 offers women tons of knowledge and information on these and similar issues.

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