Rape and Prevention

2011/06/10 in Health, Sex and Sexuality

Rape is an act of violence. It most often involves sexual intercourse forced by one person upon another. Usually, but not always, by a man upon a woman.


The difference between intercourse and rape is the word “forced.” Rape is sexual intercourse or anal sex, without consent. It is forced upon an individual. Rape can happen to anyone of any age. In some states the legal term for rape is, “sexual assault.”

Forced sexual contact could involve someone’s grabbing you and pulling you close, or touching your breasts or genitals. More violent attacks usually involve sexual intercourse or forced sexual acts.

Some state laws say that a person who is less than 16 years old is incapable of giving consent. If a person younger than 16 has consented to having intercourse the partner may still face charges if that person or a family member decides to prosecute.

One myth about rape is that it happens only to women. It happens to men and women, boys and girls. The idea that rapes occur only in dark alleys is also false. Over half of all attacks occur in a home. Many rapes are committed when young people hitchhike or take rides from drivers they don’t know.

Another myth is that only girls or women with bad reputations or those who “asked for it,” are assaulted. “Blaming the victim” is common and interferes with the victim’s coming forward and getting the treatment needed. No one should feel guilty about being raped. Rape is never the assaulted person’s fault.

Most people figure that a rapist is a stranger. The truth is, in most cases, the rapist and the victim have met before.

There are things you can do to avoid being raped.

Try not to walk alone, especially at night. Be alert and walk at an even pace so you look like you know where you’re going. A rapist is most likely looking for someone who won’t put up a fight. Avoid dark, lonely places. Keep away from shrubbery, doorways, alleys, unlit parking lots, and construction sites.

If you must walk alone at night, try to watch your reflection in windows you pass to see if you’re being followed. If you believe someone is following you, look behind and change your walking pattern.

Crossing the street or any other unexpected thing you do may cause anyone following you to hesitate and give you time to get away. If you think you’re in danger, run to the nearest well lit place and scream “fire.” People seem to respond quicker to the word “fire” than they do to “help.”

Don’t accept rides from strangers. If a driver stops and asks directions, don’t get too close to the car. Don’t hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers. Lock your car doors when you’re driving. Lock your car when you park it. Don’t pick up strangers at a bar or dance. You’ve probably heard that from your parents. It’s good advice.

If you’re at home alone, keep all doors securely locked. If you leave home and expect to be the first one in your family back at night, turn on a porch light before you leave, and, upon returning, have your key ready before you reach the door. When a stranger asks to use your telephone, don’t let him or her into the house. Offer to call emergency assistance or give directions to the nearest pay phone. Never give information about yourself over the phone to a stranger, and never reveal that you are home alone.

If you feel that someone is pushing himself on you, or if you feel that something is wrong, your instincts may tell you to leave the situation, or to get help. Do it! The best thing is to trust your feelings. Then, act on them.

If you are attacked, remain calm. Try to engage your attacker in conversation, watching for an opportunity to run or create some kind of commotion. If your attacker has a weapon, however, don’t resist. Carrying a weapon for protection is not a solution. It can be taken away and used against you.

Tragic and cruel as rape is, it isn’t the end of the world. A person may never forget the shock of it, but with the help and support of friends, family or a trained counselor, he or she can get over it.

The immediate reaction to rape is usually anxiety, disbelief, or fear. Some people respond by crying, sobbing, shaking, and restlessness or agitation, while others appear outwardly calm and controlled. The latter may have a delayed reaction, possibly, in the form of post traumatic stress disorder, a treatable illness.

If you are raped or someone you know is raped, get help immediately. Go to an emergency room as soon as possible for appropriate treatment. Don’t shower, bathe, or change clothes until you get medical help. If you’re a woman, don’t douche. If you have been raped or threatened, protect others by informing the police right way.

If you want to talk to someone confidentially, you can always contact us at 2-1-1 at 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)


Teen Tapes are produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.