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Teen Date Rape

Teen date rape is when a teen is forced to have unwanted sexual contact. Teen date rape victims can be male or female. This article will review statistics on teen date rape, tips on avoiding date rape, and where to get help if you are a victim of date rape.


Rape is a serious crime that the victim can report to the police. A victim of rape is never at fault, and should seek medical help immediately.

Teen date rape is a widespread crime. In 2002, about 9 percent of teens - 12 percent of teen females and 6 percent of teen males - reported that they had been raped, and many rapes remain unreported. A rapist sometimes uses physical force, fear, drugs or alcohol, or other methods to force a teen to have sex. Any sexual intercourse - vaginal, anal, or oral - is rape if the teen did not want it. Date rape also occurs if a teen agrees to one type of sexual contact, but is forced to perform other sexual acts.

Rape is not always avoidable, but there are some things teens can do to reduce the risk of being a date rape victim: 

  • Stay in control; don't drink or use drugs and don't get in a car with someone you don't know well. 
  • Try not to do things alone; go to parties and other activities with friends, and consider sticking to group dates. 
  • Always carry a cell phone or phone card and some extra money in case you need to get out of a bad situation. 
  • Learn how to defend yourself. 
  • Decide what your limits are, and remember that a person who pressures you to change your standards doesn't care about you and should be avoided. 
  • If someone is trying to force you into doing something you don't want, loudly tell him or her "no" and get away. Making noise can attract help and scare your attacker. 
  • Trust your instincts; if you don't feel comfortable with a person or situation, get away.

Date rape drugs are often used to rape teens. Date rape drugs usually have no smell, taste, or color and can be added to a teen's drink without the teen knowing. They cause the teen to become helpless - unable to move, see, or get away. To avoid being the victim of date rape drugs, teens should not drink alcohol, and should only drink from containers they opened themselves and have always been in control of - including while they were in the bathroom.

If you know or think that you have been raped, get away from the area without touching anything, and go to an emergency room or police station immediately - before showering, washing, urinating, or changing clothes. Nurses or doctors will treat you, and make a record of your injuries and check you for evidence that can be used against your attacker. Even if you choose not to press charges you should seek medical attention so you can be treated for injuries and checked for sexually transmitted diseases, which can be spread even if your attacker used a condom or forced you into oral or anal intercourse.

Date rape causes emotional harm, including feelings of guilt, depression, anger, distrust, and worthlessness, and trouble sleeping or having normal sexual relations later in life. Rape victims should seek counseling to help them heal from the emotional damage of rape, and consider joining a support group for rape victims. Free counseling is available to rape victims in most areas.

Remember that it is not your fault if you were raped.

If someone you know is a victim of teen date rape, listen and offer comfort. Help the person get medical care and counseling, and reinforce the idea that the rape was not the victim's fault.

Resources: Local police, emergency room professionals, and phonebooks can direct you to local help for rape victims, or call: National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD)

Teen Date Rape Sources:

  • The Cleveland Clinic, Rape and Date Rape GirlsHealth.gov, Safety - How to be Safety Savvy, What is Rape and Date Rape? [online]
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, womenshealth.gov, sexual assault [online]
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, womenshealth.gov, date rape drugs [online]
  • Center for Disease Control, Sexual Violence: Fact Sheet [online]

Related Article: Teen Violence and Homicide >>

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