Rape Warning Signs

By Jennifer Vaughan

The American Medical Association estimates that a woman is raped every 45 seconds. All women are at risk of being raped regardless of age, race, socioeconomic class or level of education. According to FBI statistics, one in three women will be raped during their lifetime and the majority of those rapes will be date or acquaintance related. Rape Abuse and Incest Nation Network (RAINN) estimates that only 25 percent to 30 percent of rapes are stranger related, meaning about 70 percent of the victims knew their rapist.

Men who Rape

Not all rapists look grungy and lurk in dark corners of way word alleys. There is no sure way to tell who is capable or rape and who is not, but watch out for men who view women as sex objects and do not respect them, invade women's personal spaces and touch them inappropriately especially when the touches are unreciprocated. If they consider aggression and violence as normal male behavior, expect relationships to be on a man's terms and view rape as seduction instead of violence, act controlling or make crude remarks about women. Not all men who display these characteristics are rapists, but it is important to take note of the behaviors of the men around you.

Situations to Avoid

In addition to paying attention to the personalities of the men around you, it is equally important to avoid situations that put you in danger. Drugs and alcohol impair judgment. When men and women drink, their inhibitions are lowered. Stay away from intoxicating substances if you are unsure of your environment or do not completely trust the people you are with. Avoid isolating locations. Stay in large groups and pay attention to your surroundings. Take a mobile phone with you wherever you go and make sure the battery is charged. Trust your intuition. If you feel uncomfortable, leave. You own no one an explanation.

The Date Rape Drug

Date rape drugs are usually administered through beverages. The common date rape drugs are rohypnol (roofies) and gamma hydroxybutric acid (GHB). These drugs have no odor, taste or color, and can dissolve into any drink in a few seconds. They take effect in about 10 minutes. If you have been slipped a date rape drug you may be confused, have difficulty speaking, feel nauseated, experience hot and cold spells, and feel tired. To avoid these drugs, do not accept drinks from people you do not know well and never leave your beverage unattended.

Staying in Control

If you are in a situation where you feel rape may occur---get out. If you are being raped, try to stay calm. It is easier to think clearly when you are calm. Pleading or crying typically does not help, instead fight back, try to escape and scream for help. Say that you have a sexually transmitted disease like herpes or HIV to stop the attack. But most important, trust your own feelings. Only you know if it is best to fight back or act submissively to avoid further injury.

Post Rape

If you have been raped, report it immediately. You will not be in trouble. Seek medical help. Do not wash or clean yourself up, evidence is key to landing a conviction. Talk to individuals who can support you and understand what you are going through like counselors, doctors, policemen trained to help rape victims or contact a rape hotline.

Signs of Rape

Most victims of rape do not report the attack, so it can be important to look for changes in behavior or personality if you suspect a loved one has been raped. Many women feel guilty or ashamed of what happened to them and they may not even realize their assault was rape. They may become depressed and their feelings toward men in general may change. They may begin to eat differently, purposefully injury themselves and talk or think about suicide.