On several occasions I’ve come in contact with adolescent and young adult females who shared their stories that summed up to the definition of date rape. The variables were all similar, a young woman between the age of 13 and 19 years of age. This same young woman was attending a party with friends and/or acquaintances. This young woman was then coerced to engage in underage alcohol consumption to the point of inebriation, then encouraged to participate in sexual activity that could include everything from performing varying sexual acts to sexual intercourse. When confronted with the fact that they were in fact a victim of sexual assault and/or rape. They vehemently report that they were aware of what happened and they were in control. But, is that really true?
The Illinois State Police Department define date rape by the following:
Date rape is a form of acquaintance rape. It is the forced sexual contact by someone the victim is or has been dating. Regardless of the amount of time a couple has dated--in some cases, they may have just met and it may be the first "date," they may have been together for years, or even no longer a couple--when sex is forced on someone by the use of threats, intimidation, trickery, or in cases where consent cannot be given because of impaired judgment due to alcohol or drug intoxication, it is RAPE. And, it is against the law.
In most cases, the influence of alcohol or a chemical substance removes a person’s inhibitors, both physical and psychological. Being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is not an excuse for sexual violence.
Unfortunately, researchers have not been able to properly calculate statistics, because of many victims fail to report these incidents. However, the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) provide the following statistics for sexual assault among adolescent:
· More than 70% of rape victims knew their attackers, compared to about half of all violent crime victims.
· 90% of rape victims who knew their attacker did not report the attack to the police.
· 38% of acquaintance rape victims are 14-17 years old.
· 90% of rape victims under age 13 knew their attacker.
· 57% of the rapes happened on dates
· Only 27% of the women considered themselves to be victims of rape, although their assaults met the legal definition of rape, which is indicated above.
So, how do we prevent further incidents of date/acquaintance rape from occurring among adolescents?
Give yourselves to disciplined instruction; open your ears to tested knowledge. Don't be afraid to correct your young ones . . . (you) might save them from something worse than death.
Proverbs 23:12-14 Message
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18 NIV
3. Guide them to the comfort of the Lord.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV
Crystal S. Zanders is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who works in private practice in Suburban Chicago. Crystal obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Master of Arts in Counseling from Concordia University-Chicago in River Forest, IL. Crystal has over 8 years of experience providing counseling, advising, and coaching to individuals seeking to restore their lives. Crystal is actively involve in ministry. Crystal serves on the leadership team alongside her husband at Prayer City Church in Wheaton, IL. Additionally, Crystal is the co-founder of The Oasis Ministry, a women's ministry designed to encourage women in their growth in faith, purpose, and wholeness! Crystal’s favorite pastimes include: reading, writing, crocheting/knitting skills, and going to the movies. Her heart’s desire is to see individuals gain insight into their God-given identity and live a life of wholeness and purpose! Crystal loves to bring clarity and understanding through the truth of God’s Word and enjoys utilizing writing as a teaching modality.