15 practical ways - Part 2- the date itself

Trauma, abuse and bereavement / Category / Emile Du Toit / May 10th 2014

This blog looks at steps 6 – 10 in preventing being date raped, that are a part of the date itself. As a part of the 15 steps to preventing date rape you also need to follow steps 1-5 in the blog Preparing for your date, as well as steps 11-15 in the blog The end of your date.

The date itself

6. Be assertive from the outset

Most men and women out on dates who are quite taken with their partners will tickle the boundaries just a little. They may not even be aware that they are doing it. In a sense this is pretty much the definition of flirting! It is very much part of the enjoyment of a date.

However, if he or she is saying or doing things that begin to make you feel uncomfortable then head them off immediately!

Tell them that it makes you feel uncomfortable and is not okay. The earlier you are assertive the less likely the behaviour is to persist. Many rape situations never develop merely because the potential victim was assertive up front!

Let me be clear though that, as with all these dating tips, if you did not follow one of them this does not make you any more responsible. All the responsibility for rape can only ever lie with the rapist!

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7. Maintain contact with your buddy throughout the evening

Quite a lot of women do have some kind of buddy system that was mentioned in the first blog on Preparing for your date, particularly if they don’t know the person well or they are internet dating. However, for many the buddy system stops after they arrive, settle in and make the call that they are okay.

Unfortunately though most date rapes do not occur at the beginning of the evening but at the end!

Obviously you don’t want to put your BFF or mom or whoever out of their way. What I am suggesting though is just a quick text to them if the evening goes well and you progress on to another spot. And the most critical text is the one you send at the end of the night to let them know that you are now home alone and settling down for the night. Trust me, your friend won’t mind as they realise that you have their back too. And many moms will be up worrying anyway, so that last call is a blessing rather than annoyance.

8. Know when to bail!

A high percentage of clients of mine who have been date raped reached a point in the evening when they realized that things were going downhill. Their gut told them that they needed to terminate the evening but they didn’t as they thought they were ‘being stupid’. If something doesn’t feel right then reach for that well prepared excuse and get out! You can always set up another date if you later feel you overreacted. Potential rapists always push sexual boundaries (which feels entirely different to flirting) as they are working out how soft a victim you might be.

So why didn’t these women act, despite realizing that things were going downhill? There are many reasons really, but perhaps the most common is that they were scared of being judged!

Luckily one of the functions of a date is to assess the other person to see if we want to take things further. Look for signs that they are somewhat creepy or downright dangerous. These might include inappropriate sexual remarks, a very explosive temper and such like. They might be on best behaviour with you, but the way they treat the restaurant staff also gives you a clue of their standard modus operandi.

9. Go easy on the booze

I know that we all want to have a drink or two on our date. Let’s face it, it helps calm those nerves and allows us to relax into the evening. Many people are also concerned about coming across as prudish or ‘not fun’ if they don’t. But you need to seriously consider whether you are going to take the risk of drinking on a first date. If you choose to drink then plan how much you are going to drink before even going out. That way you are more likely to stay reasonably sober!

Alcohol consumption by either the victim and/or the perpetrator is present in between half and two thirds of all rapes.

That is the sad reality of the situation, and these stats exclude other mood-altering drugs. In fact not only is perpetrator drinking correlated with more rapes, but so is victim drinking, even in situations where the perpetrator was not drinking. These are the realities of the situation. It shouldn’t matter whether we drink or not, but it definitely does! When we drink our boundaries and judgement are poorer and so victims do not necessarily pick up on as many dangerous situations or assert themselves as well in them. Equally if the victim drank alcohol she is also less likely to defend herself, as her self-judgement tends to come to the fore, and she also feels less capable of defending herself.

10. Be careful of date rape drugs

Drugs like rohypnol, Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and ketamine are often used – generally in combination with alcohol – to render victims defenceless. Many don’t even recall being raped or are unable to identify their rapist afterwards. Others remember everything as a kind of powerless nightmare. Here are some general tips for staying clear of date rape drugs:

  • Never accept an open drink, unless you have watched it being opened / poured
  • Go to the bathroom between drinks so your drink is never unattended

  • You can also purchase straws now in some places that change colour if your drink has been tampered with. The Israeli producers of the ‘Stirrer’ claim that it is 100% accurate for GHB and ketamine. I believe they are in the process of making it capable of recognizing Rohypnol as well.
  • Steps 11- 15 on how to prevent being date raped are discussed in the blog 15 practical ways to prevent date rape - the end of your date.

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