Recommendations for Date Rape Prevention

 Main Idea

  • I recommend a preventative interpersonal communication strategy that all girls and women can use in their future encounters with overly aggressive boys and men who seek sexual intercourse early in dating relationships.

  Quick Facts to Remember

  • If you remember nothing else after viewing this site, I hope you will at least remember this: The longer the female dating partner waits to reject a male dating partner's sexual initiatives, the higher her risk of being sexually assaulted.  
  • Waiting increases the likelihood that a female will have to use a defensive strategy as opposed to a preventative approach.
  • Date rapists believe it is possible for the male and female couple to have "gone too far" to stop the sexual aggression. 
  • I suggest that the girl or woman inform her date of her intent or viewpoint about sex as soon as they decide they are on a date.  (For instance, the woman could be sharing her perspectives prior to leaving her apartment, bar, dance, and the like.)  One must determine prior to the date when the proper time for sexual intimacy might be.
  • I am well-aware that many women cringe at such an option because, as researchers know from a multitude of quantitative research studies, females are highly concerned about the preservation of interpersonal relationships.
  • This explains why women usually utilize indirect communication to de-escalate sexual initiatives.

  Terms to Know

  • Before I describe this approach further, I want to introduce two conceptual terms from grounded theory that should be highly useful in this discussion.  Glaser and Strauss stated,

A theory must enable the person who uses it to have enough control in everyday situations to make its application worth trying….The person who applies the theory must be enabled to understand and analyze ongoing situational realities, to produce and predict change in them, and to predict and control consequences both for the object of change and for other parts of the total situation that will be affected.  (1967, p. 245)

  • To achieve control in everyday situations, the authors provided two concepts:  controllable variables and access variables.  Glaser and Strauss profess that controllable variables,

Sometimes entail controlling only one's own behavior and sometimes primarily the behavior of others–the more difficult of the two.  But control usually involves the efforts of two parties; that is, control of the interaction between two people by one or both of them.  (1967, p. 248)

  • Access variables must be included for a grounded theory to be used in practice.  Furthermore, access variables,

are social structural variables that allow, guide, and give persons access either to the controllable variables or to the people who control them.  To use a controllable variable one must have a means of access to it. (p. 248)

  • Recommendations are open for revision.  The intent is to create a situation where everybody can utilize the theory in their everyday life, forming and refining preventive strategies.
  • In assault situations, because date rapists believe it's possible for the male/female couple to have "gone too far" to stop the sexual aggression, I recommend that women use the "access variable" as early as possible. 

 

  Possible Date Rape Prevention Scripts

  • My goal is to offer several alternative scripts that the female may put in her own words and use with her date. 
  • Below are three versions that vary in their directness.   
  • The important common factor is direct and explicit statements.
  • Considering the complexity of human interaction, the readers of this site should be aware that these recommendations willNOT necessarily guarantee a person protection from sexual assault.

      1.[Male Dating Partner’s Name], I am looking forward to our date. But I want to tell you ahead of time, so there is no misunderstanding:  I don't want to have sex.

      2.[Male Dating Partner’s Name], I am looking forward to our date.  I thought that I should tell you this in advance so there is no misunderstanding: I never have sex with a guy until we've dated for a long time (other options:  provide a length of time, state that you wish to remain a virgin until you marry, etc.).  I hope you weren't planning anything like that.  I still want to go out, but if you have changed your mind, I understand.

       3.[Male Dating Partner’s Name], I am looking forward to our date.  I thought that I should tell you this in advance so there is no misunderstanding.  I am totally opposed to sex until (various options include: marriage, I've dated the guy for a certain period of time, we have developed the relationship to the degree that it seems meaningful to both of us, etc.).  I just want you to know I will not relent on this issue.  As my parents and I have agreed, I am prepared to report a sexual assault to the police (should one ever happen) and have the guy arrested for date rape.  I would also notify any other related authorities, such as academic institutions and the like so they could take appropriate disciplinary action.  As you can tell from my remarks, I am very serious about this matter.  If you are the nice guy I think you are (one who will respect my desires), everything I just told you should not change how you feel about me.  I hope that I have not scared you away from me, because I am looking forward to our date and hope you still want to go out.  

 

  Note to the Reader:

For this newly revised and enhanced Date Rape Prevention site, my student workers and some of the website’s readers have contributed their own “scripts” based on their dating experiences.  Please refer to Female Testimonies for examples of direct language used to avoid sexual aggression by males.  Another two sections were recently developed and I encourage you to review them.  They are entitled Student Based Scripts and Advice (“Red Flags”) and Advice on Self- Assertiveness.  These additions were constructed from the results of six student focus groups which provided their perspectives on how to avoid sexual assault on a date.  Based on the research findings and one of my student worker’s reflections, I determined a subject area was needed to discuss how to become more self-assertive when a female encounters an overly aggressive male date.

 

  Defense Strategies

        "What if I wait until the last moment?"

  • A student worker and several colleagues have suggested that I explain a possible course of action for a girl or woman who waits until the last minute to tell her date that she does not want to have sex.
  • This is not an ideal scenario, because the female would be using a defensive strategy instead of a preventative one.
  • Most likely, the boy or man would interpret the situation as though he had been ‘led on,’ which causes anger and resentment. 
  • An informant from my research study made a comparison between the sexual frenzy experienced by men such as himself and any attempt to stop his initiative as being like a train wreck (i.e., “…it’d be a train wreck.”) Interviewee 8 explained,

And your emotions and your feelings and your everything’s runnin’ to go to there.  And when it stops it’s just like hittin’ a wall.  All your emotions have piled up and you’re like–you’re angry, you’re confused, you’re upset, you’re wantin’ ta hurt somethin’ or, you know, ‘cause they didn’t–you didn’t get to finish what you was doin’.

  • In my focus group discussions with male date rape research participants, I asked them the following question: How would you have responded if the female victim in the date you described to me had used a more aggressive, direct verbal rejection as well as an action?  For instance, what if she had stated: “You’d better stop trying to have sex with me or I am going to call the police and have you arrested,” while she got up and quickly walked to the door or left?  What would your reaction have been?
    • The focus group members sat silent for several moments, visibly stunned by this approach to rejecting sexual advances.
  • The various men resented this hypothetical refusal from the female victim.  All the interviewees expressed a strong desire to stop trying to have sex with their victims.
  • The men anticipated receiving sex (they had “positive” expectations) from the women who had “gone too far."  This means that the men believed that there was no turning back at this point.  
  • This was offset by the “negative” expectation of consequences, namely an encounter with the legal system (i.e., police, court system, penal institution, and the like). 
  • Obviously, a direct verbal rejection at this advanced stage by potential female victims of the male perpetrators’ sexual initiative includes many undesired possible results.  Specifically, the potential date rapist could become physically abusive when threatened by the woman.