What Is Date Rape?

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What Is Date Rape?

"Date rape" is a term used to describe rape that happens when the victim and the offender are dating or on a date together for the first time.  This is different from rape that happens when the victim and the offender are complete strangers. Date rape tends to be more orchestrated and planned out by the offender, who may create conditions wherein the victim may become susceptible to rape.

For instance, the offender may plan the date in a secluded area, or they may use some form of date rape drug such as a “roofie” or other tranquilizer to make the victim unconscious. Also, there tends to be some amount of trust between the victim and offender, and so the offender may gain access to the person’s living area or house. 

What Are the Legal Issues Involved in Date Rape?

One of the main areas of contention with date rape is the concept of consent. In many cases, the offender will claim that the person actually consented to sexual activity, thereby relieving them of liability for rape or sexual assault. Indeed, in some cases, the line between consensual and non-consensual conduct can be very difficult to distinguish when people are consenting to other forms of physical contact, such as kissing and frottage. This is true especially in cases where one or more parties is under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs.

However, some date rape cases are clearly non-consensual, such as those involving near-kidnapping conditions or date rape drugs. In such cases, consent may not be a valid defense for the offender.  

Other legal issues may also include stalking or harassment, as this is also one of the aspects of date rape. The offender may have been stalking the victim for a while before they began getting romantically involved. This can happen in person or commonly through internet and online stalking.  In such cases, the offender may be planning a date rape situation long beforehand, while the victim genuinely believed they are in a true relationship when they actually were not. 

These types of aspects can make date rape trials particularly tricky to deal with. Criminal penalties for date rape can involve criminal fines, sentences for more than one year, and possible placement on a sex offender list.

 

Does Consent to Previous Intercourse Count as Consent?

No, consent to prior sexual intercourse or receiving consent after the act does not count as consent. It is common for victims in date rape scenarios to have had consensual sex with the defendant prior to the non-consented sex. It is not unusual for victims to have consensual sex with the defendant after a non-consented sex if the victim has no recollection of the latter. It is important to understand that sex must be consented to each time prior to that particular act of sexual intercourse. A person saying “yes” once is not a blanket invitation for sex each and every time the defendant is aroused. Sadly, giving consent once is often treated as a valid defense for other times where sex is non-consensual when, in fact, it is not valid at all.

What Obstacles May Prevent a Date Rape Case from Being Properly Prosecuted?

Due to the personal nature of date rape, victims are often reluctant to even report the crime, as they may not want to get their significant other or date in any sort of legal trouble. In addition, victims are often unsure if what occurred is even date rape, especially if alcohol or drugs prevents the victim from remembering everything that happened.

 

Once a victim does try to bring the case forward, the personal nature of the case often serves to delay or even derail the case. Many women abuse the legal system by reporting date rape against partners who are cheating, neglecting them, rejecting their advances, or breaking up with them. It does not take too much imagination for actual date rapists to use this abuse of the system as a defense for their own crimes.

What Can You Do If You Have Been or Think You Have Been Date Raped?

Contact the authorities and go to a medical doctor immediately. Medical centers can preserve evidence of rape. Traces of date rape drugs disappear quickly from the body so it is important to get medical attention immediately.

 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With Date Rape Charges?

You may need to hire a qualified criminal lawyer in your area if you have been accused of or charged with date rape. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice so you can determine your rights in your state. Also, your lawyer can keep you informed of any new evidence or laws that might affect the outcome of the criminal trial. 

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Last Modified: 08-09-2016 02:21 PM PDT

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