There are lots of questions about rape and sexual assault. Each case is different and so are some of the answers. Here are a few of the more common questions we get. If you have a question that's not covered here, call the Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living (907) 452-2293, or the UAF Center for Health and Counseling at 474-7043.
- Should I fight back?
If you think you are going to be raped or sexually assaulted, and you have made yourself clear by saying "No" and trying to get away from the other person, you may have no alternative but to fight back. Fighting back is, and should be, the last resort, when you have tried everything else to either get the other person to stop, or to get away from them.
- What if I had been drinking?
Just because a person has been drinking or doing drugs does not mean they deserve to be raped or assaulted. It does mean that you may put yourself in an unsafe situation, which you should always try to avoid. Nevertheless, alcohol and drugs are never an excuse for rape.
- What is Acquaintance Rape?
Many people have questions about Acquaintance Rape (sometimes called Date Rape).
When, exactly, is it rape?
Can it really be rape if you've had sex before?
What if you've been drinking or making out?
Below are some guidelines to help you understand the difference between consensual sex (when you both want it to happen) and rape (forced sex).
It is rape anytime someone FORCES you to have sex.
Date or acquaintance rape can happen: on a date; at a party or in some other social setting; when two people have just met; when two people have been going out for a long time; or with: a long time friend; a relative, or; a spouse.
FORCE isn't always physical. When we think about force and rape, we usually think about a victim being threatened with a weapon, or of being overpowered by their attacker. Physical force is NOT the only kind of force that makes one person submit to another person, however. FORCE also includes: the threat of violence; telling someone that bad things will happen if they don't agree to have sex, or; taking advantage of someone who is too drunk or high to consent .
Additional kinds of non-physical force include: NOT taking "No" for an answer; threatening to tell other people that the victim had sex unless he or she gives in, or other forms of coercion or threats.
A person has the right to say "No" to sex at any time.
You have the right to refuse to have sex at any time, and for any reason at all. In fact, you have the right to say "No" for no reason at all, even if: you have been making out; you have been drinking or taking drugs; you have agreed at first, then changed your mind; you have been going out together for a long time; you've had sex before; your date has spent a lot of money; you go to a secluded place to be alone together.
Remember: Saying "No" doesn't mean "I don't like you" or "I don't love you", it means "I don't feel right having sex here and now".
But doesn't "No" sometimes really mean "Yes?"
"No" is a very powerful word: If you are the one to whom your partner is saying "No":Respect his or her wishes, and; Always assume that your partner means what he or she is saying.
If you use the word "No" - mean it, otherwise, don't use it, and; Always say it clearly and loudly enough for the other person to hear;
But he or she didn't say "No"...
A person who believes that he or she will be in danger by saying "No" might submit to rape or sexual assault to avoid being hurt. Whether this threat is real or imagined, this is still rape.
- What are Roofies?
Rohypnol (pronounced "row-HIP-nol") is a brand name for Flunitrazepam (a benzodiazepine), a very potent tranquilizer similar in nature to Valium (Diazepam), but many times stronger. The drug produces a sedative effect, and brings on amnesia and muscle relaxation. Sedation occurs about 20-30 minutes after taking it and the effects last for several hours. "Roofies" as it being is called on the street, is also called "Ruffies", "Roche", "R-2", "Rib" and "Rope" and according to reports is quickly becoming the "date rape drug of choice."
- What if I'm raped -- how can I get help?
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, call the 24 hour Rape Crisis Hotline immediately. The number is (907) 452-RAPE (2293) (1-800-478-7273). Trained volunteers are available any time of the day or night, for crisis intervention dealing with rape and other sexual assault. You can find more information on local crisis centers by calling the Women's Center at 474-6360.
- But I think it might have been my fault.
If you have told the other person, clearly and firmly, that you don't want to have sex, and the other person has forced you to submit to them, you are not to blame and it is not your fault. Even if you were kissing or making out at the time, even if you have had sex before, you always have the right to say "No". If the other person ignores your wishes, and forces you to have sex or commit sex acts, this is rape, and rape is illegal.
- I've been raped, but I'm too embarrassed to report it.
Many victims of rape feel embarrassment and fear that a public trial will expose them to humiliation. It is perfectly normal to have these feelings. Just remember IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Only the person who committed the rape is to blame.
- What if nobody believes me?
The staff at the Interior Center for Non-Violent Living, and the Women's Center, will believe you. They will not judge you. The Interior Center for Non-Violent Living will assist you with medical or legal issues, and provide an open and supportive atmosphere for you. Call them at (907) 452-2293 or toll-free at 1-800-478-7273