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Love » Gender-relations » Date-rape-060307
 
Un 'friend' ly acts

Date rape happens more often than you think. Here's a reality check...

When we think of the word 'rape' what immediately comes to mind is a stranger lurking in a dark alley waiting to attack a woman going back home alone late at night. Many rapes or non-consensual sexual activities actually happen between two people who are already acquainted, know one another socially (as friends, acquaintances, dates) or even while in an existing romantic relationship. In Indian law there is no legal distinction between rape committed by a stranger, acquaintance, friend or lover.

How to safeguard yourself against date rape:

Neha Dighe
Neha Dighe, a 22-year-old final-year student of architecture, says, "The most important thing is to accept the fact that date rape doesn't just happen to others, it could happen to you too. When you accept that, you can get yourself ready for any eventuality. Get to a public place as soon as possible and if that's not possible, hit where it hurts the most."

Dr. Liza Misra

Psychotherapist Dr. Liza Misra advises, "Blind dates are at higher risk as the girl doesn't know the person."


Leena PujariSociologist Leena Pujari says, "It's a good idea to go out in a group with him before a one-to-one-date. On a solo date, a girl needs to be alert and trust her instincts. She should be wary if her date is making sexist flirtatious remarks and inappropriate gestures. Rape is about power and control. A girl becomes extremely vulnerable because of the fear of rape, which may be ingrained in her by society and family. This fear may psychologically numb her and make her lose her presence of mind when she faces a rapist. She needs to fight him." If you feel that you can't overcome a rapist by force, just lie to him that you have AIDS, are HIV positive or have a sexually transmitted disease.

Dr. Rajkumar Shah Date rape is however not always through physical coercion. Gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr. Rajkumar Shah points out, "Common drugs are gamma hydroxy butyric acid (GHB), rohypnol (flunitrazepam) and ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride). These drugs have no taste, colour or smell and can be easily added to flavoured drinks without the victim's knowledge. These drugs may make the victim physically helpless, unable to refuse sex and lack any memory whatsoever of the event." While on a date or in a disco, a girl should always be on guard that her drink is not spiked. Keep your drink with you at all times, even when you go to the bathroom. Don't share drinks or drink from punch bowls or other large, common, open containers as they may already have drugs in them.

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Date rape may fall under 'grey' areas of law
According to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, a man is said to have committed 'rape' when he has had sexual intercourse with a woman under these conditions:

  • Against her will
  • With her consent when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in, in fear of death or hurt.
  • With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
  • With her consent, when at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication on the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature of the consequences of that of which she gives consent.
  • With or without her consent, when she is under 16 years of age.

There may be difficulty in securing conviction in date rape as it is against an assailant who is known by the victim. Date rape is therefore often colloquially described as a 'grey rape', especially if the victim is unable to demonstrate non-consent. Contributing factors to 'grey' rape may include poor communication by either the man or woman, misleading /misreading of body language, or by being unsure or unable to express what one wishes.


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