Intimate Betrayal: Understanding and Responding to the Trauma of Acquaintance Rape


Vernon R. Wiehe & Ann L. Richards

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    • Intimate Betrayal: Understanding and Responding to the Trauma of Acquaintance Rape

      by Vernon R. Wiehe and Ann L. Richards


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    Rape is a crime against sleep and memory; its afterimage imprints itself like an irreversible negative from the camera obscura of dreams. Throughout our lives these three dead and slaughtered men would teach us over and over of the abidingness, the terrible constancy, that accompanies a wound to the spirit. Though our bodies would heal, our souls had sustained a damage beyond compensation. Violence sends deep roots into the heart, it has no seasons; it is always ripe, evergreen.

    Excerpt from The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy.
    Copyright © 1986 by Pat Conroy.
    Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Co.
    All rights reserved.


    It can happen to anyone, but it damn sure shouldn't.

    —An acquaintance rape survivor

    The title we have chosen for this book, Intimate Betrayal, graphically portrays the nature of acquaintance rape and its effect on the victim. To be intimate with someone implies a close and personal relationship. A sense of trust undergirds such a relationship. Betrayal, on the other hand, implies treachery, fraud, deception—a violation of this trust. The two words, when put together, represent an oxymoron or the pointedly foolish because the words, in a sense, are contradictory or incongruous (Follett, 1966). Yet, that is the nature of acquaintance rape. An acquaintance—a friend, date, family member, neighbor, employer—someone known, someone trusted, violently violates that relationship. The victim is intimately betrayed.

    The Subject

    Acquaintance rape is a serious social problem in American society. A need exists for information and education about acquaintance rape. Although most individuals have some knowledge of rape, the concept generally is thought of in terms of rape by a stranger. The subject of rape by an acquaintance is less well-known. Also, stranger and acquaintance rape are perceived differently by the general public and sometimes even by those who work with survivors and perpetrators. Research shows, for example, that individuals are more tolerant of acquaintance rape compared to stranger rape (Johnson & Jackson, 1988; Quackenbush, 1989). A greater tendency exists to identify with the victim of a stranger rape and the violence, stealth, and shock of this situation compared to a victim raped by an acquaintance. Victims of acquaintance rape are likely to be blamed for their assault, especially if there has been any degree of intimacy between the assailant and victim prior to the rape. Obviously, the way in which acquaintance rape is perceived or understood by others affects what victims do following their assault, the services they receive, the prosecution of perpetrators, and efforts to prevent the problem.

    Acquaintance rape is a timely subject. Individuals are postponing marriage until later and consequently are dating longer or are living together. Thus, the lengthening of the dating or nonmarital state allows for greater opportunity for acquaintance rape to occur, especially in the context of the courtship relationship. The subject also is important and timely because abuse in the dating relationship may be a precursor of what will occur in the marital relationship. As efforts are made to prosecute offenders and prevent acquaintance rape, perhaps this can also affect abuse that occurs in the marital relationship.

    The Audience

    We had a specific audience and purpose in mind when we combined our interests and efforts in writing this book—a university researcher, and a psychotherapist and former associate director of a women's center. The specific audience to which the book is directed is individuals who work with victims of acquaintance rape or who work with persons at risk of becoming a victim or perpetrator. These would include the following:

    • Personnel directors
    • Clergy
    • Teachers
    • School guidance counselors
    • Personnel employed by college and university dean of students' offices
    • Persons working in the criminal justice system
    • Individuals employed in family counseling agencies and community mental health centers
    • Rape crisis counselors

    The purpose of this book is to inform and to educate about the nature, scope, and impact of acquaintance rape on its victims, how to intervene with those who have experienced the problem, and ways acquaintance rape can be prevented. We are aware that some individuals who may come in contact with acquaintance rape victims or potential victims and perpetrators may not be trained in the helping professions. For that reason, especially in Chapter 9, the chapter on recovery, we have erred in the direction of being very basic in our approach on how to help survivors in their recovery from the trauma of their sexual assault. In the chapter on recovery, we discuss basic issues relative to the helping relationship, such as forming a relationship, confidentiality, and making a referral. We feel the nature of these issues is somewhat different when helping acquaintance rape survivors and thus even seasoned counselors can profit from a review of these basic issues in the context of acquaintance rape. A friend who at one time was employed in a rape crisis center affirmed our purpose for writing the book and the audience to whom we directed the book. After reading the manuscript, she commented, “This is the kind of book I needed when I was working with acquaintance rape victims.”

    Although the book is not directed specifically to individuals who have experienced acquaintance rape, we are certain some survivors will read it. If you are an acquaintance rape survivor, we hope this book will help you realize that you are not alone in the betrayal you have experienced and be motivated to seek help and to begin your healing process.

    Who better can educate and inform others about the problem of acquaintance rape than those who have experienced the problem. For that reason, comments of the women who participated in our research are used throughout the book. These survivors describe in their own words their intimate betrayal and its impact on their lives. Hopefully, their comments will provide you an opportunity to experience with a varied group of survivors what they uniquely experienced as well as what they hold in common with other survivors. We have incorporated with the survivors' comments the professional literature on acquaintance rape, enabling you to put these comments into a theoretical framework for understanding this social problem.

    The Research

    This book reports the findings of a research project in which 278 women participated who had experienced sexual assault from an acquaintance. Of these women, 40 were raped by their husbands. The data on this subsample is reported in a separate chapter on marital rape. Copies of the research questionnaire (see Appendix) were sent to rape crisis centers throughout the United States asking center directors to give the questionnaire to women who had been raped by an acquaintance. Individuals responded voluntarily and anonymously in prepaid envelopes addressed to the researchers. Postmarks on envelopes in which respondents returned their questionnaires revealed they came from all but 5 of the 50 states (Indiana, Delaware, Rhode Island, Alabama, Maryland). The data were collected over a 2-year period.

    Statistical data have been used sparingly throughout the book. Rather, the responses have been analyzed qualitatively emphasizing the survivors' thoughts and comments. Qualitative analysis was used so that you can feel and understand how the survivors experienced their rape, the ways this trauma has affected their lives, and their thoughts on how the problem of acquaintance rape can be prevented. Although it was not possible to include the comments of all respondents, a deliberate effort was made to avoid sensationalism when selecting the survivors' comments to illustrate the major themes. The comments are reproduced with only limited editing to correct grammar.

    Format of the Book

    The first chapter of the book will introduce you to the problem of acquaintance rape and define the key terms. Subsequent chapters will focus on the research participants (Chapter 2), the assault (Chapter 3), the survivors' response to the assault (Chapter 4), and its impact on their lives (Chapter 5). Chapter 6 discusses marital rape, a form of acquaintance rape, and reports data on a subsample of 40 women raped by their husbands. Chapter 7 presents theoretical frameworks for understanding this social problem. Legal aspects of acquaintance rape is the theme of Chapter 8. Chapters 9 and 10 focus on the recovery process from the perspectives of the therapist and the survivor. Chapter 11 emphasizes acquaintance rape prevention. Finally, the Appendix includes a copy of the research instrument and materials that you can use as you engage in educational efforts toward the prevention of acquaintance rape.

    We are aware that numerous staff members working in rape crisis centers throughout the country used the research questionnaire as a means of facilitating survivors to think about their rape by having them answer the questionnaire and then discussing their responses in individual therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, or both. The research questionnaire is reproduced in the Appendix of the book for those who may wish to use it in a similar manner.

    Word of Thanks

    First, we want to thank the authors who contributed two chapters to this book based on their expertise. Chapter 6 on marital rape was written by Patricia Lynn Peacock, a doctoral student at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gary Paquin, an attorney and social worker, wrote Chapter 8 titled “The Legal Aspects of Acquaintance Rape.”

    Our appreciation is extended to the many individuals who in some way contributed to the preparation of this book: Lisa Stofer, formerly Assistant Dean of Students for Health Education at the University of Kentucky, who shared her knowledge and expertise in acquaintance rape prevention; Tony Mazzaro, Associate Professor of Social Work at Northern Kentucky University, and Dr. Karl Stukenberg, clinical psychologist, formerly at Northern Kentucky University and now Assistant Professor at Xavier University, who brought their clinical experience to their review of the material on recovery and provided helpful comments; Sherri Chapin, ministerial candidate with the United Methodist Church and Deanna Welsh, former sexual assault counselor with the Women's Crisis Center of Northern Kentucky and currently MSW candidate, who thoughtfully and thoroughly read the manuscript and gave us the practitioner's point of view; Steve Richards, who patiently provided technical assistance to his otherwise computer-deficient mother; and spouses and colleagues who gave ongoing support and encouragement to our efforts.

    Numerous personal notes were attached to the research questionnaires. Many of these notes expressed interest in the results of the research, but others were notes of appreciation to the researchers for their interest in this subject. Following are two such comments:

    You don't know how helpful this was to me to complete the questionnaire. In some respects I feel a burden has been lifted.

    I am so glad that someone cares enough for those of us that have been through events tragic enough to prevent a normal life, to try to compile this information to help others. Thank you.

    We want to express our appreciation to the directors of rape crisis centers who gave the research questionnaire to women in their agencies who had sought help for their victimization by an acquaintance. Our thanks especially to the 278 women who shared with us their painful and bitter experiences of a sexual assault by an acquaintance. It is our hope that their responses to the questionnaire that formed the basis of this book will help mental health professionals in their recovery work with acquaintance rape survivors and in their efforts in preventing this problem.

    Vernon R.Wiehe
    Ann L.Richards
    Follett, W. (1966). Modern American usage. New York: Hill & Wang.
    Johnson, J. D., & Jackson, L. A., Jr. (1988). Assessing the effects of factors that might underlie the differential perception of acquaintance and stranger rape. Sex Roles, 19, 37–45.
    Quackenbush, R. L. (1989). A comparison of androgynous, masculine sex-typed and undifferentiated males on dimensions of attitudes toward rape. Journal of Research in Personality, 23, 318–342.
  • Appendix A: The Research Questionnaire

    Rape crisis centers in the United States were sent a letter explaining the research project on acquaintance rape and a copy of the research questionnaire that is duplicated on the following pages. Rape crisis centers were asked to return a postcard requesting additional copies of the questionnaire for distribution to clients who had been raped by an acquaintance. Space was provided in the questionnaire following the open-ended questions that is not shown in the duplication of the instrument below.

    Cover Letter

    Dear Respondent,

    Thank you for your willingness to participate in this research on acquaintance rape. Although this has been a common problem in our society for decades, an awareness of this problem is just beginning.

    A lack of information exists on the problem of acquaintance rape. The purpose of this research is to gather information from survivors and to compile this information into a book which will increase the public's awareness of this serious social problem so that it can be prevented and the survivors treated.

    You can help us by completing the following questionnaire. We want to assure you any information from the questionnaires will be dealt with anonymously and all identifying data will be removed or changed. Do not return this questionnaire if you are under 18 years of age. Thank you for your willingness to complete the questionnaire. You will find an addressed postage paid envelope attached for your convenience in returning the questionnaire to us.

    Vernon R.Wiehe, Ph.D.
    LornaNichols, B.G.S.
    College of Social Work
    University of Kentucky
    661 Patterson Office Tower
    Lexington, KY 40506-0027
    (606) 257–6657

    Following are some definitions for terms that will be used in the questionnaire. Please read these definitions before proceeding to answer the questionnaire.

    Acquaintance rape: any sexual activity that one experiences, without giving consent, with someone that the individual dates or knows. This includes fondling, oral sex, anal sex, intercourse, or other sexual activity. This questionnaire is not for survivors of stranger rape; namely, rape by a person unknown to the survivor.

    Perpetrator: the person who initiates sexual activity, without the consent of their partner. This may include someone you have dated or known, such as a classmate, fellow employee, resident in your apartment building, therapist, physician, spouse, relative, and so forth.

    Survivor: the person who has been raped. Often the word “victim” is used to describe a person who has been raped; however, we prefer to use the word “survivor” because it is a more empowering or positive expression.

    Note: If you have been acquaintance raped more than once, please respond to the questionnaire on the basis of the most recent rape. If you wish to share any information about other rapes, please do so on a separate sheet of paper.

    • Age: ___
    • Race: ___ Caucasian ___ African American ___ Other ___
    • Your Education. Please check highest level of school you have completed:
      • less than 10th grade
      • partial high school (10th grade)
      • high school graduate or GED
      • partial college (at least 1 year or specialized training
      • college or university graduate
      • graduate or professional education (graduate degree)
    • At the time of the acquaintance rape, were you: (Check all that apply)
      • an undergraduate student
      • a graduate student
      • working part-time
      • working full-time
      • a high school student
      • other (please specify) ___
    • What were the approximate ages of you and the perpetrator at the time of the rape?
      • you ___ perpetrator
    • To your knowledge, were you abused as a child by a family member:
      • emotionally
      • physically
      • sexually
      • not at all
    • Have you received counseling for acquaintance rape?
      • yes ___ no

        If yes, please check one or more of the following:

      • clergy
      • private therapist
      • community mental health center
      • rape crisis center

        other (please specify)___

    • Were you raped by your spouse? (Marital rape is included in our definition of acquaintance rape.)

      ___ yes ___ no

      If no, proceed to Question 9.

      If yes, answer a, b, c, d below.

      • Have you been raped more than once by your spouse?

        ___ yes ___ no

        If yes, approximately how many times?

      • How long did you know your spouse before the rape occurred, or the first rape, if more than one?
      • How long ago did the rape, or most recent rape, occur?
      • Were you living with your spouse at the time of the rape, or most recent rape?

        ___ yes ___ no


    • How did you meet the perpetrator, and/or how are you related to the perpetrator? (Please specify.)
    • How many perpetrators were there?
    • How long did you know the perpetrator before the rape occurred?
    • How well did you know the perpetrator?

    • Did the rape occur with a man you were dating?

      ___yes ___no

      If yes, how many times had you dated before the rape occurred?

    • Did the rape occur with a man you were engaged to?

      ___yes ___no

      If yes, how many times had you dated before the rape occurred?

      • How long ago did the rape occur?
      • Where did the rape occur?

        (car, your apartment, his apartment, dorm room, etc.)

    • Sometimes women who are raped can look back and recognize behavior by the perpetrator that made them uncomfortable before the rape occurred. As you look back, if there were any behaviors of the perpetrator that made you feel uncomfortable before the rape occurred, please share what the behaviors were.
    • At the time of the rape, was the perpetrator using alcohol or drugs? If so, how much?
    • Research indicates that a woman who is raped while using drugs or alcohol often experiences more self-blame, is less likely to report the rape, and is treated differently by others. In your situation, were you using drugs or alcohol? If so, please share how it has affected the areas underlined above.
    • Often women have consented to sexual activity with the perpetrator before the rape. As a result, they may experience more self-blame. If there had been sexual activity with the perpetrator before the rape, please share how this has affected you.
    • If you did consent to any sexual activities before the rape, would you share which of the below were involved?
      • kissing
      • fondling
      • intercourse
    • Sometimes women blame themselves for not being able to get away from the perpetrator, or somehow preventing the rape. Please share how this issue has affected you.
    • If force was used by the perpetrator, what types of force were used? (Check all that apply)
      • verbal persuasion
      • verbal threats
      • physical intimidation
      • drugged with alcohol or other drugs
      • some physical roughness (slap or push)
      • extreme physical roughness (beat, choke)
      • display weapon
      • injury with weapon
      • other (please specify)____________

      Please comment on any of the above.

    • What sexual violations were you forced into? (Check all that apply)

      ___ fondling him___ him fondling you
      ___ oral sex on him___ oral sex on you
      ___ intercourse
      ___ anal sex

      ___ other activity (please specify) ___

      Please comment on any of the above.

    • Please address anything about your experience that you would like us to know to educate the public about acquaintance rape.
      • If you are unmarried, how do you feel the rape you experienced affects your dating patterns now? Please address how trust and intimacy specifically have been affected.
      • If you are married, how has the rape(s) affected your marriage? Please address how trust and intimacy specifically have been affected.
    • Based on our definition, had you ever heard of “acquaintance rape” before it happened to you?

      ___yes ___no

    • Did you define your experience as rape at first? Please relate why or why not?
    • If you did not define it as rape at first, when did you define it as rape?
    • Did you report the rape to authorities? Please relate why you did or did not report it.

      If you did report it, to whom did you report it, and what was your experience?

    • Did you seek medical assistance? If so, please relate your experience.
    • Did you prosecute the perpetrator? If so, please describe your experience, and especially what the outcome was.
    • Have you told anyone about the rape? If so, please share what their reactions were, and what their relationship is to you.
    • What one suggestion do you have for eliminating acquaintance rape in America?
    Closing Comments

    We recognize that completing this questionnaire may bring up unpleasant thoughts and feelings. If this has happened to you, and you feel that you need to talk to someone, please check your local directory for a rape crisis center or other counselor nearest to you.


    Appendix B: Sex: A Decision for Two

    • Participants will expand the concept of “safer sex” to include being safe from unwanted sexual activity.
    • Participants will recognize that a person's sexual safety is at risk whenever a couple is not communicating honestly and clearly about what is happening between them.
    • Participants will examine how traditional sex role expectations may program girls to be victims and boys to be offenders.
    • Participants will identify incidents of miscommunication and recommend behavior changes.

    During the past few years, “safer sex” has become equated with AIDS prevention and, to a lesser degree, with prevention of other sexually transmitted diseases. But a truly safe encounter must be free from fear of unwanted pregnancy and from coercion or pressure, as well as from disease. Yet, recent studies confirm that the sexual expectations of both males and females lead many to believe that force to achieve intercourse is acceptable and in fact expected in a variety of dating situations. This lesson seeks to provoke discussion about the assumptions and miscommunications that lead to the prevalence of “date rape.” It provides strategies for preventing this all-too-common form of unsafe sex.


    Worksheets: Sex: A Decision for Two Scenario

    The Analysis

    • Tell participants you will read a series of sentence stems and they are to write the first response that comes to their mind for each. Encourage them not to think, but to record their “gut” reaction. As you read each sentence stem, write it on the blackboard:
      • Sex is safer when…
      • Boys have sex because …
      • Girls have sex because …
      • Sex is dangerous when …
      • When girls say “no” they mean …
      • When boys say “no” they mean …
    • Ask for three or four volunteers to read their responses to each item.

      Discussion Questions:

      • Are the “gut” responses to the first sentence stem adequate for describing “safe sex” or do you want to add other characteristics that are necessary before you would consider an encounter to be “safe?”
      • Note that this lesson will examine the idea that when sex is forced, it is unsafe sex. A study in Nobody Told Me It Was Rape by Caren Adams and Jennifer Fay (1984) reports that 39% of teen males and 12% of teen females think it is okay for a boy to hold a girl down and force her to have sexual intercourse if he spends a lot of money on her; 39% of the males and 18% of the females think this is okay if she is stoned or drunk; and 51% of the males and 42% of the females think force is okay if she gets him sexually excited. Although all of the above describe rape, only 34% of the teens said that force was unacceptable in any of these circumstances. Ask, do attitudes about why boys/men have sex reveal anything about why “date rape” is so common today?
      • What can be done about the fact that some men believe that women do not mean “no” when they say “no?”
    • Distribute Worksheet: SEX: A DECISION FOR TWO—THE SCENARIO. You may read it yourself, or get two participants to read it as the group reads along.
    • Divide participants into small groups of 4 or 5 each. Distribute THE ANALYSIS and have groups complete it.
    • Ask participants to return to the whole group. Discuss THE ANALYSIS briefly, then ask the girls/women to quickly write all the ways they can help prevent “date rape” and ask the boys/men to write all the ways they can help prevent “date rape.”
    • List the BRAINSTORMING from each group on the board.

      Discussion Questions:

      • Do you think that understanding how “date rape” happens will help prevent it? Why or why not?
      • What skills would girls/women need to assert themselves in sexual situations?
      • What skills would boys/men need to be more aware of their partner's real feelings?
    • If there is time, distribute small file cards and ask each participant to write one thought and one feeling they have at the end of this lesson/ workshop. They should not put their names on the card.

    Collect the cards, shuffle, redistribute and have each person read the card they now have. (This activity provides good closure and may set the direction for your next lesson/workshop.)

    Worksheet: Sex: A Decision for Two—The Scenario
    8:00 p.m.

    “Hurry up,” urged Yvonne. “I thought you said Willie would meet us downstairs at 8:00 p.m.” Jill, Yvonne's roommate replied, “Yeah, I know. Listen, I forgot to mention—but that guy you know from English is gonna come with us. You remember, he's a good friend of Willie's.” Yvonne felt nervous suddenly. “You mean John? You know I think he's really cute. What do I say?” Jill answered, “Just act natural.” Yvonne nodded, thinking the party was going to be really good with John there.

    8:15 p.m.

    At the party, John was very attentive to Yvonne. She was thrilled. They started to dance. Yvonne knew she was a terrific dancer and she loved to dance, especially with such a cute guy as John. They spent about an hour together, alternating between talking and dancing. Yvonne had a few beers. She could feel her body get looser from the alcohol making her dancing, she felt, even better.

    10:30 p.m.

    A slow song came on and John immediately pulled Yvonne close. Yvonne did not feel entirely comfortable dancing in this way but did not say anything. Instead, she put her hands on his chest in an attempt to keep their bodies from pressing too close. John was really enjoying himself. He had noticed Yvonne in English and thought she was attractive. He couldn't believe his luck. He felt he was acting so smooth and charming. He could sense she was responding to it. He decided to kiss Yvonne.

    Yvonne was surprised at John's kiss. She was attracted to him, yet felt uncomfortable that he was kissing her in public. She didn't want him to think that she didn't like him so she just tilted her head down to end the kiss. John thought to himself, she really likes me. She is snuggling in after that kiss.

    11:30 p.m.

    The dance floor became packed again as the music got fast. Yvonne felt slightly dizzy from the beer and wanted to get some air. John was distressed at the mood change. He felt very turned on and wanted to be alone with Yvonne. He said to her, “Want to go outside for some air? It's pretty stuffy in here.” Yvonne looked around for Jill but didn't see her. She said to John, “OK, but just for a little while.” She felt very nervous about being with him alone, but felt silly feeling that way.

    11:40 p.m.

    Once outside, John immediately put his arm around Yvonne and began kissing her, thinking how much she wanted to be kissed because she had been dancing so sexy all evening. Yvonne, still unsure about what she wanted, pulled away and began talking about how good her freshman year had been so far. John thought she was quite drunk and was very talkative when drunk. So he continued to kiss her. Yvonne again pulled away and stood up saying, “I think I should get going. Let's find Jill.”

    12:00 Midnight

    John followed Yvonne inside to the party. They had found that Jill had just left with Willie. John offered to walk Yvonne to her dorm thinking he could spend some more time with her alone. Not wanting to walk alone, Yvonne agreed.

    12:30 a.m.

    Arriving at Yvonne's dark suite, John asked, “Aren't your roommates home?” Yvonne told him they were away. John thought to himself Yvonne wants to be alone with me too. That's why she brought me back here. John said to Yvonne, “Let's go inside then. We don't have to say goodnight out here.” Yvonne hesitated. She told John that she was very tired and wanted to go to sleep. John said, “I won't stay long,” and took her key from her hand and opened the door. When Yvonne stood in the hall and said goodnight, John laughed. John walked past her into the living room saying, “Come sit for awhile.” He motioned to the space next to him on the couch.

    Yvonne sat down, still buzzed from the beer, and began to explain once again that she was tired and John should stay only for a few minutes. John, thinking of how sexy Yvonne was, moved over and began to kiss her. He pushed her down onto the couch and began to unbutton her shirt. Yvonne did not respond to his kisses and pushed him away muttering, “No, stop.” John ignored her, continuing to undress both of them thinking she really wanted it.

    Yvonne stopped saying, “No” and began to cry when John began to have intercourse with her.

    Worksheet: Sex: A Decision for Two—The Analysis
    • Identify three times during the scenario when John did not respect Yvonne's feelings.
    • Identify three times during the scenario when Yvonne made herself more vulnerable.
    • If John were sensitive to his partner, what signals would have told him that Yvonne did not want to continue?
    • If Yvonne had been assertive, what three things could she have said to make her real feelings clear to John?
    • Date rape often proceeds through three stages. Identify behaviors in THE SCENARIO at each stage:
      • Someone (usually the male) enters another's “personal space” in a public place (kissing, hand on breast or thigh, etc.)
      • The partner does not assertively stop this intrusion and the aggressor assumes it's OK.
      • The aggressor gets the couple to a secluded place where the rape occurs.
    SOURCE: Brick, P., et al. (1989). Teaching Safer Sex. (Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey, 575 Main Street, Hacksensack, NJ 07601). Reprinted with permission.

    Appendix C: A Date Rape Workshop

    DianaPace, PhD
    JohnZaugra, EdD
    Counseling Center
    Grand Valley State University
    Allendale, MI 49401-9403

    History: The date rape workshop at Grand Valley State University evolved out of increased awareness among the Counseling Center staff regarding the prevalence of date rape and an increase in the number of students who presented date rape as a clinical concern in counseling.

    In an effort to increase staff's skills regarding date rape, the Center sent a male staff member to a date rape training workshop by Andrea Parrot in 1985. A male was intentionally chosen to attend because female staff members were already somewhat aware of the dynamics of date rape and were feeling some degree of outrage about it. The need was felt for both males and females to develop sensitivity to this social problem and ways to intervene.

    Workshop Schedule: The workshop requires approximately two and one-half hours. However, this time period can be shortened by not showing a video and eliminating one of the exercises. The number in parentheses indicates minutes devoted to that program item.

    • Introduction of facilitators and brief overview of the workshop. (Workshops are conducted by a male and female facilitator.)
    • Administration of Date Quiz and The Anatomy of a Date Rape. (See end of this section for these items.) Discussion of responses and brief presentation of general information on date rape.
    • Administration of Sexual Assertiveness Questionnaire and discussion of responses. (See end of this section for this item.)
    • Video. (See videos reviewed in Chapter 11—“Preventing Acquaintance Rape.”)
    • Group discussion of video.
    • Fishbowl Exercise.
    • Distribution of materials on date rape prevention. (See suggested pamphlets in Chapter 11 or materials may be acquired from your local rape crisis center.)
    • Completion of the Date-Rape Workshop Evaluation Form.
    Date Quiz
    • In what percentage of the cases are men sexual assault victims?

    • Rape can occur in a relationship characterized by trust and respect.

    • Date rape is prevalent among all socioeconomic, educational, and occupational classes.

    • If a woman goes to a man's place of residence, it means she is willing to have sex.

    • Miscommunication about sex role expectations among men and women characterizes the traditional American dating system.

    • Men and women generally agree on what constitutes a “consent” to have sex together.

    • Women know that when they request it, men will stop immediately during the sex act.

    • Attitudes toward members of the opposite sex are significant variables for predicting the tendency of an individual to rape.

    • It is all right for a male to force a female to engage in intercourse if she lets him touch her above the waist.

    • Women are more responsible than men for preventing date rape.

    • Men and women have difficulty expressing themselves honestly in new male/female relationships.

    • Forced sex is a crime even though the male and female may like each other or have had sex in the past.

    • It is never OK for a man to force himself on a woman even though he's heard the woman say “No” but he thinks she means “Yes.”

    • Aclose look at American society strongly suggests that women and men are toys for play or are objects for conquer.

    • Frequently women and men fail to report rape because of fear of humiliation.

    • Traditional American dating styles characterize men as aggressors and women as resistors.

    Correct answers:

    • 10%
    • Yes
    • Yes
    • No
    • Yes
    • No
    • No
    • Yes
    • No
    • No
    • Yes
    • Yes
    • Yes
    • Yes
    • Yes
    • Yes
    The Anatomy of a Date Rape

    Directions: Ask a participant to read the SITUATION given below. Ask the same or another participant to read each question that follows. Allow group participants to discuss each question. Compare answers from male and female participants.

    SITUATION: It was Julie's first time away from home. It was her second date with Tom, another freshman student at College U. Both Julie and Tom had breakfast and dinner together in the campus dining center, walked to several classes together, and had study dates in the past. They had become friends! Tonight's party had been fun and gamely. Beer and wine were the only refreshments served; jokes centered on sexual activities; marijuana was smoked; everyone professed to have a good time.

    After the party, Tom and Julie returned to Tom's dorm room where both began to become intimate with each other, engaging in petting and kissing. With time, Julie asked Tom to stop, but he persisted because Tom knew that Julie wanted it. Tom also knew that Julie was a tease! She protested but Tom continued and eventually coerced her into having sex with him. Tom returned Julie to her dorm room to end the evening.

    Questions for Discussion:

    • Did rape occur?
    • The forced act of sex occurred on whose turf?
    • Identify factors that may have contributed to the forced act of sex.
    • What was Tom's perception of Julie? As a person? College student? Friend? Date?
    • What have you learned?
    Sexual Assertiveness Questionnaire

    Directions: Place the number in the blank that best indicates your response to the statements below.

    1 = Never

    2 = Sometimes

    3 = Always

    People have the right to:

    • Make their own decisions regarding intercourse or other sexual activity regardless of their partner's wishes.
    • Use or not use birth control regardless of their partner's wishes.
    • Tell their partner when they want to make love.
    • Tell their partner they don't want to make love.
    • Tell their partner they won't have intercourse without birth control.
    • Tell their partner they want to make love differently.
    • Masturbate to orgasm.
    • Tell their partner they are being too rough.
    • Tell their partner they want to be hugged or cuddled without sex.
    • Tell their relative they're uncomfortable being hugged or kissed in certain ways.
    • Ask their partner if they have been examined for sexually transmitted diseases.
    Fishbowl Exercise

    Directions: This exercise occurs with the women initially sitting in the middle of a circle and the men on the outside. The group facilitator reads each of the unfinished sentences stated below and the women respond while the men listen. The process is then reversed. The men sit in the middle of the circle and the women on the outside. The men respond to the unfinished sentences while the women listen. Later, the group discusses similarities and differences in the responses and implications of the responses for dating.

    • Situations in which I feel vulnerable are …
    • Cues that make me wary are …
    • I feel I have a right to sex when …
    • I feel someone is giving me a sexual “come on” when…
    • I feel powerless in a relationship when …
    Date-Rape Workshop Evaluation Form


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    About the Authors

    Gary W. Paquin, JD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky at Lexington. He received his master's and law degrees from the University of Michigan and his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the California Bar Association. He conducts research and writes in the areas of conflict resolution and legal/social work issues.

    Patricia Lynn Peacock, MSW, CSW received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kentucky at Lexington. She is currently working on her doctorate in social work at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she is also a teaching assistant. In addition to her academic pursuits, she is employed as the social worker at the Pain Management Center at the University of Kentucky hospital. She has made presentations at both regional and national conferences.

    Ann L. Richards, MSW, LCSW, received her Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky, and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kentucky at Lexington. She currently is employed as a clinical social worker at the Health, Counseling, and Testing Center at Northern Kentucky University and has also served as a part-time instructor at the university. Prior to this, she was the Associate Director of the Women's Crisis Center of Northern Kentucky at Covington, Kentucky. In addition to her professional employment, she is actively involved in a volunteer capacity with organizations working in the field of interpersonal violence. She is a past appointee by the Governor of Kentucky to the Kentucky Child Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board. She has made presentations at local, regional, and national conferences.

    Vernon R. Wiehe, PhD, is Professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky at Lexington. After he received a master's degree from the University of Chicago, he did postgraduate work in the Program of Advanced Studies in Social Work at Smith College. He received his doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of numerous articles in professional journals as well as the following books: Sibling Abuse: The Hidden Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Trauma; Perilous Rivalry: When Siblings Become Abusive; Working With Child Abuse and Neglect; and Uncovering Sibling Abuse. He has appeared on numerous television and radio talk shows discussing family violence, including the Donahue Show and Sonya Live. He is a frequently cited author on the subject of family violence.

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