Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Romantic moment gone sour

By Michael Kanaabi

Is date rape a myth or reality?
After weeks of pursuing you, he invites you for a date and you accept. He takes you to a great restaurant where you have a fabulous meal, talk about everything and nothing, with you occasionally getting all flirty and giggly. He lays his cards on the table about how he wants you to be his girl friend, and you say 'yes'.

After a very enjoyable evening, it is now quite late, so he convinces you that will be safer for you to spend the night at his house. You think: I trust him, why not?

When you get there, the atmosphere is almost electric. You get comfy, he kisses you and things are getting heated up, but you are not ready to go the whole nine yard with him, so you start to pull away in protest, but he will not hear any of it. Now, you are scared, and he is getting rough. You struggle, but perhaps because of the shock, you do not scream, give up the fight and let him have his way with you.

So what really happened?
You cannot really know what happened especially if you were tricked into accepting a drink ' who knows it could have been spiked with something, says Lorine Apio, whose friend was a victim of date rape.

It is rare for date rape to occur when one is sober since even the 'crudest' of men who do it know this. Recent research published in the the UK, covering a sample of 75 women, showed that two out of three women who reported date rape were drunk and one out of five of the victims had sizeable amounts of cocaine with some having both of them.

Dr. Moses Muntu, a counsellor, says he has handled a couple of cases in this area and has realised that excessive alcohol intake among ladies is a major facilitator of date rape.
It inhibits your judgment and makes it 10 times easier for the man to mislead and misuse you, he says.

Apio says it usually comes from trusting too fast and too much which allows you to be free with a new man in your life when you should still be skeptical about him.

As long as you have lowered your guard, it will be much easier for him to coerce you and manipulate you into drinking more alcohol than you should, then offer a visit to his house as well, which you would have otherwise thought twice about, she says.

The venue where the date takes place being far from the girl's home is also a serious facilitator of date rape. This is usually the case when you decide to have a date for just the two of you in a place far from your home and probably nearer his place. So, incase it gets really late, it is a natural choice to end up at his home where you may get raped  Dr Muntu says.

Sometimes, the women actually make it much easier by accepting to go to the guy's home with no persuasion or coercion at all, then get cosy with him and before they realize it, they have had sex unwillingly, argues Job Kisawuzi, who has been in this sort of situation before.

At this point, some men cannot control themselves and whether it comes by consent or force, they will do anything to have sex, Kisawuzi says.

What happened to going for group dates and having people look out for each other? asks Anita Karungi, a married woman and mother of three. In our days as young ladies, that was the case and through that, we avoided things such as date rape.

Dealing with it
The first reaction should be to call out for help as soon as you can, even when the rape is going on. You can call the Police immediately after the act and make sure you get an emergency medical examination and treatment, says Dr. Muntu.

You should follow this up with counselling services to deal with the guilt and trauma.

Never trust too much or too fast, Apio reiterates. Sometimes, it is the people you love, respect and never suspect can do anything bad to you that will surprise you, so always have your guard raised high and be alert.

Dr. Munut advises that one should avoid alcohol when you out on a date if you cannot control your drinking or get tipsy and drunk too fast. This makes you more vulnerable, he says.

On top of this, you always endeavour to have dates in restaurants and bars nearer your home, or those easily accessible by public transport - even throughout the night - so that you are not caught in a position where you have to retire to your date's home.

You can ask some friends to accompany you and hang out in the same restaurant a few tables away from where you are.

If you accept an invite to his place, do not get too unnecessarily cosy with him, as this may arouse him sexually, and abet the rape, Dr. Muntu adds.

As surreal as it may sound, date rape is real, so one need take precaution. In the event that you or someone you know has already been a victim, seek help, Dr. Muntu concludes.

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