Is Sexual Violence Just a Women’s Issue?

Sexual violence is unwanted sexual intercourse, fondling, kissing, hugging, or any sexual contact you’re not comfortable with. It can be a stranger or someone you know. If it is against your will, it is against the law: it’s a crime.

Date/Acquaintance rape usually involves physical force, emotional bargaining, blackmail, or mind games to force sexual intercourse. Date rape is not different than acquaintance rape — the most common acquaintance rapes occur on dates or in a relationship.


  1. Paying for a date doesn’t equal consent for sex. If this bothers you, suggest that you split the cost because you’re not buying a physical encounter.
  2. Never force a woman to have sex. Women have rights to set limits on sexual behavior — just as you do.
  3. Don’t assume you know what a woman wants — ask!
  4. No means no! Always take her answer at face value.
  5. Giving in doesn’t equal consent. If you have to persuade her, then you’re violating her power to decide.
  6. A successful date does not equal consent for sex. Clear, affirmative communication is the only form of consent.

There is a widespread, if unexamined, assumption in the dominant male culture that men who publicly take the “women’s side” in the “battle between the sexes” must not be particularly strong men. If you are a guy, being “one of the guys” is easy. You simply go along to get along. On the other hand, if you are uncomfortable with the sexist attitudes or behaviors of your fellow boys or men, you have to be fairly secure and self-confident to express your opinion. We do, however, know that many men do not abuse women and children; and that they strive always to live with respect and dignity.

— Jackson Katz


If you are sexually assaulted… 

  • Get support – call PAAR [1-866-END-RAPE or 1-866-363-7273] or someone you trust.
  • Go to the emergency room – a PAAR advocate is always available to go with you. You could also take a friend or family member. The ER will collect forensic evidence, test for STDs and pregnancy, and provide emergency contraception. You are not required to press charges if you go to the hospital.
  • Preserve physical evidence – don’t shower, bathe, smoke, change clothes, douche, or throw anything away.
  • PAAR provides free counseling. PAAR also provides information for survivors on how you may be feeling and the impact of sexual violence.
  • Remember: Sexual violence is never the victim’s fault.

If someone you know is sexually assaulted…

  • Believe. “I believe you, and I’m glad you told me.”
  • Support. “I’m sorry that happened to you.”
  • Be patient and just listen.
  • Reassure the person. “It’s not your fault. I’m here for you.”
  • Respect their dignity and confidentiality. Don’t tell other people about what happened.
  • Allow them to be in control. Give them options — don’t tell them what to do.
  • Don’t ask questions like, “What were you doing…,” “Why didn’t you…,” “Were you drinking?”
  • It’s normal to have your own feelings. Talk to support people to vent feelings like anger, guilt, and confusion.


This information brought to us by Pittsburgh Action Against Rape [PAAR]


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