Although there are many possible date rape scenarios, in a common one, the man tries to weaken the resistance of the female by exerting undue psychological pressure upon her or by plying her with alcohol or even by giving her a drug without her knowledge, and then the man forces the woman to have sexual intercourse. Sometimes the woman has no memory of the rape because of the effects of the alcohol or the drug (or because of the traumatic nature of the event itself).
Would-be date rapists have used sleeping pills to sedate their intended victims. In addition to adding sleep-inducing medications to alcohol, date rapists also have combined them with marijuana, cocaine and other drugs.
In February, 2000, federal legislation was passed in U.S. that toughened the penalties for the distribution and possession of drugs used in date rapes. The principal drug covered by the law was gamma hydroxybutyric acid or GHB. A few drops of GHB, a colorless and odorless drug, added to a drink are enough to make the victim lose consciousness within 15-20 minutes. GHB had been implicated in more than 5,700 recorded cases of overdose and in at least 57 deaths.
Victims of date rape (like all rape victims) are likely to suffer physical and/or mental trauma. Physical trauma may include cuts, bruises and abrasions in the pelvic area as well as elsewhere on the body. Mental (emotional, psychological) trauma can include overwhelming feelings of humiliation, embarrassment and defilement.
Date rape victims should go promptly to a hospital, as should all rape victims. There the hospital rape team can begin to attend to any physical wounds, administer antibiotics to prevent or treat sexually-transmitted diseases, provide initial rape counseling and set the stage for future treatment of a psychological and/or physical nature that the patient may need. The evaluation and report by the hospital also helps to document the condition of the patient for legal purposes and possible police action.
Date rape is essentially a form of partner abuse, although the "partners" may be on their first date (or have been out together on multiple occasions).