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Acquaintance Rape

Acquaintance rape, often called date rape, refers to rape committed by someone the victim knows. We most often think of rape being committed by strangers but most of the time, the rapist is someone the victim knows.

  • Over 80% of sexual assaults are committed by acquaintances. Of the assaults reported by Illinois State University students, approximately 85% are committed by acquaintances.


Acquaintance rape does not fit our "stereotype" of the rape. Women are often warned to be wary of strangers, avoid walking alone at night, etc. All these precautions are aimed at reducing the possibility of being raped by a stranger. While stranger rape does occur, the greater risk is being raped/assaulted by someone that you know.

Some people believe that being raped by an acquaintance is not as traumatic as being raped by a stranger. This is not true. While stranger rapes tend to be more physically violent, acquaintance rapes are just as traumatic. In addition, survivors often feel a greater sense of personal responsibility and self-blame.

The survivor often questions their own judgment and must deal with the violation of their trust – they were assaulted by someone they knew and trusted.

While most sexual assaults are not reported, it is more likely that a survivor will report a stranger rape, as compared to an acquaintance rape. When the rapist is someone they know survivors are oftentimes worried that:

  • No one will believe them
  • They will face retaliation from the rapist or their friends
  • The rapist will face consequences


Survivors of acquaintance rape need the same support and medical services required by survivors of stranger rape. Free and confidential services are available to support your recovery efforts. Accessing services does not mean that a formal police report will be filed.

2018-01-30T10:32:50.928-06:00 2018