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Rape: The Nastiest of All Four-Letter Words

Who commits it? Unfortunately, all kinds of people; a current or former intimate partner; a family member, friend, or acquaintance; a person in a position of power or trust, or a stranger. According to the CDC, in a nationally representative survey that looked at the first rape experience of female victims, perpetrators were reported to be intimate partners (30.4 percent), family members (23.7 percent), and acquaintances (20 percent). This means that the victims knew over 71 percent of the perpetrators.

What are the risks? The short-term risks are getting pregnant (for women), acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, or being injured. But there are also long-term risks that can affect your physical or emotional health:

  • Chronic pain
  • Headaches
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Problems trusting others
  • Anger and stress
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

What can I do to prevent it?

  • Avoid using excessive amounts of alcohol and drugs. It interferes with clear thinking.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Be cautious and alert.
  • Try to walk in groups rather than alone, especially at night.
  • Take a self-defense class.
  • Lock all doors to your car and residence at all times.
  • Believe in your right to set limits that match your sexual desires and limits.
  • State your limits clearly and loudly, including “NO” if necessary.
  • Yell “Fire” or carry a whistle and blow it. It attracts people’s attention.
  • If the rapist is unarmed, fight back, shout “NO” and run away as soon as possible.
  • If the rapist is armed, try to talk him out of continuing the assault or resist passively by pretending to faint, vomit or urinate

What do I do in case of rape?

  • Go to a safe place and call a friend or family member to be with you.
  • Take some slow deep breaths and realize that what happened is wrong, it’s not your fault and that you have value.
  • Call the police; rape is a crime.
  • Do not bathe, douche or change clothes.
  • If you choose not to contact the police, go to a hospital emergency department to be checked. You do not have to report to police to get medical care.
  • Write down as much as you can remember about what happened and the person who did it while it is most fresh in your mind.
  • Contact a rape treatment center. A counselor there can be of great help.

For more topics on women’s health visit the Menopause or Stress pages at

Attorney General Eric Holder Announces Revisions to the Uniform Crime Report’s Definition of Rape
Sexual Violence Prevention – CDC
Sexual Violence – CDC

Read more: General Health, Gynecology, Health, Menopause, Mental Wellness, Relationships, Sex, Stay Well With Dr. Seibel, , , , , ,

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Dr. Mache Seibel

Women's health expert and guest speaker Dr. Mache Seibel addresses consumers' critical needs from weight control to HRTmenopause and beyond. He served on the Harvard Medical School faculty for 19 years and is founder of My Menopause Magazine on the Apple Newsstand ( Download the Free App and first Free issue. He works with companies and organizations to bring exciting educational content to consumers. Visit his award-winning website to sign up for his free monthly newsletter.


+ add your own
10:32AM PDT on May 24, 2013

Good to see the definition updated.

1:37PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013


11:22PM PST on Feb 20, 2012

This is a great improvement. Keep it up! Great to see that what's considered rape is now updated. Great to see that men aren't forgotten when it comes to rape :)

4:42PM PST on Feb 19, 2012

article has good points and suggestions, thank you.

6:30PM PST on Feb 2, 2012

Thanks for posting, this topic deserves all the attention it can get!

8:37AM PST on Jan 26, 2012

Years ago a friend of mine was raped when she was 21. She has not been right since. Even now, she is afraid of most men. She was married 4 times, but acted strange around them. She is 4 times divorced and says she plans to stay that way.

I think she will be happy that the law is stronger now.

5:04AM PST on Jan 25, 2012

Lika S,
How can a paedophile website be legal? Paedophilia is illegal, so it follows that the websites are also illegal (and monitored by the police forces of many countries) - and in my country (UK) it is a criminal offence to download images from these websites. Surely that is the case in the US as well?

10:42PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

And please sign these two petitions -

1) to shut down legal pedophile websites as well as to stiffen punishments on those who sexually prey on our children on and offline:

2) to ensure that abused males have the opportunity to get into emergency shelters, support and services needed to be safe and to survive w/o abuse:

6:10PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

My aunt was raped and murdered when she was a teenager (by a person unknown to her, who also murdered her teenage male friend, and went on to rape many women). Now I am always on high alert. I refuse to wear headphones. I don't walk through parkland by myself (only with the dog in tow). I make sure all doors/windows are locked and I always feel a little jittery when I am home alone at night.

9:56AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

Finally!!!! I'm happy they changed the description of rape. I agree, even little going in, just because victim didn't want it to happen, rape is rape.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Thank you for the article.


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