Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Teens, drinking & date rape

Life Lessons: Teens, drinking & date rape

With proms, formals, and high school and college graduations, May is a month full of "rites of passage."

It's also a time when teens and young adults may find that alcohol and relationships don't mix.

Amanda Shradley is a wife, mother of three, and a tireless advocate for crime victims. When she was just 16, her first date with a 21-year-old had a violent ending.

An unsupervised house party with alcohol led to date rape. Friends convinced her to tell her parents, who called the police.

"About four weeks later, my parents sat me down and told me I was pregnant due to this," says Shradley.

Every year 50,000 teens and young adults under the age of 21 experience an alcohol-related sexual assault.

Jennifer Storm is the author of Blackout Girl, a book about her experience with alcohol and date rape at the age of 12.

"I spent Easter morning having a rape exam done, instead of singing in the chorus, which is what I was supposed to be doing," says Storm. "Unfortunately, alcohol is the number one facilitator of sexual assault."

Storm warns young people to safeguard themselves when they know they'll be around alcohol.

She advises them to drink only with people they know and trust.

Pick someone in the group to be a "sober sister": a non-drinking person to make sure the others in the group get home safely, she explained.

Storm also educates about consent. In some states, sex is illegal if one partner is drunk.

"That gets a lot of wide eyes in the room," she said. "A lot of young people have no clue."

"I feel like it needs to be talked about more openly when they're in middle school and high school, and not just a one-time, 'Oh, we talked about it, check it off the list,'" Shradley explained.

It's a talk, that if you don't have, could impact your daughter's life forever.

Resources for teens and concerned adults can be found on the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network website.


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