Prom is supposed to be a night that students use as a chance to get dressed up and dance the night away, looking their best with their closest friends, right? Well, although many students will be enjoying their “night to remember,” others might be wishing that the night never even began. While many post-prom plans seem like a good idea, potentially life-changing events might come along with these plans. It is important to be proactive against the potential risks that might occur during this night among these activities. Whether you are a parent, student or friend, knowing these risks could turn your “night to remember” into something actually worth remembering.

Don’t let drugs or alcohol crash your party:

For some, being under the influence is not necessary for a good post-prom time; however, for many, prom night is an invitation for the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Although the underaged use of these substances can cause many risks beyond getting into a vehicle, Rebecca Lake, who conducted AAA study “Prom Night Statistics,” proves teens are more likely to be in a car accident under the influence during the night of prom than any other night.

According to Lake, “One third of alcohol-related teen traffic fatalities occur between April and June, which is considered the peak of prom season.” Along with this, she found that 41 percent of teens aged 16 to 19 said it was likely that they or their friends would use alcohol on prom night. Eighty-four percent of teens in this survey mentioned that their friends would be more likely to get behind the wheel after drinking than to call home for a ride (if they believed they’d get in trouble for using alcohol). Another 22 percent said they’d ride in a car with someone who was impaired instead of calling their parents.

Considering these statistics and their life-changing effects, it is important to do whatever you can in order to prevent these risks from occurring. Whether it be you, your child, your friend or even an acquaintance, stepping up and putting an end to driving under the influence might be the difference between a life or death situation.

 

Prom does not come with any physical obligations:

Although in the movies prom is generally fantasized as a romantic evening occasionally followed by intimacy, in this day, it is not uncommon for people to go to prom as “just friends.” With this being said, regardless of whether the couple is two friends or a long-term couple, there should be no obligation for intimacy post-prom. Unfortunately, for too many teens, the expectation for intimacy raises on this evening, and so does the sexual assault statistic.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in five female high school students is the victim of physical or sexual abuse at the hands of a date from prom night. Along with these statistics, the risk of being victimized is higher on prom night when alcohol is involved.

Although some might argue that the issue here begins with post-prom activities such as the consumption of alcohol or drugs, this is not the case. The issue begins with the feeling of obligation that some people hold towards their dates. A current senior, anonymous out of respect for her privacy, said, “When I was asked to prom by my date, the first thing he asked was whether or not we would have sex after. After that, I felt trapped and made up every excuse not to go to the after-prom party just to avoid him and not have to say no.” This is just one instance of many in which dates feel as though they cannot say “no” and catch themselves in regretful situations. According to WCASA in reference to “Violence Against Women: The Impact of Bullying and Sexual Harassment on High School Girls,” “Forty-three percent of girls and 30 percent of boys experience unwanted sexual attention, including pressure from their [prom] dates.”

The issues of drugs and alcohol, as well as sexual assault, are unfortunate but important factors that coincide with proms. After-prom parties don’t have to be a “go big or go home” celebration; the weekend should be spent hanging out with friends and respecting people’s choices, as in any other weekend, regarding alcohol, drugs and sex.

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