Term Paper on Date Rape

This essay has a total of 2318 words and 9 pages.

Date Rape

Date rape is not a rare incident that only happens in isolated situations. In fact,
surveys indicate that in 84% of rape cases, the victim knew the attacker, and 57% of rapes
occurred on dates (Warshaw 11). However, what is even more surprising than these high
statistics is that most incidents of date rape go unreported. Several theories exist that
try to explain this phenomenon. For example, many women may refuse to believe that their
"friend" raped them. In fact, they could eventually convince themselves that it never
happened. Additionally, there is confusion following the attack in which memory and
emotions become mixed up. When alcohol or drugs are involved, the women may have no memory
of the attack whatsoever. Even if the victim does remember the attack, they could be left
with a sense that they let themselves be taken advantage of. In cases such as this, the
victim may blame them self instead of the attacker.

The shame involved in either being battered by or hurting someone we care for makes it
hard to tell anyone, even those closest to us. People in abusive relationships often work
hard at making it seem as if nothing is wrong. They try to convince themselves and others
that "it's not really that bad," or that "it doesn't happen all the time." (Hicks 18)

Additionally, societal perceptions dictate that a woman should know how to set limits, and
that they are responsible for their own actions.

Many women, thinking back on their sexual experiences, will respond affirmatively when
asked the question "Have you ever had sex with a man when you didn't want to, because he
used physical force against you?" but at the same time offer a firm "no" when asked "Have
you ever been raped?" (Bender 10-11)

While victims of date rape rarely report the crime, the psychological effects are just as
bad as if a stranger raped them. Since fewer women seek counseling or treatment for date
rape than for rape by a stranger, the effects can be even more severe. In recent years,
public attention has been drawn to the prevalence of date rape through the media and
researchers. However, many believe that date rape is still the most widely underreported
crime. (Warshaw 11-14)

Date rape has existed for as long as recorded history. In fact a date rape is described in
the Old Testament (2 Sam. 13: 1-15) committed by Amnon, son of Kind David. Despite its
long history, public awareness and attention has not been drawn to the issue until
recently. The term "date rape" was first used in a September 1982 article in Ms. Magazine.
In the past, legislation and public views were very different than they are today. Most
laws defined rape as unwanted vaginal intercourse committed by a man. In recent years,
this definition has been broadened to include oral and anal sex, and include non-gender
specific words. While rape of men is more rare and almost entirely unreported, it does
exist and typically happens between two men. While public perceptions of date rape have
changed drastically, there are still people today who deny its existence.

Date rape is 20-20 hindsight fiction, invented by easy sluts posing as hard-to-get and
"virtuous." Any girl whose vocal chords are intact can scream her head off while kicking,
scratching, squirming, and seeking a way to escape. Before you believe her claim of date
rape, ask if all four of her limbs were immobilized, her mouth gagged and her hips held in
a vise-like grip? (Bender 11)

Fortunately, as media attention continues, most people have begun to acknowledge the
prevalence of date rape and its traumatic effects. (Bender 9-13)

As date rape becomes more widely known, researchers have tried to analyze why men commit
date rape and what the motives are behind their actions. One common theory states that the
inclination to rape is an evolutionary trait. While men have a greater desire to mate than
females, females select their mates more carefully. The males with the best traits are
then allowed to mate and pass on those traits. Males who are not chosen by a female are
then more inclined to rape. This is essentially an adaptation that allows a male to
increase his reproductive success.

The primary adaptations responsible for the occurrence of rape were the mechanisms
involved in the human male's greater visual sexual arousal, greater autonomous sex drive,
reduced ability to abstain from sexual activity, much greater desire for sexual variety
per se, greater willingness to engage in impersonal sex, and less discriminating criteria
for sexual partners. (Thornhill 62)

One piece of evidence that supports this is that the vast majority of rape victims are of
a fertile age. Using this theory, one must conclude that a male would only rape if the
benefits (producing an offspring) outweighed the costs (risk of getting caught and
punished). Many researchers believe that men have a psychological mechanism to evaluate
the vulnerability of women. This device would help a man decide when, where, and how to
rape without suffering consequences. For example, a man with no intention of committing
date rape may proceed with the act if the opportunity presented itself and he felt he
could get away with it. Situations like this commonly lead to date rape. For example, a
male who finds himself alone with his date in an isolated spot would be more inclined to
rape. Another theory states that men with a lack of resources are more inclined to rape.
Since females select a mate based partially on resources, the male with low socioeconomic
standing would have little chance of being selected. Therefore he is more inclined to mate
without being chosen, or in other words, rape. Another possible motive for date rape is
psychopathy, which is a desire to exploit others and commit violent acts. Psychopathy is
seen in three percent of men, but it is unknown how often this lead to committing any type
of rape. It is believed that men commit date rape for any number of the above reasons, and
in most cases it is a combination of these reasons. Further research into why men commit
date rape may be helpful in preventing it in the future. (Thornhill 53-82)

Being raped by an acquaintance is a very traumatic experience and has very negative
psychological and physical effects on the victim. Almost all victims feel some sort of
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