Full version Date Rape

Date Rape

This print version free essay Date Rape.

Category: Psychology

Autor: reviewessays 13 September 2010

Words: 2383 | Pages: 10

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 psychological pain or anguish in addition to any physical pain from the attack. The effects of a date rape can last for years and treatment is usually required for psychological and physical damage that is caused. Following a date rape, the victim must take in what happened, accept it, and readjust. In the days following the rape, the victim enters what is known as the acute or crisis phase. In this phase the victim struggles with the fact that they have been raped, and begins to accept it. Their feelings of anger may turn immediately toward the rapist, or they may become angry with themselves. They may begin to question how they could have let it happen and blame themselves. Still others seem to turn off any emotions they are experiencing, and hold them all on the inside.

It’s important to see this calm or carefree behavior as a woman’s way of dealing with a terrible experience, not as a sign that the experience wasn’t so bad or even that the woman welcomed the rape. Generally, rape survivors report feeling powerless, shock, guilt, depression, anxiety, shame, embarrassment, and disbelief during this phase. However, they may have great difficulty getting in touch with these feelings or expressing them to others. (Mufson 105)

Next, the victim enters what is known as the disorientation phase. During this phase the victim is unsure of how to act, and may lose touch with her surroundings. The victim may avoid meeting people, leaving home, going outside, dating, and anything else that could trigger a memory of the event. Finally, the victim enters the reorientation phase where she deals with the rape and accepts it as part of her life. Although date rape victims report that the experience never completely leaves them, most women can live healthy lives with the help of good counseling and support. In addition to psychological effects of date rape, there are possible physical problems that necessitate medical attention. When a rape victim receives medical attention, the doctor will typically check for tears in the vaginal lining, any injuries received during the attack, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases. A morning after pill can be taken with 72 hours of the rape to terminate any possible pregnancy. Tests for sexually transmitted diseases take much longer to be conclusive. For example, symptoms of gonorrhea or syphilis do not show up for weeks, and a person infected with HIV may not exhibit symptoms for years. Clearly, the effects of date rape are very severe and long lasting. (Mufson 101-110)

To better understand date rapists and their motives, researchers have created several profiles that outline common personality types. The first type of rapist is known as the “Gentleman Rapist”. This name is used because after the rape, the “Gentleman Rapist” will offer to walk or drive the victim home, call her again the next day for another date, and essentially act as if nothing wrong has occurred. He will be shocked if he is ever accused of rape. The “Gentleman Rapist” is less confident of himself and has usually been planning to have sex with his date. When he is unable to have consensual sex, the “Gentleman Rapist” will use the threat of violence to get what he wants. Rarely will he actually injure the victim or use a real weapon. The motive is to be reassured of his power. Seventy percent of rape cases involve this type of rapist. A “Gentleman Rapist” is also the most likely to get away with his crime and commit it again. The second type of rapist is known as the “Control Freak”. This type of rapist accounts for 25% of rape cases. A “Control Freak” is more violent than the “Gentleman Rapist” and will sometimes use a weapon. In general, he does not care about his victim, and enjoys having complete control over them. The “Control Freak” insists on having things done his way and may have sudden personality changes that escalate into violence. The third type of rapist is known as the “Revenge Rapist”, which account for only 4% of rape cases. This type of rapist is filled with anger and hatred, usually for a particular woman. An event such as an affair or cheating can lead to this anger. The rape is a way of retaliating against the woman he hates, and the “Revenge Rapist” will often take some sort of “trophy” from his victim. Although the “Revenge Rapist” does not necessarily intend to kill his victim, he often does. The last type of rapist is known as the “Sexual Sadist”. This is the least common type of rapist and accounts for only 1% of rape cases. As the name implies, a “Sexual Sadist” feels excitement from the thrill of his crime. Usually the victim is someone he has met very recently. He will plan extensively for his crime and always intends to kill his victim. The “Sexual Sadist” is the most dangerous while the “Gentleman Rapist” has the least potential for harm.

Your response needs to take into consideration the personality type of the perpetrator. We have been conditioned by the media to think of rapists and other violent criminals as twisted, evil degenerates who are always repulsive and obnoxious…Reality Check: Most rapists are white and choose victims within their own race who live and work near their own home. Most rapists are not lower class working people but middle-class, educated men. (Lindquist 51-52)

All the rapists described have different motives and there are different ways of dealing with each. Knowing the way a rapist thinks can help prevent an attack. (Lindquist 51-58)

The prevalence of date rape and acquaintance rape is just starting to become well known in the public. Each year, new studies are released with knew survey results and information about date rape trends. Many believe that dating games and rituals are to blame, and that society promotes dangerous ideas about dating. Mixed messages, poor communication, and failure to set clear limits in a relationship are also factors that can lead to date rape. Finally, it is impossible to ignore the role alcohol and drugs play in so many cases of date rape. In Warshaw’s book “I Never Called It Rape”, she argues that the best way to prevent date rape is education and open discussion.

Educators choose to ignore the reality that acquaintance rape happens in junior highs, senior highs, and colleges across the country. Moreover, some school officials find it easier to punt the problem back to uninformed parents rather than risk calling attention to a possible negative situation in their own institutions. (Warshaw 169)

Often, parents are reluctant to consider that their “perfect” child could commit date rape or could put themself in a position to be date raped. However, if these attitudes are changed and teachers and parents begin to educate young people about date rape, the prevalence of date rape will begin to drop drastically.

Works Cited

Bender, David Date Rape San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998

Hicks, John Dating Violence Brookfield: Millbrook Press, 1996

Lindquist, Scott The Date Rape Prevention Book Naperville: Sourcebooks, 2000

Mufson, Susan Straight Talk About Date Rape New York: Facts On File, 1993

Parrot, Andrea Date Rape & Acquaintance Rape New York: Rosen Publishing Group,

1988

Thornhill, Randy A Natural History of Rape Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000

Warshaw, Robin I Never Called It Rape New York: Harper & Row, 1988