Many of the attitudes, beliefs, and mistaken ideas about rape have been with us for centuries. By looking at myths, such as "women ask for it," and "women secretly enjoy rape," from a historical perspective, lead us for better understanding how they evolved. Women are still seen as the property of men, are protected as such. Men and women are still taught to occupy very different roles in today's world. Men are usually in power positions, and women are seen as passive. This socialization process is changing, but slowly.
Rape is a forced sexual intercourse against the will of the victim (Parrot, 1988). Rape is a violent act, not a sexual act. The myth that men who rape women are sexually pathological has begun to be dispelled and replaced with an understanding that rape is an act of anger, power and control rather than lust.
Rape is not a very pleasant subject. When people think about rape, they usually think of a stranger with a knife hiding in the bushes. He waits for a woman to walk by and then attacks. But that is not the only kind of rape. The majority of victims are raped by individuals they know or who are acquaintances. This rape is known as "acquaintance rape." Eighty percent of all rapes are, in fact, acquaintance rapes. One kind of acquaintance rape is called "date rape." This kind of rape happens when a man and a woman go out on a date together. The man forces the woman to have sex with him when she does not want to.
Rape can happen to anyone. Women from different cultures, races, ages, and economic level are all vulnerable. So no matter who you are or where you live. Most rape, and specifically most acquaintance rape, happens between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five. This is the time when young women are most likely to date and therefore are most vulnerable to date rape. Acquaintance rape is not limited to dating situations. It may be committed by friends of the family, employers, friends, past boyfriends, and even husbands. The potential causes of rape are varied and controversial. Among the factors that contribute to rape are: decreased status of women within a society, pervasive media exposure of sex, availability of pornographic materials, especially those involving acts of violence, inadequate information or misconceptions regarding sexual behaviors, and the prevalence of child sexual abuse. Statistics states that less than four percent of all rapes are classified as "victim provoked" (Sigler, 1989).
In early age boys are taught to be more aggressive than girls are. They are expected to enjoy playing sports. Girls are expected to play less aggressive sports. Boys are taught that they should get anything in their ways, even if it means using violence. Girls are taught to stay away from conflicts. Boys are sometimes taught to have a lot of girlfriends, and not to get tied down by one girl when they are young. They are supposed to play the field. Some boys think it is important to date pretty girls. Girls are often taught that they should have a steady boyfriend. They are taught to guard their "reputations." All of these childhood "lessons" come into play in date rape (Mufson et all, 1993).
Date rape causes many serious problems. One of these problems is how the victim feels about what has happened to her. Often women are not even sure they have been raped. They think maybe that they asked for it, even though they said "no." Whether a woman says "no" in a sexual relationship means that it depends on the woman and the circumstance. Some women mean "no" the first time they say it; others do not mean "no" even after saying it many times. This variation makes it difficult for woman who means "no" for the first time she says it. Some men become desensitized to the word because many of women in their lives do not mean it. Of a man persists in sexual advance after a woman had clearly said "no", she might feel angry, frustrated, ignored, unimportant, and unheard. She may try to...
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