How to prevent being raped series (3/10) - Acquaintance rape

Trauma, abuse and bereavement / Category / Emile Du Toit / September 3rd 2014

 

This 3rd blog in the series of 10 on preventing being raped takes a look at who is actually out there committing rape, and examines some statistics on acquaintance rape. We examine risk factors in acquaintance rape and why women so often do not fight back during date rape. Lastly, we take a look at some statistics on college acquaintance / date rape.

After reading this article you might also want to refer to my article 15 Practical Ways to Avoid being date raped.  

 

Acquaintance rape.

Know your potential attacker?

He is not hiding in the bushes!

Here is the scary reality of rapist relations to their victims

  • 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger 5. 7. 11. .
  • 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance
  • 28% are an intimate partner
  • 7% are a relative
  • Over 50% of all rape/sexual assault incidents occur within 1 mile of the victim’s home

 

I suspect that this will be a shock to many out there. There is often such a strong focus on home invasion rapes and rapes outside clubs due to spiked drinks and so forth that women fail to see the danger right beside them!

Risk of acquaintance rape

In a complex and stressful world we should at least be able to feel safe at home, and with those we trust and love. Sadly this is the place where we are most likely to be raped, and these are the people most likely to rape us. Research demonstrates that women’s perception of danger around loved ones and acquaintances is far lower than their actual risk 9..

Women are too trusting of people they know!

 The following specific factors are related to an increased risk of acquaintance or date rape 8. :

  • women initiating dates
  • men paying for dates
  • use of alcohol or drugs by one or both parties
  • women going to men’s houses

 

Sadly, women are also less likely to resist rape by people they know 1. 10. 12.. Presumably this has to do with stronger psychosocial barriers that they need to overcome in order to resist effectively. We will discuss Psychosocial Barriers to Rape in part 5 of this series.

In fact in the rape of college students as high as 84% of rapists are known to the victim 6.. In this particular sample it is felt that one of the reasons for this is that women have just achieved a high level of freedom after being under their parent’s roof up until then, and do not yet have the coping skills or maturity to protect themselves.

Quite often in acquaintance and date rape the perpetrator and/or the victim actually doesn’t believe that rape has been committed. In these coercive rape situations physical violence is seldom present.

Women also suffer from prejudiced male-centric psychosocial beliefs!

As a consequence they doubt whether they were raped, feel guilty and often end up shouldering much of the ‘blame’ for being raped.

Society has supported male domination of women for so long that often the women themselves do not view date rape as rape!

Date rape has long term psychological scarring

Because some women feel responsible for being raped does not mean that the incident is any less traumatic or scarring for them. In some ways it is worse due to the blame that they often shoulder themselves. These women experience the same traumatization and post traumatic symptoms as in any other rape, including:

  •  sleep disturbances,
  • mood swings,
  • irritability and anger,
  • humiliation and self-blame,
  • eating pattern disturbances,
  • nightmares,
  • fear of sex,
  • difficulty in trusting others.

 

It is often harder for women who were date raped to resolve trauma as they feel guilty for what happened and also often are too afraid to speak out.

Statistics on college acquaintance rape – a serious indictment on humanity 6. :

  • ¼ of the women had suffered attempted or completed rape
  • Another ¼ were touched sexually against their will or were victim of sexual coercion
  • 84% of those raped knew their attacker
  • 57% of acquaintance rapes happened while on a date
  • 84 %of those men found to have committed rape said their actions were  definitely not rape
  • Only 27% of the women who were raped (met the legal definition of rape) thought they had been raped
  • 42% of victims never told anyone
  • Only 5% of victims reported the crime to police
  • 82% of these rape victims reported that the experience had permanently changed them
  • 30% of the rape contemplated suicide after the incident.

 

Summary

School, college and early years in a career place you at the highest risk of being raped. You are particularly vulnerable when in a university residence as most people are meeting lots of new friends and experimenting on lots of dates. It is an exciting time in the lives of most young people. Nevertheless, women are way too trusting and appear to live in a bit of a bubble in terms of who those rapist actually are.

Going back to that courtroom somewhere in the more fashionable end of the Milky Way, the indictment on humanity rings no louder than in this statement:

Human beings particularly cannot trust those that we know and love the most!

{Prosecution rests}

I would strongly urge you at this point to read the blog on 15 Practical Ways to Avoid being date raped.

This series on How to Prevent being Raped will continue next week with part 4 of 10, False Rape Allegations.

 

 

References

  1. Clay-Warner, J. (2002). Avoiding rape: The effects of protective actions and situational factors on rape outcome. Violence and Victims, 17, 691-705.
  2. Epstein, J. (2005). True lies: The constitutional and evidentiary bases for admitting prior false accusation evidence in sexual assault prosecutions. (Paper 697). Retrieved from http://www.law.bepress.com/expresso/eps/697
  3. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (2008). Estimated number of arrests, U.S., 2007. (Table 29). Uniform Crime Report: Crime in the United States, 2007. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved from http://www.fbi. gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_29.html
  4. Gross, Bruce (Spring 2009). "False Rape Allegations: An Assault On Justice". Forensic Examiner.
  5. Kilpatrick, D. G., Edmunds, C., & Seymour, A. (1992). Rape in America: A report to the nation. Arlington, VA: National Victim Center.
  6. Koss, M. P., & Dinero, T. E. (1988). Predictors of sexual aggression among male college students. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 528, 133-147.
  7. Mahoney, P., & Williams, L. M. (1998). Sexual assault in marriage: Prevalence, consequences, and treatment of wife rape. In J. L. Jasinski & L. M. Williams (Eds.), Partner violence: A comprehensive review of 20 years of research (pp. 113-162). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  8. Muehlenhard, C. L., & Linton, M. A. (1987). Date rape and sexual aggression in dating situations: Incidence and risk factors. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 34, 186-196.
  9. Nurius, P. S. (2000). Risk perception of acquaintance sexual aggression: A social-cognitive perspective. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 5, 63-79.
  10. Scott, H., & Beaman, R. (2004). Demographic and situational factors affecting injury, resistance, completion, and charges brought in sexual assault cases: What is best for arrest? Violence and Victims, 19, 479-494.
  11. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Full report of the prevalence, incidence, and consequences of intimate partner violence against women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  12. Ullman, S. E., & Siegel, J. M. (1993). Victim-offender relationship and sexual assault. Violence and Victims, 8, 121-134.

 

 

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