||It has been suggested that Acquaintance rape be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since June 2014.|
Date rape is a subset of acquaintance rape. The two phrases are often used interchangeably, but date rape specifically refers to a rape in which there has been some sort of romantic or potentially sexual relationship between the two parties, whereas acquaintance rape also includes rapes in which the victim and perpetrator have been in a non-romantic, non-sexual relationship, for example as co-workers or neighbours. Date rape is particularly prevalent on college campuses, where it frequently occurs in situations involving alcohol or other drugs referred to as date rape drugs in such context.
History and usage
In much of the world rape has historically been seen as a crime of theft of a man's property (usually either a husband or father), which meant that by definition a husband could not rape his wife. Since the final decades of the 20th century however, in much of the world rape has been redefined as sexual intercourse without a person's consent, making rape illegal, including among people who know each other and/or who have previously had consensual sex. Some jurisdictions have specified that people debilitated by alcohol or other drugs are incapable of consenting to sex. Courts have also disagreed on whether consent, once given, can later be withdrawn.
The phrase date rape is first found in print in the 1975 book Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape by American feminist journalist, author and activist Susan Brownmiller. In 1980 it was used in Mademoiselle magazine, in 1982 Ms. magazine published an article titled "Date Rape: A Campus Epidemic?", and in 1984 English novelist Martin Amis used the term in his novel Money: A Suicide Note. One of the earliest and most prominent date rape researchers is Mary Koss, who in 1987 conducted the first large-scale nation-wide study on rape in the United States, surveying 7,000 students at 25 schools, and who is sometimes credited with originating the phrase date rape.
Date rape occurs when a perpetrator uses physical or psychological intimidation to force a victim to have sex against his or her will, or when the perpetrator has sex with a victim who is incapable of giving consent because they have been incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.
In most rapes, the perpetrator and the victim know each other, with one study finding that 84% of victims of rape or attempted rape knew their attacker beforehand. The concept of date rape, however, is relatively new. Historically date rape has been taken less seriously than stranger rape, but since the 1980s date rape has been increasingly understood to be a serious societal problem that constitutes the majority of rapes in some countries. It is controversial, however, with some people believing the problem is overstated and that many date rape victims are actually willing, consenting participants, and others believing that date rape is seriously under-reported and almost all women who claim date rape were actually raped. Typically, forced sex between people who know each other has been deemed both less believable and less serious than stranger rape.
American researcher Mary Koss describes date rape as a specific form of acquaintance rape, in which there has been some level of romantic interest between the attacker and the victim, and in which sexual activity would have been generally seen as appropriate if consensual. Acquaintance rape is a broader category than date rape, that can include many types of relationships including employer-employee, landlord-tenant, service provider-consumer, driver-hitchhiker, and rape among people who have a family relationship or who are neighbours. The Encyclopedia of Murder and Violent Crime defines date rape as rape occurring during a pre-arranged social engagement. See also acquaintance rape.
In his 1992 book Sex and Reason American jurist, legal theorist and economist Richard Posner characterized the increased attention being given to date rape as a sign of the changing status of women in American society, pointing out that dating itself is a feature of modern societies and that date rape can be expected to be frequent in a society in which sexual mores vary between the permissive and the repressive.
The concept of date rape originated in the United States, where most of the research on date rape has been carried out.
Rape prevalence among women in the U.S. (the percentage of women who experienced rape at least once in their lifetime so far) is in the range of 15–20%, with different studies disagreeing with each other. An early 1987 study found that one in four American women will be the victim or a rape or attempted rape in her lifetime, and 84% of those will know their attacker. However, only 27% of American women whose sexual assault met the legal definition of rape think of themselves as rape victims, and only about 5% report their rape. One study of rape on American college campuses found that 13% of acquaintance rapes, and 35% of attempted acquaintance rapes, took place during a date, and another found that 22% of female rape victims had been raped by a current or former date, boyfriend or girlfriend, and another 20% by a spouse or former spouse. A 2007 American study found black non-Hispanic students were likeliest to be victims of dating violence, followed by Hispanic students and then white non-Hispanic students.
Rates of date rape are relatively low in Europe compared with the United States.
The rate of reported rapes is much lower in Japan than the United States,. In a 1993 paper German sociologist and criminologist Joachim Kersten suggested date rape may be less prevalent in Japan compared with the United States because Japanese culture puts a lesser emphasis on romantic love and dating, and because young Japanese people have less physical privacy than their American counterparts, and in her 2007 book Kickboxing Geishas: How Modern Japanese Women Are Changing Their Nation, American feminist Veronica Chambers questions whether date rape is under-reported in Japan because it isn't yet understood there to be rape. In the 2011 book Transforming Japan: How Feminism and Diversity Are Making a Difference Japanese feminist Masaki Matsuda argued that date rape was becoming an increasing problem for Japanese college and high school students.
A 2007 study of attitudes towards rape among university students in South Korea found that date rape was "rarely recognized" as a form of rape, and that forced sex by a date was not viewed as traumatizing or criminal.
Date rape is generally underreported in Vietnam.
In 2012, 98% of reported rapes in India were committed by someone known to the victim.
Researcher Mary Koss says the peak age for being date raped is from the late teens to early twenties.
Researchers say date rape affects victims similarly to stranger rape, although the failure of others to acknowledge and take the rape seriously can make it harder for victims to recover.
Perpetrators and motivations
A 2002 landmark study of undetected date rapists in Boston found that compared with non-rapists, rapists are measurably more angry at women and more motivated by a desire to dominate and control them, are more impulsive, disinhibited, anti-social and hyper-masculine, and less empathic. The study found the rapists were extremely adept at identifying potential victims and testing their boundaries, and that they planned their attacks and used sophisticated strategies to isolate and groom victims, used violence instrumentally in order to terrify and coerce, and used psychological weapons against their victims including power, manipulation, control and threats. Date rapists target vulnerable victims, such as female freshmen who have less experience with drinking and are more likely to take risks, or people who are already intoxicated; they use alcohol as a weapon, as it makes the victim more vulnerable and impairs their credibility with the justice system should they choose to report the rape.
American clinical psychologist David Lisak, the study's author and an expert in date rape, says that serial rapists account for 90% of all campus rapes, with an average of six rapes each. Lisak argues that his and similar findings conflict sharply with the widely held view that college rapes are typically perpetrated by "a basically 'decent' young man who, were it not for too much alcohol and too little communication, would never do such a thing", with the evidence actually suggesting that the vast majority of rapes, including date rapes, are committed by serial, violent predators.
Research has found that jurors are more likely to convict in stranger rape cases than in date rape cases. Often, even in cases in which sufficient physical evidence is present to support conviction, juries have reported being influenced by irrelevant factors related to the female victim such as whether she used birth control, engaged in non-marital sex, was perceived by jurors as sexily dressed, or had engaged in drug or alcohol use. Researchers have noted that because date rape by definition occurs in the context of a dating relationship, jurors' propensity to discount the likelihood of rape having occurred based on date-like behaviours is problematic. A 1982 American study of assignment of responsibility for rape found respondents were likelier to assign greater responsibility to a rape victim if she was intoxicated at the time of the rape; however when her assailant was intoxicated respondents assigned him less responsibility.
Some critics of the term date rape believe the distinction between stranger rape and date rape seems to position date rape as a lesser offence, which is insulting to date rape victims and could partly explain the lower conviction rates and lesser punishments of date rape cases.
David Lisak argues that prevention efforts aimed at persuading men not to rape are unlikely to work, and universities should instead focus on helping non-rapists to identify rapists and intervene in high-risk situations to stop them. Lisak also argues that whenever a nonstranger sexual assault is reported, it represents a window of opportunity for law enforcement to comprehensively investigate the alleged offender, rather than "putting blinders on looking solely on the alleged 45-minute interaction between these two people". Lisak believes rape victims should be treated with respect, and that every report of an alleged rape should trigger two simultaneous investigations: one into the incident itself, and a second into the alleged perpetrator to determine whether he is a serial offender.
In media and popular culture
Date rape was widely discussed on college campuses in North America during the 1980s but first attracted significant media attention in 1991, when an unnamed 29-year-old woman accused William Kennedy Smith, a nephew of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, of raping her when they went for a walk on the beach after meeting in a Florida bar. Millions of people watched the trial on television. Hip-hop band A Tribe Called Quest has a song titled The Infamous Date Rape, included in their album The Low End Theory, which was released shortly after the William Kennedy Smith incident. Date rape received more media attention in 1992, when former boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of rape after inviting 18-year-old Desiree Washington to a party and then raping her in his hotel room.
In her 1994 book The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism, American author Katie Roiphe wrote about attending Harvard and Princeton in the late 1980s and early 1990s, amid what she described as a "culture captivated by victimization", and argued "If a woman's 'judgment is impaired' and she has sex, it isn't always the man's fault; it isn't necessarily always rape."
In 2007, American journalist Laura Sessions Stepp wrote an article for Cosmopolitan magazine titled "A New Kind of Date Rape", in which she popularized the term "gray rape" to refer to "sex that falls somewhere between consent and denial". The term was afterwards picked up and discussed by The New York Times, Slate, and PBS, and was criticized by many feminists, including Bitch founding editor Lisa Jervis, who argued that gray rape and date rape "are the same thing", and that the popularization of gray rape constituted a backlash against women's sexual empowerment and risked rolling back the gains women had made in having rape taken seriously.
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