|Classification and external resources|
The rape of noblewoman Lucretia was a starting point of events that led to the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom and establishment of the Roman Republic. As a direct result of rape, Lucretia committed suicide. Many artists and writers were inspired by the story, including Shakespeare, Botticelli, Rembrandt, Dürer, Artemisia Gentileschi, Geoffrey Chaucer, Thomas Heywood and others.
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent. The term is most often defined in criminal law.
Internationally, the incidence of rapes recorded by the police during 2008 varied between 0.1 in Egypt per 100,000 people and 91.6 per 100,000 people in Lesotho with 4.9 per 100,000 people in Lithuania as the median. According to the American Medical Association (1995), sexual violence, and rape in particular, is considered the most underreported violent crime. The rate of reporting, prosecution and convictions for rape varies considerably in different jurisdictions. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (1999) estimated that 91% of U.S. rape victims are female and 9% are male, with 99% of the offenders being male. Rape by strangers is usually less common than rape by persons the victim knows, and several studies argue that male-male and female-female prison rape are quite common and may be the least reported forms of rape.
When part of a widespread and systematic practice, rape and sexual slavery are recognized as crimes against humanity and war crimes. Rape is also recognized as an element of the crime of genocide when committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a targeted ethnic group.
Victims of rape can be severely traumatized and may suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder; in addition to psychological harm resulting from the act, rape may cause physical injury, or have additional effects on the victim, such as acquiring of a sexually transmitted infection or becoming pregnant. Furthermore, following a rape, a victim may face violence or threats of thereof from the rapist, and, in some cultures, from the victim's own family and relatives.
Penetrative and non-penetrative
The definition of rape varies both in different parts of the world and at different times in history. It is defined in many jurisdictions as sexual intercourse, or other forms of sexual penetration, of one person by another person without the consent of the victim. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime defines it as "sexual intercourse without valid consent," and the World Health Organization defined it in 2002 as "physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration – even if slight – of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object".
In 2012, the FBI changed their definition from "The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will." to "The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim." for their annual Uniform Crime Reports. The definition, which had remained unchanged since 1927, was considered outdated and narrow. The updated definition includes any gender of victim and perpetrator, not just women being raped by men, recognizes that rape with an object can be as traumatic as penile/vaginal rape, includes instances in which the victim is unable to give consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity, and recognizes that a victim can be incapacitated and thus unable to consent because of ingestion of drugs or alcohol. However, the definition does not change federal or state criminal codes or impact charging and prosecution on the federal, state or local level; it rather means that rape will be more accurately reported nationwide.
Some countries, such as Germany, are now using more inclusive definitions which do not require penetration, and the 1998 International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda defines it as "a physical invasion of a sexual nature committed on a person under circumstances which are coercive". In some jurisdictions, the term "rape" has been phased out of legal use in favor of terms such as "sexual assault" or "criminal sexual conduct". Other countries or jurisdictions continue to define rape to cover only acts involving penile penetration of the vagina, treating all other types of non-consensual sexual activity as sexual assault. Scotland, for instance, requires that a rapist commit a sexual assault with a penis, so only males can legally be rapists.
In any allegation of rape, the absence of consent to sexual intercourse on the part of the victim is critical. Consent need not be expressed, and may be implied from the context and from the relationship of the parties, but the absence of objection does not of itself constitute consent. Lack of consent may result from either forcible compulsion by the perpetrator or an incapacity to consent on the part of the victim (such as persons who are asleep, intoxicated or otherwise mentally helpless). The law can also invalidate consent in the case of sexual intercourse with a person below the age at which they can legally consent to such relations with older persons. (See age of consent.) Such cases are sometimes called statutory rape or "unlawful sexual intercourse", regardless of whether it was consensual or not, as people who are under a certain age in relation to the perpetrator are deemed legally incapable of consenting to sex. Consent can always be withdrawn at any time, so that any further sexual activity after the withdrawal of consent constitutes rape.
Duress, in which the victim may be subject to or threatened by overwhelming force or violence, and which may result in absence of objection to intercourse, leads to the presumption of lack of consent. Duress may be actual or threatened force or violence against the victim or somebody else close to the victim. Even blackmail may constitute duress. Abuse of power may constitute duress. For instance, in Philippines, a man commits rape if he engages in sexual intercourse with a woman "By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority". The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in its landmark 1998 judgment used a definition of rape which did not use the word 'consent': "a physical invasion of a sexual nature committed on a person under circumstances which are coercive."
Marital rape, also known as spousal rape, is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim's spouse. As such, it is a form of partner rape, of domestic violence, and of sexual abuse. Once widely condoned or ignored by law, spousal rape is now repudiated by international conventions and increasingly criminalized. Still, in many countries, spousal rape either remains legal, or is illegal but widely tolerated and accepted as a husband's prerogative.
In 2006, it was estimated that marital rape could be prosecuted in at least 104 countries (in four of these countries, marital rape could be prosecuted only when the spouses were judicially separated), and since 2006 several other countries have outlawed marital rape. In the US, spousal rape is illegal in all 50 states; the first state to outlaw it was South Dakota in 1975, and the last North Carolina in 1993. In many countries, it is not clear if marital rape may or may not be prosecuted under ordinary rape laws. However, in the absence of a spousal rape law it may be possible to bring prosecutions for what is effectively rape by characterizing it as an assault.
Throughout much of the history, in most cultures, sex in marriage was considered a 'right', that could be taken by force, if 'denied'. As the concept of human rights started to develop in the 20th century, and with the arrival of second wave feminism, such views have become less widely held. The legal and social concept of marital rape, has developed, in most industrialized countries, in the mid to late 20th century; and in many parts of the world it is still not recognized, socially and legally, as a form of abuse. Several countries in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia made marital rape illegal before 1970, but other countries in Western Europe and the English-speaking Western World outlawed it much later, mostly in the 1980s and 1990s. In England and Wales, marital rape was made illegal in 1991. The views of Sir Matthew Hale, a 17th century jurist, published in The History of the Pleas of the Crown (1736), stated that a husband cannot be guilty of the rape of his wife because the wife "hath given up herself in this kind to her husband, which she cannot retract"; in England and Wales this would remain law for more than 250 years, until it was abolished by the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords, in the case of R v R in 1991.
There have been various justifications historically for the "marital exemption", that is, a rule, statutory and/or in common law/case law, which precluded the prosecution of husbands for rape. In English common law, this was based on the idea of implied consent: when a woman was married she was deemed to be consenting to lifelong sexual intercourse with her husband, as such, if there was consent, there was no rape. Under Roman Dutch law, a wife was subjected to the marital power of her husband. A husband had a right to sexual intercourse with his wife, his status afforded to him by the marital power gave him the right to use "moderate chastisement" to force his wife into performing marital duties - sex was a marital duty, and, as such, he could force her into doing it, this was not rape.
Historically, most religions were interpreted as tolerating or ignoring forced sexual relations in marriage; however Judaism has been considered an exception to this way of thinking; in fact, in Israel, in 1980, when the Israeli Supreme Court affirmed that marital rape is a crime, it was mostly religious arguments based on the Talmud that were given by the judges.
In 1924, in G v G, a case involving the annulment of a marriage because the wife had refused to have sexual intercourse with her husband, Lord Dunedin expressed his view that "gentle violence" in order to enforce sex would have been desirable. Such views were by no means extreme at that time; in fact, the view that if a husband desires to have sex with his wife, there must be full consent from her, and that if he ignores her refusal and forces himself on her, he is committing a crime, is a modern view, which is, or at least has been until very recently, largely restricted to the Western world; in many parts of the world marital rape is a very new concept that is only now being introduced and discussed. In many parts of the world, where women have very few rights, it is considered unthinkable for a woman to refuse her husband's sexual demands: for instance one survey found that 74% of women in Mali said that a husband is justified to beat his wife if she refuses to have sex with him.
There are several types of rape, generally categorized by reference to the situation in which it occurs, the sex or characteristics of the victim, and/or the sex or characteristics of the perpetrator. Different types of rape include date rape, gang rape, marital rape, incestual rape, child sexual abuse, prison rape, acquaintance rape, war rape and statutory rape.
Motivation of perpetrators
There is no single theory that conclusively explains the motivation for rape; the motives of rapists can be multi-factorial and are subject to debate. Several factors have been proposed: anger, a desire for power, sadism, as well as sexual gratification and evolutionary pressures.
- beliefs in family honor and sexual purity;
- ideologies of male sexual entitlement;
- weak legal sanctions for sexual violence.
Victims of rape can be severely traumatized by the assault and may have difficulty functioning as well as they had been used to prior to the assault, with disruption of concentration, sleeping patterns and eating habits, for example. They may feel jumpy or be on edge. After being raped, it is common for the victim to experience acute stress disorder, including symptoms similar to those of posttraumatic stress disorder, such as intense, sometimes unpredictable emotions, and they may find it hard to deal with their memories of the event. In the months immediately following the assault, these problems may be severe and upsetting and may prevent the victim from revealing their ordeal to friends or family, or seeking police or medical assistance. Additional symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder include:
- Depersonalization or dissociation (feeling numb and detached, like being in a daze or a dream, or feeling that the world is strange and unreal)
- Difficulty remembering important parts of the assault
- Reliving the assault through repeated thoughts, memories, or nightmares
- Avoidance of things, places, thoughts, and/or feelings that remind the victim of the assault
- Anxiety or increased alertness (difficulty sleeping, concentrating, etc.)
- Avoidance of social life or place of rape
For one-third to one-half of the victims, these symptoms continue beyond the first few months and meet the conditions for the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder. In general, rape and sexual assault are among the most common causes of PTSD in women.
HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa
Rape acts both as a direct factor, as the virus can be transmitted through the forced sexual intercourse, and as an indirect factor, as victims of rape are at higher risk of suffering psychological problems, which may lead to victims being more likely to engage in behaviors that create risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, such as injecting drugs.
"Victim blaming" is holding the victim of a crime to be in whole or in part responsible for the crime. In the context of rape, this concept refers to the Just World Theory and popular attitudes that certain victim behaviours (such as flirting, or wearing sexually provocative clothing) may encourage rape. In extreme cases, victims are said to have "asked for it", simply by not behaving demurely. In most Western countries, the defense of provocation is not accepted as a mitigation for rape. A global survey of attitudes toward sexual violence by the Global Forum for Health Research shows that victim-blaming concepts are at least partially accepted in many countries. In some countries[which?], victim-blaming is more common, and women who have been raped are sometimes deemed to have behaved improperly. Often, these are countries where there is a significant social divide between the freedoms and status afforded to men and women. Amy M. Buddie and Arthur G. Miller, in a review of studies of rape myths, state:
Rape victims are blamed more when they resist the attack later in the rape encounter rather than earlier (Kopper, 1996), which seems to suggest the stereotype that these women are engaging in token resistance (Malamuth & Brown, 1994; Muehlenhard & Rogers, 1998) or leading the man on because they have gone along with the sexual experience thus far. Finally, rape victims are blamed more when they are raped by an acquaintance or a date rather than by a stranger (e.g., Bell, Kuriloff, & Lottes, 1994; Bridges, 1991; Bridges & McGr ail, 1989; Check & Malamuth, 1983; Kanekar, Shaherwalla, Franco, Kunju, & Pinto, 1991; L'Armand & Pepitone, 1982; Tetreault & Barnett, 1987), which seems to evoke the stereotype that victims really want to have sex because they know their attacker and perhaps even went out on a date with him. The underlying message of this research seems to be that when certain stereotypical elements of rape are in place, rape victims are prone to being blamed.
However, they also state that "individuals may endorse rape myths and at the same time recognize the negative effects of rape." A number of gender role stereotypes can play a role in rationalization of rape. In the case of male-on-female rape, these include the idea that power is reserved to men whereas women are meant for sex and objectified, that women want forced sex and to be pushed around, and that male sexual impulses and behaviors are uncontrollable and must be satisfied. In the case of female-on-male rape, the victim may either be perceived as weak or, in cultures where men acquire status by sexual conquest, as fortunate.
It has been proposed by Dr. Roxanne Agnew-Davies, a clinical psychologist and an expert on the effects of sexual violence, that victim-blaming correlates with fear. "It is not surprising when so many rape victims blame themselves. Female jurors can look at the woman in the witness stand and decide she has done something 'wrong' such as flirting or having a drink with the defendant. She can therefore reassure herself that rape won't happen to her as long as she does nothing similar."
Honor killings, violence against victims and forced marriages to the rapist
In many cultures, victims of rape are at very high risk of suffering additional violence or threats of violence after the rape. These acts may be perpetrated by the rapist or by friends and relatives of the rapist, as a way of preventing the victims from reporting the rape, of punishing them for reporting it, or of forcing them to withdraw the complaint; or they may be perpetrated by the relatives of the victim as a punishment for "bringing shame" to the family. This is especially the case in cultures where female virginity is highly valued and considered mandatory before marriage; in extreme cases, rape victims are killed in honor killings.
In some places, girls and women who are raped are often forced by their families to marry their rapist. Because being the victim of rape and losing virginity carry extreme social stigma, and the victims are deemed to have their "reputation" tarnished, a marriage with the rapist is arranged. This is claimed to be in the advantage of both the victim - who does not remain unmarried and doesn't lose social status - and of the rapist, who avoids punishment. In 2012, after a Moroccan 16-year-old girl committed suicide after having been forced by her family to marry her rapist, at the suggestion of the prosecutor, and having endured abuse by the rapist after they married, there have been protests from activists against the law which allows the rapist to marry the victim in order to escape criminal sanctions, and against this social practice which is common in Morocco.
Sexual violence, and rape in particular, is considered the most under-reported violent crime (American Medical Association, 1995). Thus, the number of reported rapes is lower than both incidence and prevalence rates (Walby and Allen, 2004). The legal requirements for reporting rape vary by jurisdiction — each U.S. state may have different requirements while other countries may have less stringent limits.
Since the vast majority of rapes are committed by persons known to the victim, the initiation and process of a rape investigation depends much on the victim's willingness and ability to report and describe a rape. Biological evidence such as semen, blood, vaginal secretions, saliva, and vaginal epithelial cells (typically collected by a rape kit) may be identified and genetically typed by a crime lab. The information derived from the analysis can often help determine whether sexual contact occurred, provide information regarding the circumstances of the incident, and be compared to reference samples collected from patients and suspects.
In the United Kingdom, figures on reported rape cases show an ongoing decline in the conviction rate, putting it at an all time low of 5.6% in 2002. The government has expressed its concern at the year-on-year increase in attrition of reported rape cases, and pledged to address this "justice gap" (Home Office, 2002a). In 2003, a study by Rape Crisis Network Europe found that Ireland had the lowest rate of conviction for rape (1%) among 21 European states.
Prevention and treatment
As sexual violence affects all parts of society, the response to sexual violence is comprehensive. The responses can be categorized as: individual approaches, health care responses, community-based efforts and actions to prevent other forms of sexual violence. Recovery from sexual assault is a complicated and controversial concept, but support groups, usually accessed by "umbrella" organizations (see List of anti-sexual assault organizations in the United States) are prevalent, including some on-line.
In 2007, 40% of the 90,427 forcible rapes reported were cleared by arrest or "exceptional means." Exceptional means refers to situations where the victim refuses to provide information or assistance necessary to obtain an arrest, the defendant dies before being arrested, or the defendant cannot be extradited from another state.
Most rape research and reporting to date has been limited to male-female forms of rape. Research on male-male and female-male rape is beginning to be done. According to psychologist Dr. Sarah Crome, fewer than one in ten male-male rapes are reported. As a group, male rape victims by either gender often get little services and support, and legal systems are often ill equipped to deal with this type of crime. Denov (2004) states that societal responses to the issue of female perpetrators of sexual assault "point to a widespread denial of women as potential sexual aggressors that could work to obscure the true dimensions of the problem." Due to these reasons, it is likely being substantially under-reported, with the probable cause being the double standard. Some legal codes on rape do not legislate against women raping men, as rape is generally defined to include the act of penetration on behalf of the rapist. In 2007, the South Africa police investigated instances of women raping young men. Little research has been done on female-female rape.
The Australian Women's Safety Survey conducted by the Bureau of Statistics in 1996 involved a random sample 6,300 women aged 18 and over. It produced incidence finding of 1.9 per cent for sexual assault in the previous 12 months. Known men accounted for over two-thirds of assailants (68%). Only 15% of the assaulted women in the sample reported to the police.
In Cambodia, rape is estimated by local and international NGOs to be common, but only a very small minority of these assaults are ever reported to authorities, due to the social stigma associated to being the victim of a sexual crime, and, in particular, to losing virginity before marriage (regardless of how this happened). From November 2008 to November 2009, police had recorded 468 cases of rape, attempted rape and sexual harassment, a 2.4 percent increase over the previous year. Breaking the Silence – Sexual Violence in Cambodia is a report produced by Amnesty International, and released in 2010, which examined the situation of sexual violence in Cambodia. The report found that, in the small minority of rapes which are reported, a very common response is for law-enforcement officials, including police and court staff, to arrange extralegal out-of-court 'agreements' between the victim and the perpetrator (or their families), in which the rapist pays a sum of money which is shared between the authorities and the victim (and her family), after which the victim has to withdraw any criminal complaint against the perpetrator, and public prosecutors close the case. When a rape is investigated, a complainant is generally expected to pay an extralegal sum of money to the authorities, to ensure that the court investigates the case, otherwise progress is slow, and it may take over two years for anything to happen. During the pre-trial period, there is always a risk that the perpetrator’s family will pay a bribe to secure his acquittal or reduced charge.
The most frequently cited research was conducted by Statistics Canada in 1992, which involved a national random sample of 12,300 women (Johnson and Sacco, 1995). The research found that over one in three women had experienced a sexual assault and that only 6% of sexual assaults were reported to the police.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
In eastern Congo, the prevalence and intensity of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world. It is estimated that there are as many as 200,000 surviving rape victims living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo today. A new study says more than 400,000 women are raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo annually. War rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo has frequently been described as a "weapon of war" by commentators. Louise Nzigire, a local social worker, states that “this violence was designed to exterminate the population.” Nzigire observes that rape has been a "cheap, simple weapon for all parties in the war, more easily obtainable than bullets or bombs."
In 2008, Amnesty International produced the report Case Closed - Rape and human rights in the Nordic countries. While this report criticized all countries (Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark), it expressed serious concerns in regard to Denmark, and, the organization has since engaged in a dialogue with the country in an attempt to convince it to change its laws. The Danish criminal provisions regarding sexual crimes, which have remained nearly unchanged during the last 30 years (unlike in other Western countries where sex legislation has changed dramatically during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, under pressure from feminists) have led Amnesty International to declare that "Danish legislation on rape and sexual violence conflicts with human rights principles concerning the need to protect an individual’s sexual and physical integrity and right to self-determination''". Danish laws on sexual crimes fall under a chapter called "Vice Crimes", unlike in most Western countries, where modern definitions such as "Crimes against sexual freedom", or "Crimes against sexual self-determination" or simply "Sexual offenses" have replaced archaic wordings which send the message that rape violates public morality or public order, rather than the rights of an individual to bodily integrity. The definition of rape is very narrow focusing on violence and excludes many situations dealing with other forms of abuse, which, according to the report, are considered rape in most other Western countries. However, the most severe problem with the Danish legislation is, according to Amnesty International, the fact that Denmark is one of few developed countries to maintain several marital exemptions in its legislation: while rape within marriage can be prosecuted (in fact Denmark was one of the first countries to allow for its prosecution), the definition of rape is very narrow and abusive sexual intercourse that falls outside the boundaries of rape is dealt under several other statues which explicitly state that the person commits a crime if he engages in "extra-marital sexual intercourse" with the victim, therefore excluding married victims. Furthermore, the law states that if the perpetrator enters into or continues a marriage or registered partnership with the victim after the rape, it gives grounds for reducing or remitting punishment. Amnesty International has called these provisions "disturbing". In 2011, Amnesty has stated that "Amnesty International has repeatedly urged the government [of Denmark] to bring legislation on rape in line with international law. It is very disappointing that Denmark has rejected related recommendations made in the review, referring to an expert review that has been pending for two years."
Rape in India is one of India's most common crimes against women. Marital rape that occurs when spouses are living together can only be dealt under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 which only provides civil remedies to victims (it is a form of non-criminal domestic violence). Marital rape is not a criminal offense, except when spouses are separated. Rape cases in India have doubled between 1990 and 2008  Penile and non-penile penetration in bodily orifices of a woman by a man, without the consent of the woman, constitutes the offense of rape under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.
Under section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which creates the offense of rape, the age of consent is set at 18, as sex with a girl under this age is considered rape, regardless of consent. In practice, this is rarely enforced, and India is a destination for child sex tourism.
India remains a deeply patriarchal society, where violence against women is often justified and blamed on the women themselves. In a 2005-06 National Family Health Survey survey 54% of women aged 15–49 said that a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife under certain circumstances. Sexual violence within marriage is common, with 20% of men admitting to forcing their wives or partners to have sex, in a survey by the Centre of Research on Women, US, and Instituto Promundon in Brazil.
In a 1999 news story, BBC reported, "Close-knit family life in India masks an alarming amount of sexual abuse of children and teenage girls by family members, a new report suggests. Delhi organisation RAHI said 76% of respondents to its survey had been abused when they were children - 40% of those by a family member."
One in 10 women in Norway are raped. A 2007 survey by Amnesty International in cooperation with Reform - resource center for men - revealed that victim blaming attitudes remain very common in Norway. The survey showed that 48% of men surveyed believed that women are fully or partly responsible for a sexual assault if they openly flirt before the attack, while 28% believed the same about women who dressed in a provocative way. Furthermore, 20% held the view that a woman is fully or partly responsible for the sexual attack if she is known to have several sexual partners.
In a 2011 news story, CBN News reported, "Recent police statistics showed that in the capital city of Oslo, 100 percent of assault rapes between strangers were committed by immigrant, non-Western males. And nine out of 10 of their victims were native Norwegian women."
The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 is the relevant legislation in South Africa. Despite the fact that this act provides modern and progressive laws, that ban rape and other forms of sexual abuse, including sexual violence within marriage, South Africa remains a country where sexual attacks are common. The country has some of the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world with more than 67,000 cases of rape and sexual assaults against children reported in 2000, with welfare groups believing that unreported incidents could be up to 10 times higher. In 2001, a 9-month-old was raped and likely lost consciousness as the pain was too much to bear. Another 9-month-old baby was raped by six men, aged between 24 and 66, after the infant had been left unattended by her teenage mother. A 4-year-old girl died after being raped by her father. A 14-month-old girl was raped by her two uncles. In February 2002, an 8-month-old infant was reportedly gang raped by four men. One has been charged. The infant has required extensive reconstructive surgery. The 8-month-old infant's injuries were so extensive, increased attention on prosecution has occurred. A significant contributing factor for the escalation in child abuse is the widespread myth in HIV ravaged South Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure a man of AIDS.
One in three of the 4,000 women questioned by the Community of Information, Empowerment and Transparency said they had been raped in the past year. More than 25% of South African men questioned in a survey admitted to raping someone; of those, nearly half said they had raped more than one person, according to a new study conducted by the Medical Research Council (MRC). A 2010 study led by the government-funded Medical Research Foundation says that in Gauteng province, more than 37 percent of men said they had raped a woman. Nearly 7 percent of the 487 men surveyed said they had participated in a gang rape. Among children, a survey found 11% of boys and 4% of girls admitted to forcing someone else to have sex with them while in another survey among 1,500 schoolchildren in the Soweto township, a quarter of all the boys interviewed said that 'jackrolling', a term for gang rape, was fun.
According to a news report on BBC One presented in 12 November 2007, there were 85,000 women raped in the UK in the previous year, equating to about 230 cases every day. The 2006-07 British Crime Survey reports that 1 in every 200 women suffered from rape in that period. It also showed that only 800 people were convicted of rape crimes that same year, meaning that less than 1 in every 100 rape survivors were able to convict their attacker. According to a study in 2009 by the NSPCC on young people aged between 13-18, a third of girls and 16% of boys have experienced sexual violence and that as many as 250,000 teenage girls are suffering from abuse at any one time. 12% of boys and 3% of girls reported committing sexual violence against their partners.
A survey done by a third party research group on behalf of rape crisis centre The Havens found that almost half of UK men between the age of 18 and 25 do not consider it rape to force a woman who has changed her mind to continue sex. Almost 1 in 4 men claimed that it wasn't rape even if a woman had said "no" at the start. A further 1 in 4 would try to have sex with someone they knew was unwilling. 5% would attempt to have sex if the woman was asleep and 6% if she were drunk.
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics states that 91% of rape victims are female and 9% are male, and 99% of rapists are male. Some types of rape are excluded from official reports altogether (the FBI's definition, for example, used to exclude all rapes except forcible rapes of females), because a significant number of rapes go unreported even when they are included as reportable rapes, and also because a significant number of rapes reported to the police do not advance to prosecution. According to United States Department of Justice document Criminal Victimization in the United States, there were overall 191,670 victims of rape or sexual assault reported in 2005. Only 16% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police (Rape in America: A Report to the Nation. 1992 and United Nations Populations Fund, 2000a). Factoring in unreported rapes, about 5% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. One of six U.S. women has experienced an attempted or completed rape. More than a quarter of college age women report having experienced a rape or rape attempt since age 14.
The U.S. Department of Justice compiles statistics on crime by race, but only between and among people categorized as black or white. The Uniform Crime Reports classifies most Hispanics into the "white" category. There were 194,270 white and 17,920 black victims of rape or sexual assault reported in 2006. According to Anthony Walsh, "Gary LaFree's rape data for the 45-year period revealed that blacks were arrested for rape an average of 6.52 times more often than whites."
Drug use, especially alcohol, is frequently involved in rape. A study (only of rape victims that were female and reachable by phone) reported detailed findings related to tactics. In 47% of such rapes, both the victim and the perpetrator had been drinking. In 17%, only the perpetrator had been. 7% of the time, only the victim had been drinking. Rapes where neither the victim nor the perpetrator had been drinking were 29% of all rapes. Contrary to widespread belief, rape outdoors is rare. Over two thirds of all rapes occur in someone's home. 31% occur in the perpetrators' homes, 27% in the victims' homes and 10% in homes shared by the victim and perpetrator. 7% occur at parties, 7% in vehicles, 4% outdoors and 2% in bars. From 2000–2005, 59% of rapes were not reported to law enforcement. One factor relating to this is the misconception that most rapes are committed by strangers. In reality, studies indicate the following varying numbers:
In a 2012 news story, The New York Times reported, " ... according a survey by the Alaska Federation of Natives, the rate of sexual violence in rural villages like Emmonak is as much as 12 times the national rate. And interviews with Native American women here and across the nation’s tribal reservations suggest an even grimmer reality: They say few, if any, female relatives or close friends have escaped sexual violence."
|Source:||Current or Former Intimate Partner||Another Relative||Friend or Acquaintance||Stranger|
|US Bureau of Justice Statistics||26%||7%||38%||26%|
|Australian Government Statistics||56%||10%||27%||8%|
|UK Home Office (for comparison)||45.4%||13.9%||29.6%||11%|
The largest and most rigorous study was commissioned by the British Home Office and based on 2,643 sexual assault cases (Kelly, Lovett, and Regan, 2005). Of these, 8% were classified by the police department as false reports. However, the researchers noted that some of these classifications were based simply on the personal judgments of the police investigators and were made in violation of official criteria for establishing a false allegation. Closer analysis of this category applying the Home Office counting rules for establishing a false allegation and excluding cases where the application of the cases where confirmation of the designation was uncertain reduced the percentage of false reports to 3%. The researchers concluded that "one cannot take all police designations at face value" and that "[t]here is an over-estimation of the scale of false allegations by both police officers and prosecutors." Moreover, they added:
The interviews with police officers and complainants’ responses show that despite the focus on victim care, a culture of suspicion remains within the police, even amongst some of those who are specialists in rape investigations. There is also a tendency to conflate false allegations with retractions and withdrawals, as if in all such cases no sexual assault occurred. This reproduces an investigative culture in which elements that might permit a designation of a false complaint are emphasized (later sections reveal how this also feeds into withdrawals and designation of 'insufficient evidence'), at the expense of a careful investigation, in which the evidence collected is evaluated.
Another large-scale study was conducted in Australia, with the 850 rapes reported to the Victoria police between 2000 and 2003 (Heenan & Murray, 2006). Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the researchers examined 812 cases with sufficient information to make an appropriate determination, and found that 2.1% of these were classified by police as false reports. All of these complainants were then charged or threatened with charges for filing a false police report.
FBI reports consistently put the number of "unfounded" rape accusations around 8%. Two notable examples are Tawana Brawley rape allegations and the Duke lacrosse case. The unfounded rate is higher for forcible rape than for any other Index crime. The average rate of unfounded reports for Index crimes is 2%. However, “unfounded” is not synonymous with false allegation and as Bruce Gross of the Forensic Examiner explains,
This statistic is almost meaningless, as many of the jurisdictions from which the FBI collects data on crime use different definitions of, or criteria for, "unfounded." That is, a report of rape might be classified as unfounded (rather than as forcible rape) if the alleged victim did not try to fight off the suspect, if the alleged perpetrator did not use physical force or a weapon of some sort, if the alleged victim did not sustain any physical injuries, or if the alleged victim and the accused had a prior sexual relationship. Similarly, a report might be deemed unfounded if there is no physical evidence or too many inconsistencies between the accuser's statement and what evidence does exist. As such, although some unfounded cases of rape may be false or fabricated, not all unfounded cases are false.—
It is most commonly reported that around 2% of reported rape cases are false accusations. In an academic review in the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Edward Greer could not find primary sources for this often repeated figure. A 2006 review by Philip Rumney in the Cambridge Law Journal found several that supported that the figure is around 2%, but only one small (545-case) study that could be a source of the 2% figure, and expressed doubt about each's methodology.
Purdue sociologist Eugene Kanin (1994) summarized rape reports in a small Midwestern town between 1978 and 1987 and found that the police department determined 41% of the 109 sexual assault reports to be false. The police department made a "serious offer to polygraph" all rape complainants. David Lisak (2007) argues that Kanin’s is not a research study, because it only puts forth the opinions of the police officers without any further investigation on his part and that it is "a provocative opinion piece, but it is not a scientific study of the issue of false reporting of rape" and that it "certainly should never be used to assert a scientific foundation for the frequency of false allegations." Similarly, John Bancroft states that a search of the literature on false rape reports reveals that Kanin's figure of 41% false rape reports is regarded as unusually high. Kanin claimed that "the complainant must admit that no rape had occurred. She is the sole agent who can say that the rape charge is false." Lisak accused Kanin of presenting the claims of the police department as fact, without investigating further:
"Kanin describes no effort to systemize his own 'evaluation' of the police reports—for example, by listing details or facts that he used to evaluate the criteria used by the police to draw their conclusions. Nor does Kanin describe any effort to compare his evaluation of those reports to that of a second, independent research— providing a ‘reliability’ analysis. This violates a cardinal rule of science, a rule designed to ensure that observations are not simply the reflection of the bias of the observer [...] [Dr. Kanin] simply reiterates the opinions of the police officers who concluded that the cases in question were 'false allegations.'"
Lisak later performed his own study, published in 2010 in Violence Against Women, which found a false allegation rate of 5.9%.
Rape definitions and evolution of laws
The word rape itself originates from the Latin verb rapere: to seize or take by force. The word originally had no sexual connotation and is still used generically in English. The history of rape, and the alterations of its meaning, is complex. In Roman law, rape, or raptus was classified as a form of crimen vis, "crime of assault." The concept of raptus was applied to the abduction of a woman against the will of the man under whose authority she lived, and sexual intercourse was not a necessary element. Like theft or robbery, rape was originally considered a "private wrong" iniuria privita, a crime between the abductor and the legal guardian of the woman in question. It was made into a "public wrong" iniuria publica by the Roman Emperor Constantine.
Augustus Caesar enacted reforms for the crime of rape under the assault statute Lex Iulia de vi publica, which bears his family name, Iulia. It was under this statute rather than the adultery statute of Lex Iulia de adulteriis that Rome prosecuted this crime. Emperor Justinian confirmed the continued use of the statute to prosecute rape during the 6th century in the Eastern Roman Empire. By late antiquity, the general term raptus had referred to abduction, elopement, robbery, or rape in its modern meaning. Confusion over the term led ecclesial commentators on the law to differentiate it into raptus seductionis (elopement without parental consent) and raptus violentiae (ravishment). Both of these forms of raptus had a civil penalty and possible excommunication for the family and village receiving the abducted woman, although raptus violentiae also incurred punishments of mutilation or death.
The legal view of the concept of rape began changing gradually in the late Middle Ages. 12th century Codex of Gratian clearly distinguished between abduction and rape, and considered forced sexual intercourse a necessary element. By the mid-1500s, European courts began recognizing the concept of age of consent, namely, that minors under a certain age, such as 12, would be incapable of consenting to intercourse.
Virtually all societies have had a concept of the crime of rape. Although what constituted this crime has varied by historical period and culture, until quite recently, the definitions tended to focus around an act of forced vaginal intercourse perpetrated through physical violence or imminent threat of death or severe bodily injury, by a man, on a woman or a girl, not his wife. These definitions differ significantly from the modern definitions of rape in Western countries today. For example, the actus reus of the crime, was, in most societies, the insertion of the penis into the vagina, and, until the 19th century, many jurisdictions required ejaculation for the act to constitute the offense of rape.  Acts other than vaginal intercourse did not constitute rape in common law countries and in many other societies. In many cultures, such acts were illegal, even if they were consensual and performed between married couples (see sodomy laws). In England, for example, the Buggery Act 1533, which remained in force until 1828, provided for the death penalty for "buggery". Today, in many countries, the definition of the actus reus has been extended to all forms of penetration of the vagina and anus (eg. penetration with objects, fingers or other body parts) as well as insertion of the penis in the mouth. Throughout much of the history, rape was a crime that could only be perpetrated by a male on a female. The way sexuality was conceptualized in many societies rejected the very notion that a woman could force a man into sex - women were often seen as passive while men were deemed to be assertive and aggressive. Sexual penetration of a male by another male fell under the legal domain of "sodomy".
One of the most distinctive feature of rape historically was the fact that not all incidents of forced intercourse constituted this crime. An incident could be excluded from the definition of rape due to the relation between the parties, such as marriage (until a few decades ago wives were nearly universally excluded, and in many countries they continue to be so) or due to the background of the victim (in many cultures forced sex on prostitute, slave, war enemy, member of a racial minority, etc., was not rape). For instance, in 17th century Scandinavia, Christian V's law of 1687 stipulated that rape could only be committed on three categories of women: somebody else's wife, a widow, or an honest virgin. Women who did not fit in any of these categories were not considered legal victims of the crime of rape. During the Colonization of the Americas, the rape of native women was not held to be a crime under Spanish Law as the persons in question were Pagan and not Christian. In 1814, Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt wrote of his travels in Egypt and Nubia, where he saw the practice of slave trading: "I frequently witnessed scenes of the most shameless indecency, which the traders, who were the principal actors, only laughed at. I may venture to state, that very few female slaves who have passed their tenth year, reach Egypt or Arabia in a state of virginity."
Rape historically was understood as a very violent attack, the victim had to offer the utmost resistance; threats of violence, if accepted, had to be of a very severe nature. Other forms of non consensual intercourse, such as sex with a victim who cannot defend herself, various forms of threats other than the most extreme threats of violence (even these were often not accepted by themselves in absence of physical resistance of the victim), or other forms of coercion or exploitation were not considered rape, and most often were not covered by other laws either (although the traditional crime of seduction could be applied in some circumstances, provided the victim was of "good morals").
In the United States, the 1962 Model Penal Code defined rape as follows: "A male who has sexual intercourse with a female not his wife is guilty of rape if:(a) he compels her to submit by force or by threat of imminent death, serious bodily injury, extreme pain or kidnapping, to be inflicted on anyone; or (b) he has substantially impaired her power to appraise or control her conduct by administering or employing without her knowledge drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance; or (c) the female is unconscious; or (d) the female is less than 10 years old." Rape was classified as a felony in the second degree. If aggravated circumstances existed, which were defined as either inflicting serious bodily injury upon anyone, or when the victim was not a voluntary social companion of the actor upon the occasion of the crime and had not previously permitted him sexual liberties, then rape was a felony in the first degree.
Social views and constructs of rape
In ancient history, rape was viewed less as a type of assault on the female, than a serious property crime against the man to whom she belonged, typically the father or husband. The loss of virginity was an especially serious matter. The damage due to loss of virginity was reflected in her reduced prospects in finding a husband and in her bride price. This was especially true in the case of betrothed virgins, as the loss of chastity was perceived as severely depreciating her value to a prospective husband. In such cases, the law would void the betrothal and demand financial compensation from the rapist, payable to the woman's household, whose "goods" were "damaged". Under biblical law, the rapist might be compelled to marry the unmarried woman instead of receiving the civil penalty if her father agreed. This was especially prevalent in laws where the crime of rape did not include, as a necessary element, the violation of the woman's body, thus dividing the crime in the current meaning of rape and a means for a man and woman to force their families to permit marriage. (See Deuteronomy 22:28–29.)
From the classical antiquity of Greece and Rome into the Colonial period, rape along with arson, treason and murder was a capital offense. "Those committing rape were subject to a wide range of capital punishments that were seemingly brutal, frequently bloody, and at times spectacular." In the 12th century, kinsmen of the victim were given the option of executing the punishment themselves. "In England in the early fourteenth century, a victim of rape might be expected to gouge out the eyes and/or sever the offender's testicles herself." Despite the harshness of these laws, actual punishments were usually far less severe: in late Medieval Europe, cases concerning rapes of marriageable women, wives, widows, or members of the lower class were rarely brought forward, and usually ended with only a small monetary fine or a marriage between the victim and the rapist. Adult women were often extremely reluctant to bring up charges of rape: public admission of having been raped was severely damaging to one's social standing, courts tended to be skeptical of the charges, conviction rates were low, and, in the event that the accusation could not be proved, the victim could then be accused of committing adultery with the rapist (traditionally a serious offense that could have been punished by mutilation or even death.) Certain classes of women, such as prostitutes, were banned from raising accusations of rape altogether.
The ius primae noctis ("law of the first night") is a term now popularly used to describe an alleged legal right allowing the lord of an estate to take the virginity of his serfs' maiden daughters. Little or no historical evidence has been unearthed from the Middle Ages to support the idea that such a right ever actually existed.
The medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas argued that rape, though sinful, was much less unacceptable than masturbation or coitus interruptus, because it fulfilled the procreative function of sex, while the other acts violated the purpose of sex.
In Medieval Europe, a woman could be legally married by her parents to a stranger without her consent, and, once she was married, she could no longer refuse to consent to sex: the medieval concept of rape did not allow for the possibility of being raped by one's husband. In 1563, the Council of Trent expressly declared that legal Catholic marriages had to be done with consent of both parties, but did not require parental consent, essentially declaring forced marriages invalid. This was not universally accepted: for example, in France, women were not granted the right to marry without parental consent until 1793.
The criminal justice system of many countries was widely regarded as unfair to sexual assault victims. Both sexist stereotypes and common law combined to make rape a "criminal proceeding on which the victim and her behavior were tried rather than the defendant". Additionally, gender neutral laws have combated the older perception that rape never occurs to men, while other laws have eliminated the term altogether.
Since the 1970s, many changes have occurred in the perception of sexual assault due in large part to the feminist movement and its public characterization of rape as a crime of power and control rather than purely of sex. In some countries the women's liberation movement of the 1970s created the first rape crisis centers. One of the first two rape crisis centers, the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, opened in 1972. It was created to promote sensitivity and understanding of rape and its effects on the victim. In 1960 law enforcement cited false reporting rates at 20%. By 1973 the statistics had dropped to 15%.
From time immemorial, rape has been regarded as spoils of war. Now it will be considered a war crime. We want to send out a strong message that rape is no longer a trophy of war.
Rape, in the course of war, dates back to antiquity, ancient enough to have been mentioned in the Bible. The Israelite, Persian, Greek and Roman armies reportedly engaged in war rape. The Mongols, who established the Mongol Empire across much of Eurasia, caused much destruction during their invasions. Documents written during or after Genghis Khan's reign say that after a conquest, the Mongol soldiers looted, pillaged and raped. Rogerius, a monk who survived the Mongol invasion of Hungary, pointed out not only the genocidal element of the occupation, but also that the Mongols especially "found pleasure" in humiliating women.
The systematic rape of as many as 80,000 women by the Japanese soldiers during the six weeks of the Nanking Massacre is an example of such atrocities. During World War II an estimated 200,000 Korean and Chinese women were forced into prostitution in Japanese military brothels, as so-called "Comfort women". French Moroccan troops known as Goumiers committed rapes and other war crimes after the Battle of Monte Cassino. (See Marocchinate.) Soldiers raping women and girls was common in many areas occupied by the Red Army. A female Soviet war correspondent described what she had witnessed: "The Russian soldiers were raping every German female from eight to eighty. It was an army of rapists."
It has been alleged that an estimated 200,000 women were raped during the Bangladesh Liberation War by the Pakistani army (though this has been disputed by Indian academic Sarmila Bose), and that at least 20,000 Bosnian Muslim women were raped by Serb forces during the Bosnian War. Wartime propaganda often alleges, and exaggerates, mistreatment of the civilian population by enemy forces and allegations of rape figure prominently in this. As a result, it is often very difficult, both practically and politically, to assemble an accurate view of what really happened.
Commenting on rape of women and children in recent African conflict zones UNICEF said that rape was no longer just perpetrated by combatants but also by civilians. According to UNICEF rape is common in countries affected by wars and natural disasters, drawing a link between the occurrence of sexual violence with the significant uprooting of a society and the crumbling of social norms. UNICEF states that in Kenya reported cases of sexual violence doubled within days of post-election conflicts. According to UNICEF rape was prevalent in conflict zones in Sudan, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is estimated that more than 200,000 females living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo today have been raped in recent conflicts. Some estimate that around 60% of combatants in Congo are HIV-infected.
In 1998, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found that systematic rape was used in the Rwandan genocide. The Tribunal held that "sexual assault [in Rwanda] formed an integral part of the process of destroying the Tutsi ethnic group and that the rape was systematic and had been perpetrated against Tutsi women only, manifesting the specific intent required for those acts to constitute genocide." An estimated 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
The Rome Statute, which defines the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, recognizes rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, "or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity" as crime against humanity if the action is part of a widespread or systematic practice.
Rape was first recognized as crime against humanity when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia issued arrest warrants based on the Geneva Conventions and Violations of the Laws or Customs of War. Specifically, it was recognised that Muslim women in Foča (southeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina) were subjected to systematic and widespread gang rape, torture and enslavement by Bosnian Serb soldiers, policemen and members of paramilitary groups after the takeover of the city in April 1992.
The indictment was of major legal significance and was the first time that sexual assaults were investigated for the purpose of prosecution under the rubric of torture and enslavement as a crime against humanity. The indictment was confirmed by a 2001 verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia that rape and sexual enslavement are crimes against humanity. Amnesty International stated that the ruling challenged the widespread acceptance of the torture of women as an intrinsic part of war.
- Anti-Rape Movement
- Corrective rape
- Courtship disorder
- Criminal transmission of HIV
- Emergency contraception (the morning after pill)
- Factors associated with being a victim of sexual violence
- Special Victims Unit (also known as the Sex Crimes Unit)
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- Rape by gender
- Rape culture
- Rape fantasy
- Rape of college women
- Rape shield law (shields rape victims from scrutiny)
- Sexual violence by intimate partners
- Take Back the Night
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