Dating Dilemmas: Violence
Dating dilemmas are a pivotal problem in the lives of the young and single in society today. Over the years, date rape has become more and more predominant, especially in the lives of teenage girls who are completing high school and college. Many factors may influence the attacker to commit such a crime upon it?s teenage victim. But none are excusable or accepted and these attackers are being punished much more harshly since sexual assault was added, as an offence, to the Canadian Criminal Code. As for the victims, although nothing can take away the experience they suffered through painfully, treatment and therapy is available to help them get on with life. Dating violence is a distressing issue in a young persons life but it is also unavoidable and society must try and deal with it in the most civil way possible.
General Background Information on Date Rape
Date rape has been a serious problem for many years, for both women and men of any status. In early English law, virginity was demanded as an ingredient of rape but in 1275 legislation was passed that stated a woman could be raped whether she was a virgin or not. In the 18th century, virginity had ceased to be an ingredient at all in the definition of rape (McColgan, 1996:p.17). Nowadays, the definition of date rape is an act that occurs on a date, where one party; usually male, forces his victim to have sexual intercourse, without the victim?s consent, by using physical threat. As Robin Warshaw (1988) states, “Rape is violence not seduction”.
Dating violence, which includes rape and sexual assault, is occurring at alarming rates, especially among high school students. The majority of all date rape survivors were raped during their teenage years at high school but also one in seven college women will be raped on a date before she graduates. Among these students, it is and has usually been the girls who are targeted at as victims (Simon, 1997:p.1). These girls are beginning to realize that they must be careful and many are beginning to fear not only strange men but also the men they know very well. In the mid 1970?s, date rape awareness meant learning self defense and being wary of the men around you so as to survive. (Warshaw, 1988: p.1) As Robin Warshaw (1988) stated almost 80% of all rapes are acquaintance rapes where the victim knows her attacker well. The Ontario Government has composed data on date rape and is it quite alarming. (See Appendix 1)Date rape is a crime that has always been recognized (McColgan, 1996: p.2), but largely denied until recently. Dating violence is a serious problem in society and people must work to intervene and prevent it (Simon, 1997: p.2)
Date Rape and Its Influences
There is no one direct cause of date rape. Although there are usually three key elements involved, socialization, miscommunication, and/or changing sexual mores, one major reason for date rape is a lack of consideration for a woman’s rights and wishes.(Silverstein, 1994:21) In a general sense, traditional male and female roles in society are part of the problem. Men are taught at a very early age to be aggressors; they participate in aggressive team sports, are encouraged to be competitive, not to give up, to keep on trying. They are encouraged to have strong sexual feelings and to experiment with their sexual satisfaction as a part of their masculinity. This environment which encourages men to be competitive and get what they want often leads to a belief in the “right to have sex.”(Pirog-Good, 1989:172) Women on the other hand are socialized to be more passive, dependent, to be peacemakers, to avoid scenes, to be “lady-like.” They are discouraged from experimenting with their sexuality. The double standard allows men to have sexual feelings and act on them; in contrast, a woman is allowed to be sexual primarily when she becomes “carried away” with emotion. Communication between men and women is often problematical, especially in the realm of sex. Especially in a first sexual encounter with someone, some women may say “no” when they mean “maybe” or even “yes,” and men have been taught to try to turn that no/maybe into a yes. Thus, it is sometimes hard for men to know when “no” really does mean “no.” Women on the other hand, don’t want to agree to sex too readily for fear they will be seen as “loose” or “easy.” Misperceptions abound; a woman thinks she is merely being friendly, but her date thinks she’s signaling willingness to have sex. Some men believe they are entitled to sex when they have spent money on a date. Others may believe that if a woman is sexually active, she will willingly have sex with anyone, including him. Some men are sexually aggressive because they are basically insecure. The government of Ontario conducted a survey in 1995, asking questions concerning date rape. (See Appendix 2) Forcing sex on another person makes them feel strong because it makes someone else feel weak. Rape is violence against a woman. It is an issue that strikes at the heart of the personal relationship between a man and a woman, how they treat each other, arid how they respect each other’s wishes. (Silverstein, 1994:12)People who respect others do not coerce others to do things they do not want to do.
Date rape sometimes occurs after the victim has taken drugs or one drink too many. Whether under the influence or not, victims frequently classify the rape as a hazy, regrettable experience that was somehow their own fault. One of the more recent date rape drug has emerged in Canada. Though the drug has been available since the 1970’s, only recently have North Americans realized the dangerous potential of Rohypnol.(Http://imprint.uwaterloo:1998:1) Known as the Date Rape Drug, or the Forget Pill, the past few years have seen an increase in the number of sexual assault cases in which the victim was given Rohypnol without her knowing. Rohypnol is the brand name registered by Hoffman-LaRoche Inc. for the drug flunitrazepam.(Http://imprint.uwaterloo:1998:1) It is important to note however, that Rohypnol is considered to be ten times more powerful than Valium. It was originally designed as a sedative and prescribed for people with sleeping disorders, though its use has been legally halted in North America. When the drug is taken, it produces a relaxed feeling, soothing the nerves and inducing sleep. In the majority of the reported cases, Rohypnol has been administered to a woman in a beverage, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic. The pill dissolves instantly and takes effect within five to ten minutes of digestion, which is close to instant in a party setting. It is tasteless, odorless and colorless, so there is no way to determine if it has been added to a drink. The reported effects of Rohypnol include dizziness, impaired judgement and amnesia, leading to a reduced capability to resist suggestion and a lack of memories after the incident. A woman in this vulnerable state is easy prey for a rapist. Rohypnol is commonly available on the streets for between three to ten dollars per pill and comes in a bubble pack. The most common problem with reporting Rohypnol-related rape cases is that in most situations, the woman has no
recollections of the incident. This causes a great dilemma for prosecutors, who are without their best witness.(Rue, 1989:14). One major impediment to these investigations is that if Rohypnol is not identified immediately, the evidence will be flushed from the body within a matter of days. It is illegal to prescribe or sell Rohypnol in either Canada, but that has hardly prevented its use, as well as its apparent spread. Canada, now realizing the dramatic rise in sexual assaults and drug abuse related to Rohypnol, is currently looking at upgrading the drug into the same category as cocaine and heroin, effectively banning its sale or use. As it stands, possession of Rohypnol is not an offence, but the administration of it to others without their knowledge is illegal.(Http://www.usda, 1998:3)
The term rape is no longer used in the Canadian Criminal Law, and is referred to as sexual assault which is a criminal offence under the federal Criminal Code Of Canada. Any type of forced sex constitutes sexual assault under the Criminal Code of Canada. Any type of intentional and unwanted force applied to another person constitutes assault under Section 265 of the Criminal Code. It states that (1) A person commits an assault when: a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly, or indirectly; b)he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs. (Pocket Criminal Code:1995:25) This section could be used for the most serious to less serious forms of assault. Once a man is convicted of assault. He can receive an imprisonment ten years. In some cases a women?s legal counsel will advise against pressing charges. It?s difficult to get a trial, let alone a conviction, when the victim is raped by a boyfriend. Apart from bringing criminal charges, a women may also have the option of suing the individual man who has raped her. Laws of evidence are less strict for civil suits so even if she doesn?t file a criminal suit, or she loses a criminal suit, it is still possible in some instances to collect damages.
The Criminal Code now has anti-stalking protection, known as ?criminal harassment” and punishes any person who recklessly harasses another person by engaging in conduct causing that person to reasonably fear their safety or the safety of anyone known to them. Preventative justice is available in the form of section 810 which allows you to go before a provincial court judge and request a ?keep the peace” promise on the part of the aggressor.(Pirog-Good, 1989:47) It is a crime in and of itself to refuse to sign a peace bond ordered by the court, or to disobey an existing bond.
Trauma And Therapy
Trauma is an adaptive reposes to change in living organisms ?defense mechanism? mechanism. It occurs in humans to attempt to manage and control physical pain injury and to maintain psychological homeostasis. Rape trauma syndrome is the acute phase is and long-term reorganization process that occurs as a result of forcible rape or attempted forcible rape. In the immediate hours following the rape, the woman may experience an extremely wide range of emotions. The impact of the rape may be so severe that feelings of shock or disbelief are expressed. When interviewed within a
few hours of the rape, the women in the study mainly showed two emotion styles; the expressed style, in which feelings of fear, anger and anxiety were shown through such behavior a crying, sobbing, smiling, restlessness, and tenseness; and the controlled style, in which feelings were masked or hidden
and a calm, composed or subdue affect were seen.(Http;//www.ncf, 1998:1) A fairly equal number of women showed each style. The first stage is the acute phase. This is the period may last for several weeks and results in an immediate disruption of the survivors life. This may result in disruptive of personality and behavior depending on how the survivor?s memory operates with high stress and emotions to reduce stress from current experience. One of most common coping mechanisms at is depression. When a survivor is calm and subdued after facing a traumatic situation, they maybe experiencing , associative damage from prolonged interpersonal violations. (Burgess, 1997: p.89) The second phase begins when the women begins to reorganize her lifestyle. In this stage the survivor internalizes a lot of trauma or could be experiencing disassociation from a traumatic experience as a way of coping. This may occur for months or years and my encompass the survivors life, and therefore hindering the process of reorganization.
Often after a rape, and even after treatment women often still have issues they deal with such as fear of outdoors, this occurred in women who had been attacked while sleeping their beds They also fear the outdoors, this occurs in women who had been attacked outside of their homes. These women felt safe inside, but would walk outside only with the protection of another person or only when necessary. Many women fear crowds Many victims were quite apprehensive when they had to be in crowds or ride on public transportation.(Http;//www.ncf, 1998:1) Some survivors need outside help to deal with the problems for good. This can be done using various psychotherapeutic approach such as counseling. By trying to convey acceptance to victim and place victims at ease, creating a rapport is very important in developing a trust relationship with the survivor. A counselor may also help the survivor identify causes of major concern that is troubling the victim as well as providing information about medical care, police investigations. Having the the survivor create their own dependant system, is a good idea to ensure that the survivor is not becoming dependant. But with severe cases some methods such as hypnosis may prove very useful. It is important that along with establishing rapport that the survivor decides whether or not they?d like to withdrawal from sessions. There are many places that survivors can get help from such as Rape Crisis Center of Peel where they provide you with counseling and crisis intervention.(Silverstein, 1994:12) One other place is the Convedant House which provides homes for many run away victims. If needed there are several other places located in Appendix 3. For any survivor of date rape, is a true hero in themselves and they need to be told that it?s not there fault.
Dating violence is a very upsetting issue for a young person to encounter but it is also unavoidable and society needs to address the problems in the most suitable way possible. Over time in history, date rape has become more and more common, especially doing the teenage years. Date rape has been influenced by many distressing factors that cause a person to do such as awful crime. The Canadian Criminal Code has had many changes concerning sexual assault and its punishable acts. Sexual assault is one of the most traumatic experiences a women can experience in her lifetime, and treatment is currently available to help her get back on track of her life. Although we can teach teenage women the warning signs of date abuse, we can not stop perpetrators from committing the crime and as society develops more we will teach crime is no way to get anything.