Date Rape


Date Rape Essay, Research Paper


This research paper is about the issue of acquaintance rape, also known as date

rape. In this papers context, I will define acquaintance / date rape. I will discuss how and

why it occurs. This paper explores the laws and the judicial system and how they work. I

will discuss ethics, myths about acquaintance / date rape, and victims reactions. I will

discuss how misinterpretation of sexes are comprehended and misunderstood. I will

show how the movie industry and the news media glorifies rape cases. Finally, I will

look into false accusations of rape by women against men.


Date rape can generally be defined as occurring whenever a man forces his date

to have sex with him against her will. Some people expand this definition to include

forced sex by any acquaintance, whether it be in context of a date or not. Despite the

simple definitions, however, there is a great deal of controversy over the exact legal and

moral implications of date rape or acquaintance rape. The legal definition of date rape is

extremely limited and it tends to place the burden of proof on the victim. A date rape

victim will have a difficult time in court if the defence attorney can show a lack of

evidence or can imply that the women is loose or immoral in any way. This, in

prosecuting a date rape, it helps if the victim has visible bruises or is a ” woman of

shining charter,” because otherwise “the strict definitions of rape will prevail in court.”1

Whereas the legal view threats date rape as if it was a regular rape by a stranger,

moral definitions tend to take other factors into account. For example, date rape raises a

number of ethical questions regarding the line that divides normal courtship behavior

from violent assault. Many offenders argue that they forced their dates to have sex with

them because they believe that is how women like being treated. despite this, however, it

is obvious that there is a difference between mutual consent between partners and own

person using force against the other. As noted by Susan Jacoby, “even the most callow

youth can understand the difference between a halfhearted no, we shouldn’t and tears or

screams.”2 There are a number of moral questions which are raised by the issue of date

rape. For example, it is obvious that a rape has occurred if the man has used physical

force. However, it is also rape if he has used coercion or threats or has gotten his date

drunk in order to have sex with her. Because of the moral difficulties in defining date

rape, lots of women are even confused about whether they’ve been raped.

Moral definitions of date rape are often attached to ideological schools of

thought. For example, there is a feminist perspective on date rape that holds it, as well

as rape in general, is the product of a mans traditional dominance over women.3 This

point of view has sparked controversy, however, for example, Murry Rothbard

criticizes the feminist definition of date rape because it suggests that all men are

potentially guilty of committing the crime. Rothbard claims that this extremist opinion

often results in men being unjustly accused of rape. For example, it is argued that there

are cases in which a women doesn’t say no and doesn’t resist, but latter claims that she

was raped anyhow, simply because she had been influenced by feminist thinking in the

mean time.4 John Leo also disagrees with the feminist definitions of date rape.

According to Leo, the feminists failure is in there emphases on rape as an act of political

or social oppression.5 From this view point, the feminist argue that sex has nothing to do

with the act of rape. Leo counters the argument by claiming that sexual drives are

obviously involved in the act of rape. In addition, Leo promotes a biological definitions

of date rape, which claims that rape exists because men have a high sex drive and are

intimately aggressive.

Nancy Rue provides a definitions for date rape which seems to straddle the

middle ground between these extreme points of view. According to Rue, date rape occurs

whenever a man demands sex from his date and obtains it from her regardless of how she

feels. In this regard, “all he wants is to feel powerful through sex and hes prepared to do

anything to feel that, even to use violence.”6 This definition combines the best of both

feminist and biological perspectives. Specifically, it shows that date rape is the result of

both the male sex drive and the innate tendency to dominate women.

The incidence of date rape has been steadily rising in recent years. One estimate

has indicated that one third of all rapes in the United States are “committed by a woman’s

own boyfriend, date, or fiance.”7 An even higher estimate has been provided by Nancy

Gibbs in “Time magazine”. In contrastingreal rape” (by a stranger) from “acquaintance

rape”, Gibbs notes that “real rape” accounts for only 1 out of 5 attacks. Reports of date

rape have been especially high among the college campuses of the nation. Date rape and

acquaintance rape occur with increased frequency on campuses because they are settings

in which young men and women our out on their own for the first time in their lives.

These young people often find themselves engaging in unsupervised parties with heavy

drinking involved. This is clearly a situation which “tends to promote sexual aggression

and discourage inhibition.” 8 As a result of this situation, there are increased

opportunities for acquaintance rape to occur. Many people are confused about the issue

of date rape because there are a number of social myths and stereotypes connected to it.

One such myth is that the victim is somehow responsible for her own rape. For example,

it is often claimed that the victim was in the wrong place at the wrong time or that she

dressed provocatively and deserved being attracted. Such accusations frequently occur in

rape cases. However, they are even more common in date rape cases in which the defense

attorney is seeking to blame the victim for participation.9 In such cases, the defense

attorney will try to show that the victim was responsible for being raped because the

sexual act had been preceded by a series of consensual activities. For example, it will

seem that the women was more or less consenting to sex if she allowed herself to be

alone with the man of if she allowed him to buy her a drink. According to this logic, such

“consensual activities” are supposed to have encourage the man to believe that his date

wanted sex with him. However, mutual consent in sex clearly doesn’t apply to cases in

which the woman dose not want sex, but the man forces her to participate in it anyway.

Another myth associated with date rape is the idea is that a women owes a man sex after

a date if he has spent any money on her. 10Again, although some women choose to

conclude such a date with sex, this dose not excuse a man for raping a woman when she

dose not want sex. Another myth pertaining to date rape is the idea that a woman wants

to be “pushed into sex” and that “no” really means “yes.” 11 This myth is connected to the

stereotypical belief that a women fantasize about being raped. This ridiculous belief

perpetuated by media images which glorify rape the idea of a heroic man taking his

chosen woman by choice. At there worst, the glorification of rape scenes in movies and

other media encourages some men to copy the acts that they have seen. However, even

at there best, such scenes do little more than confuse people on the issue. For example,

in a real life situation in which a woman feels that she is being raped, it is possible that a

man “may envision a seduction, in which he is being dominate and she is being

flirtatious.”12 Clearly misunderstandings are frequently involved in allegations of rape.

This can be seen in the typical victim. The typical offender generally claims that his date

sent him mixed signals, or that she really wanted sex even though she resisted, or that she

agreed to sex at the time but changed her mind after the fact.

By contrast, the typical rape victim claims that she did not agree to sex and that

the act was forced upon her against her will. Recently, a controversial case has arisen in

the public media which highlights the stance generally taken by the accused

rapist and his victim. William Kennedy Smith, a member of the famous Kennedy family,

was accused of having raped a woman at his Palm Beach home. He had met the woman

at a bar and she had apparently agreed to go with him to his house. The woman claimed

that William Kennedy Smith forced her to have sex with him once they arrived there.

Smith claimed that there was a man being falsely accused. The Kennedy Smith case is

important because it brought public attention to the issue of date rape. This is an

interesting case because it clearly shows the typical patterns which occur in a victim’s

accusation and an offender’s excuses.

A victims reaction to date rape is often very severe. This is because, unlike

stranger rape, date rape is perpetuated someone whom the victim knows or has trusted.13

Because of these factors, the victim often experiences a state or shock after the act. The

victim also often experiences disbelief and may not even realize that she has been raped.

Many critics of feminism have tried to argue that date rape is not as bad as stranger rape.

However, in many cases, the shock of date rape is actually much worse. Victims of date

rape generally feel physiologically as well as physically damaged. Many women who

have been raped by dates or acquaintances continue to have difficulties in trusting people

for many years after the event. In order to deal with the problem of date rape in American

society, there is a need for both social and legal action. In other words, there is a need to

raise social consciousness on the issue and there is also a need to make the laws more

humane in their treatment of the victims. One form of social action which is very helpful

can be seen in the support groups and classes which help women learn to protect

themselves against date rape. There are various guidelines that women can follow in

reducing the odds of such an occurrence. For example, a woman can learn to avoid

being alone with men who are pushy or otherwise exhibit signs of abusive behavior.14

Even if a woman dose find herself alone with an acquaintance who intends to rape her,

there are certain things that she can do to protect herself. For example, she can talk her

way out of the situation. If that doesn’t work, she can try to trick or fight her way out if


Date rape is an occurrence which has a profound emotional impact on its victims.

This basic fact is often clouded over by the theoretical debate which surrounds the issue.

In order for positive steps to be taken, it is important that people cut through the various

theories and realize that date rape is indeed rape because it forces a woman to give up her

body without her consent. Regardless of whether the feminists or biological theorists are

correct in determining the cause for date rape, the problem of women being abused and

violated remains the same. Such violations are clearly a crime against women, because

they go against the idea that women have the right to do what they want with their own

bodies. Women certainly have the right not to be coerced or forced into sex. This is true

whether the offender is a stranger or is someone that the victim knows. All of the

theories which seek to explain date rape end up doing little more than providing a list of

excuses for those men who commit the crime. According to the theories, men can’t help

themselves when they rape their dates because they have aggressive sex drives and

cultural need to dominate women. The truth of the matter is that sex without mutual

consent between both parties is always rape, regardless of whatever excuses a man might

come up with to justify himself. Improving the situation in the future will require the

raising of consciousness for both men and women. Both sexes need to be able to better

communicate their feelings to one another. In addition, there needs to be a clearer

understanding regarding the exact meaning of sexual consent. It is true that there are

some cases where men are falsely accused of date rape. Nevertheless, rape is still rape,

and there is a need for ways to deal with genuine cases of date rape when they occur. As

in the case of stranger rape, date rape is a violent crime which results in both physical

and emotional damage to the victim. Because of this, it is important that both society

and legal system strive toward treating the crime accordingly. many so-called experts try

to simply ignore the issue or to make it seem less serious than it really is.

In recent years, there has been a great deal of talk about the “grey area” in the

date rape debate. This relates to the fact that there is a philosophical area in which the

two different sides of the issue find it impossible to meet. The idea of this “grey area”

implies that men and women will never be able to truly see eye-to-eye. This “grey area”

has been blamed as being the cause for some men thinking they are engaging in a

courtship ritual when in fact they are actually raping their dates. Although some date

rapes are instances of pure violence, in many cases it is apparent that a misunderstanding

has caused the event. It is because of this, increased dialogue among sexes is important.

Only through open debate will men and women be able to understand each other and be

able to overcome the “grey area” which exists in the issue. At the present time, there is

still a great deal of confusion over what constitutes a date rape.

Through increased understanding, societies perception of date rape can be

improved. In addition, the laws which pertain to date rape can be updated and made more

humane for the victims and inhumane for the perpetrators. Social action will raise the

consciousness of both men and women on this issue. Legal action will improve the

system so that it dose not try to treat date rape like stranger rape. This, in turn, will

enable the courts to better prosecute cases in which women have been forced by

acquaintances to have sex against their will.

What I have learned.

This was an interesting experience for me. I had the opportunity to read numerous

articles and books on my chosen subject of date/acquaintance rape. I learned that my

feelings have somewhat changed. I never believed there was such a thing as “date rape”,

but I did believe in rape occurring in certain instances. through the assignment, I have

been able to better understand the laws relating to the California penal code, and the use

in charging a person accused of this crime. Finally, I learned the most tragic of all. That

any woman, at any time can accuse anyone of rape in any context.

Personal Feelings.

I feel that rape is a serious crime. However, in my opinion a lot of women

jeopardize their own safety by doing some of the things they do. For example, if you go

to a night club, some women dress very nice while other women have barley enough

clothes to cover their private parts. Women know when they are teasing men. these

women should be ready to handle the consequences if a rape should occur. I don’t believe

that a rape of this nature should even be reportable to the police.

Conclusions and Recombination.

In conclusion, I believe that women know what they are doing when they are

doing it. I recommend that if women want rapes to stop they need to lobby a bill for rape

to be a crime punishable by castration. I also believe that women falsely accusing men of

rape should be executed. Women should stop purchasing clothes that make then appear

“slutty”. this making the temptation not so great.

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