Many of the attitudes, beliefs, and mistaken ideas about rape have been with us for centuries. By looking at myths, such as “women ask for it,” and “it would do some women good to get raped,” from a historical perspective, lead us for better understanding how they evolved. Women are still seen as the property of men, are protected as such. Men and women are still taught to occupy very different roles in today’s world. Men are usually more aggressive, and women are seen as passive. (Vogelman) This socialization process is changing, but slowly.
Rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse that a male performs against a woman whom he is neither married to or cohabiting with. The definition of rape changes by geographic location. In some countries a woman must prove she is pure in order to find the perpetrator guilty. Rape used to be more of a violation to the man than to the women. It was a violation of the man’s rights if his wife or girlfriend was raped. When a woman is raped her devotion to her family is questioned. Rape is a violent act, an act of possession, not a sexual act. The myth that men who rape women are sexually pathological has begun to be dispelled and replaced with an understanding that rape is an act of anger, power and control rather than lust.
When people think about rape, they usually think of a stranger with a knife hiding in the bushes. He waits for a woman to walk by and then attacks. But that is not the only kind of rape. The majority of victims are raped by individuals they know or acquaintances. This rape is known as “acquaintance rape” or “date rape.” Eighty percent of all rapes are, in fact, acquaintance rapes. This kind of rape happens when a man and a woman go out on a date together. The man forces the woman to have sex with him when she does not want to. Also called simple rape, which differs from real rape, because real rape involves weapons, violence and attackers. This kind of rape is recognized as rape in courtrooms, where simple rape is dismissed as not real rape and it is more common that the offender will be found not guilty.
Rape can happen to anyone. Women from different cultures, races, ages, and economic level are all vulnerable. It does not matter who you are or where you live, although women of lowest status are most vulnerable to rape, and so are Hispanic and African American women. (Anderson 276). Most rape, and specifically most acquaintance rape, happens between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five. This is the time when young women are most likely to date and therefore are most vulnerable to date rape. Acquaintance rape is not limited to dating situations. It may be committed by friends of the family, employers, friends, and past boyfriends. The potential causes of rape are varied and controversial. Among the factors that contribute to rape are: decreased status of women within a society, pervasive media exposure of sex, availability of pornographic materials, especially...