The Crime Of Rape Essay

2479 words - 10 pages

Perpetrators of crimes relating to sexual behavior generally receive little tolerance from the public. Written off as evil or degenerate, these people are considered animals; driven by some inner sinister force, the perception is that they should be blotted out of society in order to protect the people (Bartol, C., 2002: 284). This paper will consider and discuss the crime of rape. After defining the crime and looking at statistics, I will explore causes and origins of the crime, and discuss some of the legal implications including an evaluation of current preventative strategies. Finally, I will make some suggestions regarding better crime prevention. Note that in Australia, we use the term Sexual assault which may include rape. Sexual assault can be located on a continuum of behaviors from sexual harassment to life-threatening rape (ABS 2004). In working within the framework of Australian publications and data, sexual assault will also cover rape in this paper. However, where necessary (and possible), I will differentiate between the act of rape and an act of sexual assault.DefinitionRape is sometimes difficult to define (Weiser Easteal, P., 1996: 16). Often the circumstances surrounding a rape incident are multi faceted and simply weeding through the facts and intrinsic circumstances of the situation make for a long and drawn out battle, with conviction difficult (pp 16-21). The following two definitions of sexual assault come to the fore:The experienced-based definitionThe experience-based definition is fairly broad, and suitable for areas such as support or provision of services for victims of sexual assault. Within the framework of this definition, sexual assault is unwanted behavior of a sexual nature directed towards a person, and which makes the person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, or threatened, or which results in harm or injury to that person (ABS 20042). Further to this, the victim a) does not give consent, b) gives consent as a result of intimidation, force (physical, psychological, verbal, or other coercive behavior) or fraud, or c) is legally deemed incapable of giving consent because of youth or temporary/permanent incapacity.The offence-based definitionCrime statistics which are derived from police records are based on the offence-based definition. This definition is much narrower, and is suitable for criminal justice settings and certain legislation. Also concerned with sexual assault of a physical nature directed towards a person without their consent, the offence-based definition extends in a range from unwanted touching to sexual penetration without consent, including attempts (ABS, 20042, Tempkin, 1987: pp 25-26). Sexual penetration involves the introduction of a person's penis, object, or other body parts into the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person. Consent requires agreement that is free; if a person has been a) threatened, b) is fearful for themselves or someone else, c) is mistaken about the identity...

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