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
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 contrasting “real 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.
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.