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You are here: Home >> Resources >> Handouts >> Date Rape

September, 2004

As children we were warned not to talk to strangers.  The fact is that we are more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone we know: a friend, a relative, an employer, a date or someone we have recently met.

There are many different kinds of acquaintance rape.  Date rape is one of the most confusing kinds.  Some men believe that spending money on a woman creates a situation where the date owes them sex at the end of the evening.  Some men also believe that women play hard to get, say "no" and mean "yes," and enjoy being pursued by an aggressive male.  Because some men perceive that sex is their right, many women are raped by the men they are dating.  It is not simply a lack of communication.  Nor is it a result of sexual frustration or a lack of control.  Rape is an act of violence and of power which is often planned.  Sexual assault is NEVER the victim's fault.  It is the responsibility of the person who committed the act of violence.

A woman has a 4 times greater chance of being raped by someone she knows than by a stranger.  Robin Warshaw, 1988

Only 17% of rapists are strangers; 83% of perpetrators are acquaintances (friends of the family, dates, boyfriends, relatives, authority figures).  Diana Russell, 1986

In a study by Mary P. Koss at Kent State University, one out of every eight women students had been raped.  Of those:
10.6% reported being raped by strangers
24.9% reported being raped by acquaintances
30% by steady dates
21% by casual dates
8.9% by family members
Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency, 1991

55% of rapes where the perpetrator is a stranger are reported to the police, while only 19% of acquaintance rapes are reported.  Only 2% of acquaintance rapes were reported when the perpetrator was a friend of the family or a date.  Diana Russell, 1986
 

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