Rape is usually defined as having sexual intercourse with a person who does not want to, or cannot consent. Consent is when someone agrees of their own choice without being forced to. In France it is more widely defined as 'unwanted sexual penetration'. Rape is a form of sexual assault. In most countries, rape is one of most serious crimes. The International Criminal Court can also condemn it as a "crime against humanity", if done by a group. A person who rapes someone is a rapist. Rapists may use violence, drugs, or threats to get their way. People of any gender can be raped. This was not recognized by US law until 2011. Girls and women or boys and men may stay quiet about a rape because they might feel ashamed about it. Rapists can be both male or female.
People who cannot consent[change | edit source]
A person may be unable to consent (say yes to) to sexual intercourse or other sexual activity. Having sex with a person who cannot consent is rape.
Children[change | edit source]
- Children and teenagers under the age of consent are legally unable to consent. If an adult has sex with them, it is known as "statutory rape". In some places, teenagers who are about the same age can agree to have sex with each other. This is known as the "Romeo and Juliet" clause.
Adults who cannot consent[change | edit source]
Some adults are unable to consent to sex.
- People who are sleeping or unconscious cannot consent to sexual intercourse.
- People who are under the influence of certain drugs such as alcohol may be unable to consent to sex. They may be unable to walk, may slur speech, or may be confused.
- People suffering from certain illnesses or disabilities are unable to consent, even though they may legally be adult. These conditions affects their thinking. They may not know what sex is, or they may be unable to judge the consequences of having sex. They may seem confused or unsure. Developmental disabilities, mental illness, and brain injuries can make a person unable to consent. A court may find someone unable to consent.
Marital rape[change | edit source]
Marital rape is where the victim of rape is married to the person committing the rape. Unconsenting sex with a married partner is thought to be rape under the laws of some countries but not others. In the United Kingdom, marital rape was determined to be a crime in the case of R v. R (1991). Marital rape being illegal does not mean that the law is enforced. For example, in Ireland marital rape was made illegal in 1990, but by 2006 only one person had been convicted of it.
Effects of rape[change | edit source]
Rape is a medical emergency. People who are raped may be injured or have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). People may not know they are hurt or sick. Doctors can give medicine to treat an STD. HIV, an STD, can be prevented by early treatment. If seen quickly, a doctor can give medication called emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. Rape is at least twice as likely to cause pregnancy as consensual sex. The reason for this is not known.
At the hospital police can collect evidence from the victim and his/her clothing. Evidence may help find the rapist, and can help him/her go to jail. Waiting too long makes it hard to collect evidence. Also, taking a shower before telling the police or going to a hospital can wash off some of the DNA evidence.
Victims of rape often feel scared, sad, and/or guilty. They may think about the rape a lot, even when they do not want to. They may have nightmares about the rape. Many have post-traumatic stress disorder. People who are raped during childhood or adolescence often get borderline personality disorder. They may binge drink to cope. Talking to someone, like a counselor, can help. Rape counselors are trained to help rape victims. Sometimes doctors can give medicine to decrease fear and sadness. Calling a rape crisis center or hotline can help a victim find help.
Rape culture[change | edit source]
Some people believe in 'rape culture'. For example, they say that the United States has a rape culture. Rape culture is a culture that lets rape happen. It even encourages it. In the US 97% of rapists are never put in prison for their crimes. Some people are worried about women lying about being raped and men getting unfairly punished. This happens much less often than people think. In a study of college athletes, they thought that women lie about being raped 50% of the time. A 2005 study by the British Home Office found that 2.5% of rape reports were false.
Part of rape culture is victim blaming. This is when people say that someone who has been raped is the person to blame for their rape. An example of this is people saying that a rape victim was 'asking for it' because they were wearing a short skirt. It can also be more subtle. Victim blaming has been linked to the just world fallacy. This is when people think that the world is fair, so bad things only happen to people who have done something wrong. Victim-blaming is also related to 'slut-shaming'. The idea of rape culture has been criticized. Christina Hoff Sommers argues that rape is just one type of violent crime and America's culture of violence in general is what should be fought.
Statistics[change | edit source]
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It is not easy to find out how many people have been raped or how many people have raped. A lot of rape victims don't tell anyone that they were raped. They may be scared that they will not be believed or feel too ashamed to talk about what happened. The conviction rate for rape is very low so they might think reporting to police is a waste of time. The 2006-07 British Crime Survey found that 1 in every 200 women suffered from rape in that period. The same year 800 people were convicted of rape. This means less than 1 in every 100 reports of rape led to a conviction. A survey by Mumsnet found that 68% of women would hesitate reporting a rape to the police because of low conviction rates. So rape report statistics are not reliable. A person may be raped but deny or not realize that what happened to them is rape, so would not say 'yes' if they were asked in survey if they had been raped. A person is more likely to say they were raped or raped someone if the word 'rape' is not used in a survey question. Different countries have different legal definitions of rape. Marital rape or rape that is not male-female is not always counted in the law or statistics. Some studies ask what people think about rape instead of or as well of if they have raped or been raped. This comes from the idea that rape is a social problem.
1 in 5 women in the US say they have been raped in their lives.
Prostitutes have possibly the highest rape rate in the population. A 1996 study in San Francisco found that 70% of a sample of 200 female prostitutes had been raped.
In a 2005 poll 26% of people thought that a woman is partly or fully responsible for her rape if she was wearing sexy clothing. 4% thought that there are more than 10,000 women raped a year.
60% of 1000 women in a Rape Crisis survey thought that rape is not rape if the woman does not say 'no'. 16% had been raped.
In a survey between 2010 and 2012 of adults living in Britain, 9.8% of women said they had been raped and 1.4% of men said they had been raped.
In 2013 the 'Savile effect' was described in the media. In 2012 there was a lot of media coverage about claims of child sexual abuse against Jimmy Savile. The number of sex crimes reported to police increased 9%. This was linked to the sexual abuse scandal.
In Finland convicted rapists get very short sentences compared to other countries. Between 2001 and 2003 the average sentence for rape was two years in prison.
In 2013 a study by the United Nations was published that asked 10,178 men in six countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka) if they had raped a woman who was not their partner. Over one in 10 said yes. When they were asked if they had raped a woman who was their partner, 1 in 4 said yes, making headlines. The highest rate was 62% of men in Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea who said they had raped a woman. 7.6% had raped a man. 14% of men from the area had took part in gang rape.
2.8% of the whole sample reported having raped another man. The lowest rate was 10 per cent in urban Bangladesh. The majority of the men who had raped did not face any legal consequences. 42.7% had first raped between the age of 15 and 19.
73% said they raped because of sexual entitlement. 59% said they did it for fun. 38% said they had raped a woman to punish her. Alcohol was the least common reason. Men who had been sexually abused were more likely to rape.
20.8% of 1,863 Cambodian men had raped. Gang rape was the least common kind of rape apart from in Cambodia. In Cambodia it was more common than non-partner rape by a rapist on their own. 81.7 percent of Cambodian women said that if a woman does not physically fight back it is not rape. Other research found that 87% of Cambodian girls and 87% of Cambodian boys don't think that gang rape of a prostitute by a group of men is wrong or actually rape.
96.5% of Sri Lankan men who raped experienced no legal consequences.
20% of 8000 Indian men in a survey by ICRW had committed marital rape.
South Africa has been described as the rape capital of the world. In a study in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal by the South African Medical Research Council over one in four of 1737 anonymously surveyed men said that they had raped. 4.6% had raped and 5.3% had attempted rape in the last year. 16.8% had attempted rape ever. 8.9% had engaged in gang rape in their lives. 46.3% of men who had raped had raped more than one woman or girl and 53.9% had raped more than once. 7.1% raped 6-10. 7.7% said they had raped more than ten women or girls. 45% did not feel guilty. 9.8% of rapists were under 10 years old and 16.4% were 10-14 years old the first time they raped a girl of woman. However the sample contained more young men than the general population. The men who raped were much more likely to have experienced bullying and bad relationships with their parents. The most common reason given by the rapists for raping was entitlement. 
In another study in Gauteng, South Africa's wealthiest province, over 1 in 3 (37.4%) of the 487 men asked admitted to rape. Two thirds of men said they raped because of feeling entitled to sex. Other reasons given were that they wanted to have fun or to punish a woman. 25.3% of 511 women said they had been raped.
A study of 1370 rural South African men aged 15-26 from 70 villages found that 21% had raped. The average age of first rape was 17.
Other very different statistics have been reported.
In "The South African demographic and health survey of 1998" 4% of women aged 15 to 49 said they had been raped. The reason for the differences in the statistics are not known. Rape between men is not part of the legal rape definition in South Africa.
In a study of 1,049 women, 33% said they had been raped by the age of 18. In 66% of cases the rapist was a boyfriend.
Democratic Republic of Congo
A 2010 study estimated that 1,100 women are raped every day in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a statistic 26 times higher than the previous estimate.
An analysis of 2,565 patients who received medical care in the Médecins Sans Frontières sexual violence clinic in Ituri found that 96% were female. 73% were raped by armed men. 95.2% of the male victims were raped by armed men. 35.9% of females who were asked if they had became pregnant as a result of their rape said yes. 74.5% experienced gang rape (89.3% of male and 73.9% of female victims), usually involving 2-4 rapists. 48.6% of victims were raped while doing daily chores outside the home like collecting water and 12.3% in their own homes.
10.3% of women had been raped in a 2011 study. 3.9% of men had raped.
5% of Swaziland men in a study had raped. 11.4% of women had been raped.
In a sample of street females in Bahir-Dar town 24.3% had been raped in their lives and 11.4% were raped in the last year. 93.8% of the rapes were not reported. 19.1% became pregnant as a result of their rape.
WHO found among a sample of women in rural Ethiopia who had had sex, 17% said that the first time they had sex it was forced.
In a survey 8% of 2011 Ghanian women had been raped. 5% of men had raped a wife or girlfriend.
Out of a sample of 295 female students from Ebonyi State University Abakaliki in Southeast Nigeria, 10.8% had been raped on campus. In another study of 12-19 year old students from schools in Oyo State found that 68.3% of intellectually disabled females with sexual experience had been raped.
In a 2013 poll, 34% of 585 randomly chosen Nigerians said that 'indecent dressing' is the most common cause of rape in their society. 79% agreed with the statement 'most rapes in Nigeria go unreported'. In Nigeria raping someone you are married to (marital rape) is not recognized as a crime.
Other websites[change | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Rape|
- International Rape Crisis Hotlines The is a list of International Rape Crisis Hotlines from Rape Crisis Information
- University of California, Santa Barbara's SexInfo This article discusses different types of rape including date rape, gang rape, marital rape, prison rape, acquaintance rape, and wartime rape.
- Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network RAINN is the largest anti-sexual assault organization.
References[change | edit source]