It’s 3:20 am. on a Friday morning, and pitch black out. The only things visible are the tree branches and pavement shining from yellow streetlights that carve out a path from the parking lot to the back door of my building.
Living on campus at Towson I should’ve owned mace, but I clutched my car key instead, pointed outward ready to stab the eye of anyone deciding to come out of the dark after me. The brisk walk up the hill seems to take half an hour. Finally under the bright lights of the overhang I swipe my card quickly to get inside. The door bolt locks behind me with a loud click. I’m safe.This is the typical scenario were one would assume a rape to take place. 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.
However this is far from the truth. The majority of victims are raped by individuals they know or who are acquaintances. This type of rape is known as “acquaintance rape.” Eighty percent of all rapes are, in fact, acquaintance rapes. (CallRape) One kind of acquaintance rape is called “date rape,” in which a man and a woman go out on a date together and forces her to have sex when she does not want to.
Date rapes typically occur when a woman is alone with a man. If a woman goes to a man’s room or apartment, or even get into his car alone, she is vulnerable. Date rapes can also occur when others are relatively close by; for example, they can happen in an upstairs bedroom while fifty people attend a party on the first floor. Most girls don’t think to reach for mace or car keys in these situations. They don’t think about easy escape routes or who’s within shouting distance. We shouldn’t have to. Unfortunately it is an issue that needs to be discussed.
Awareness is the most effective weapon women have against this horrible and often unreported crime. 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 “women secretly enjoy rape,” from a historical perspective, can lead us for better understanding how they evolved. Much stems back to the idea that women are still seen as the property of men, and are protected as such. Men and women are still taught to occupy very different roles in today’s world.
Men are usually in power positions, and women are seen as passive. This socialization process is changing, but slowly. Even in early age, boys are taught to be more aggressive than girls are. They are expected to enjoy playing sports. Girls are expected to play less aggressive sports. Boys are taught that they should get anything in their ways, even if it means using violence.
Girls are taught to stay away from conflicts. Boys are sometimes taught to have a lot of girlfriends, and not to get tied down by one girl when they are young. They are supposed to play the field. Girls are often taught that they should have a steady boyfriend. They are taught to guard their “reputations.” All of these childhood “lessons” come into play in date rape for obvious reasons. (Mufson et all, 1993). Rape is defined as a forced sexual intercourse against the will of the victim (Parrot, 1988).
Rape is a violent act, 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. Rape can happen to anyone. Women from different cultures, races, ages, and economic level are all vulnerable. So no matter who you are or where you live.
Most rape, and specifically most acquaintance rape, happens between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five. Because this is the time when young women are most likely to date, it is therefore are most vulnerable age of date rape, though acquaintance rape is not limited to dating situations. It may