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Date Rape Is Not a Crime: Discussion Essay

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Updated: Sep 2nd, 2021

Rape can be defined as sex that one does not agree to. This includes forceful penetration of a body part or object into the vagina, rectum, or mouth without consent. Being raped by someone that you know or a stranger is considered rape if there was no consent. Date rape is defined as forceful sexual contact with an unwilling partner that is either preceded by some social contact/interaction of foreplay. This normally occurs within social relationships. Date rape can be between bosses, a friend of friends, friends, coworkers, or even delivery guys, other terms used to refer to date rape include sleep rape, contact rape, or acquaintance rape. This is because the rapist is usually known to the victim; this may include people like acquaintances, people who are dating, friends, or people who are romantically involved. Date rape normally happens/occurs within the social construct. Mostly both parties are under the influence of either alcohol or other drugs. This normally impairs the reasoning of the rapist and at the same time, it impairs the defense of the victim. Date rape usually involves some coercion which can take different forms which include physical, emotional, or verbal coercion.

No one has the right to force another person to have sex, whether they are in an existing relationship or not. When people talk and think about rape, they always assume that it can only happen if it is done by strangers. But unfortunately, studies have shown that half of all the people who are raped know the rapist. Even if these people know each other well or even if they were intimate or have had sex before, no one has the right to force anyone into having sex against his or her will. So date rape and stranger rape should be classified as the same. This is because rape is not an act of love but rather it involves a lot of violence and aggression. Rape is always the fault of the rapist but never the victim. This is the reason why most rape victims do not report date rapes because they tend to feel that it is their fault. They feel like they let it happen. But this is not the case. This is because no one owes anyone sex even if the two people are dating or in an intimate relationship. Sex should be something that the two people agree about. A healthy relationship is based on love and respect and a person who respects his/her partner will never force or rather pressurize him/her to have sex. If this happens, then it should be treated as a crime because it deprives the victim of both emotional and physical autonomy and privacy and is not an agreement between the two parties.

Date rape should be treated as a crime just like stranger rape. This is because it has the same consequences as stranger rape. In both situations, the victim is left traumatized and has a lot of mixed feelings that affect her. These include feelings like guilt, confusion, shame, denial, lack of trust, shock, fear, helplessness, and self-doubt. Rape messes up the self-esteem of the victim be it a date or stranger rape. Just because one has been raped by a person who is known to him/her, this does not reduce the pain and trauma associated with rape. In both situations, that is, date and stranger rape the violation of the victim’s right has occurred. The victim suffers just as much in the date rape. They both live very deep and lasting emotional scars.

Both date and stranger rape is an act of violation of a victim’s rights and respect. Therefore any act which denies a person his/her rights should be treated as a crime. This is because if a person has not given his/her consent, then it means that the rapist is acting against the will of the victim. This action affects the lives of the victims. The victim is unable to accept what has happened due to the fear of guilt and responsibility. The long-term effect of date rape is that it makes the victim doubt her/his judgment about people. People should honor and respect other’s decisions and wishes. Just as the stranger is forcing him on the victim so is the date or acquaintance, thus both of them should be regarded and treated as similar crimes. The law is in place to protect the rights of its citizens and a person who says no to something, the no given by the victim should be taken as so.

I think date rape should be regarded and treated as the same crime as stranger rape. This is because they both violate a person’s right to chose. The choices that are made at that particular time are made by the rapist. The victim is left feeling vulnerable and not able to make any choices. Studies conducted indicate that date rape is one of the common forms of rape. That is 1 out of 4 girls are expected to be victims of rape or attempted rape before the age of 25, whereas 3 out of 5 women are being raped before age 18. So if date rape is not regarded and treated as a crime, then most of the criminals/rapists will not be punished for their crimes. This is because date rape accounts for 78% of rape cases. If therapists are not convicted then it means the society will have a good number of sex offenders and most of the victims will remain unprotected. This means then that date rape will be taken as the norm. It should be made clear that even if physical violence is not used; other forms of coercion to obtain sex are also considered as rape. Date rape is just as traumatic as any other form of rape. People tend to take sexual coercion in dating or social situations as normal or as acceptable behavior. But this is not the case and the legal and judicial system should put up measures to protect and help the victims of date rape.

References

Leslie, Francis. Date Rape: Feminism, Philosophy and the Law. London: Penn State Press, 1996.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Date Rape Is Not a Crime: Discussion'. 2 September.

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