Sexual Violence

DEFINITION OF RAPE

According to the Florida Statute 794.011 (H), sexual assault or rape is defined as oral, anal or vaginal penetration or union with the sexual organ of another, or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, this does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose. In other words, when someone violates another person in the ways described above, the crime of sexual assault has been committed.

STATISTICS ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Sexual violence is among the most clandestine crimes in the United States. While the problem is rampant, victims are often shamed into feeling that what has happened to them is their fault. As a result, victims may wait years, or their entire lives, without telling anyone. Though the statistics that follow may be shocking, they provide only a partial glimpse of reality. There remain many more victims who suffer in silence.

  • One out of three women and one out of six men will be raped in their lifetimes.
  • More than two million cases of child abuse are reported annually and 40% of these cases involve sexual abuse.
  • Sixteen percent of rapes are ever reported to the police.
  • Seventy-seven percent of rapes are committed by someone who the victim knows.
  • Among female rape victims, sixty-one percent are under the age of eighteen.
  • Fifty-two percent of gay men and lesbians reported at least one incident of coercion by same-sex partners.
  • Three percent of men reported being the victim of an attempted or completed rape.
  • In the U.S. a woman is raped every two minutes.
  • One out of every five women in college reports being forced to have sexual intercourse.
  • Among developmentally disabled adults, eighty-three percent of females and thirty-two percent of males are victims of sexual assault.
  • An estimated 302,100 women and 92,700 men are forcibly raped each year in the United States.
  • Rape kits are often shelved and left untouched in laboratories for years. In the state of New York estimates put the number of kits currently backlogged up to 500,00.

TYPES OF RAPE

Acquaintance Rape

Rape committed by a perpetrator known to the victim. Teenagers and young women are especially vulnerable to acquaintance rape. Many acquaintance rapes are initiated by the perpetrator with the intention of having sex. When the victim resists the perpetrator’s advances, the perpetrator uses more aggressive measures to ensure compliance.

Marital Rape

Contrary to popular belief, rape can occur in marriages. This is often a difficult fact to reconcile with the traditional view of marriage, which asserts that a wife cannot deny sexual relations with her husband. Until recently, many state rape statutes excluded spouses, making it legal for a husband to rape his wife.

Stranger Rape

Rape by a person who is a complete stranger to the victim. Contrary to popular belief, statistics show that stranger rape occurs substantially less frequently than acquaintance rape.

Gang Rape

This type of rape is perpetuated by a group of offenders that “take turns” assaulting a victims. Group members may also participate by forcing the victim to submit, (by physical force or threat), while other group members commit the rape. The motivation for a gang rapist is to assert his “manhood” and power, and gain acceptance by a group of his peers. While it is feasible for women to commit gang rape, research supports to the notion that males represent the overwhelming majority as culprits of gang and other types of rape.

DATE RAPE DRUGS

Date rape drugs are substances that can be used illegally to take advantage of a person. They can be slipped into a drink without the victim knowing, and within minutes they can cause a variety of effects ranging from dizziness to a lack of consciousness. There are many different types of date rape drugs. Some of the most common include:

  • Alcohol: Most people don’t think of alcohol as a date rape drug. Ironically, it can be one of the most dangerous drugs because it is easily accessible and commonly used in social settings.
  • Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam): Known on the streets as ruffies, roachies, rope, rib, Mexican Valium and R-2, this drug is physically addictive and approximately 10 times stronger than valium. Rohypnol can be lethal in combination with alcohol. Its effects include drowsiness, impaired motor skills, impaired judgment, dizziness, confusion, amnesia, nausea, and blackouts.
  • GHB (Gamma Hydroxbutyrate): Originally developed as an anesthetic, GHB is widely manufactured in home labs or in kitchens. Known as Liquid E, Liquid X, Cherry Meth, and Easy Lay, GHB has been used for the treatment of narcolepsy, opiate dependency, and as a performance-enhancing additive to body building formulas. GHB is a central nervous system depressant that is abused for its intoxicating effects. The side effects include nausea, dizziness, a slow heart beat, decreased respiratory effort and low blood pressure.
  • Ketamine: Referred to as Special K, Ket, Vitamine K and Kit Kat, Ketamine is a fast-acting veterinary anesthetic. This substance can come in a variety of forms ranging from a liquid to a powder.

THE TRIAL OF MR. SMITH :

A RAPE VICTIM’S EXPERIENCE IN THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The following mock investigation of Mr. Smith illustrates the brutal and rigorous treatment that victims of rape sometimes endure in the judicial process. The dialogue underscores the point that rape victims are never at fault for the crime committed against them, and it highlights the importance of sensitizing members of law enforcement and the judicial system to better meet the needs of victims.

Investigator: Mr. Smith, you allege to have been help up at gunpoint on the corner of First and Main.

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Investigator: Did you see a gun?

Mr. Smith: No.

Investigator: So, you made a conscious decision to comply with his demands rather than resist?

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Investigator: Did you scream? Cry out?

Mr. Smith: No.

Investigator: In other words, you didn’t try to get help for yourself.

Mr. Smith: I was afraid to.

Investigator: I see. Have you ever been held up before?

Mr. Smith: No.

Investigator: Have you ever given money away?

Mr. Smith: Yes, of course.

Investigator: And you did so willingly?

Mr. Smith: What are you getting at?

Investigator: Well, let’s put it like this, Mr. Smith. You’ve given money away in the past. In fact, you have quite a reputation for your generosity. How can we be sure that you weren’t planning on having your money taken by force?

Mr. Smith: Listen, if I wanted…

Investigator: Never mind. What time did this hold up take place?

Mr. Smith: About 11:00 p.m.

Investigator: You were out on the street at 11:00 p.m.? Doing what?

Mr. Smith: Just walking.

Investigator: Just walking? You know that it’s dangerous being out on the street late at night. Weren’t you aware that you could have been held up?

Mr. Smith: I hadn’t thought about it.

Investigator: What were you wearing?

Mr. Smith: Let’s see – a suit. Yes, a suit.

Investigator: An expensive suit?

Mr. Smith: Well, yes. I’m a successful lawyer, you know.

Investigator: In other words Mr. Smith, you were walking around the streets late at night in a suit that practically advertised the fact that you might be a good target for some easy money, isn’t that so? I mean, if we didn’t know better, Mr. Smith, we might even think that you were asking for this to happen, mightn’t we?

Source: American Bar Association Journal

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