I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape

I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape

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by Robin Warshaw, Robin Warsaw

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The classic book that broke new ground by thoroughly reporting on the widespread problem of date and acquaintance rape has now been completely updated to include recent studies, issues, current events, and controversies.


The classic book that broke new ground by thoroughly reporting on the widespread problem of date and acquaintance rape has now been completely updated to include recent studies, issues, current events, and controversies.

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San Francisco Chronicle
Painstakingly researched...chilling.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Harper Perennial
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5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.57(d)

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The Reality of Acquaintance Rape

"I never heard of anybody having that happen to them."
-- Lori, raped at 19 by a date

Women raped by men they know--acquaintance rape--is not an aberrant quirk of male-female relations. if you are a woman, your risk of being raped by someone you know is four times greater than your risk of being raped by a stranger.

A recent scientific study of acquaintance rape on 32 college campuses conducted by Ms. magazine and psychologist Mary P. Koss showed that significant numbers of women are raped on dates or by acquaintances, although most victims never report their attacks.

Ms. Survey stats
* 1 in 4 women surveyed were victims of rape or attempted rape.
* 84 percent of those raped knew their attacker.
* 57 percent of the rapes happened on dates.

Those figures make acquaintance rape and date rape more common than left-handedness or heart attacks or alcoholism. These rapes are no recent campus fad or the fantasy of a few jilted females. They are real. And they are happening all around us.

The Extent of "Hidden" Rape

Most states define rape as sexual assault in which a man uses his penis to commit vaginal penetration of a victim against her will, by force or threats of force or when she is physically or mentally unable to give her consent. Many states now also include unwanted anal and oral intercourse in that definition and some have removed gender-specific language to broaden the applicability of rape laws.

In acquaintance rape, the rapist and victim may know each other casually--having met through a common activity, mutualfriend, at a party, as neighbors, as students in the same class, at work, on a blind date, or while traveling. Or they may have a closer relationship--as steady dates or former sexual partners. Although largely a hidden phenomenon because it's the least reported type of rape (and rape, in general, is the most underreported crime against a person), many organizations, counselors, and social researchers agree that acquaintance rape is the most prevalent rape crime today.

Only 90,434 rapes were reported to U.S. law enforcement agencies in 1986, a number that is conservatively believed to represent a minority of the actual rapes of all types taking place. Government estimates find that anywhere from three to ten rapes are committed for every one rape reported. And while rapes by strangers are still underreported, rapes by acquaintances are virtually nonreported. Yet, based on intake observations made by staff at various rapecounseling centers (where victims come for treatment, but do not have to file police reports), 70 to 80 percent of all rape crimes are acquaintance rapes.

Those rapes are happening in a social environment in which sexual aggression occurs regularly. Indeed, less than half the college women questioned in the Ms. survey reported that they had experienced no sexual victimization in their lives thus far (the average age of respondents was 21). Many had experienced more than one episode of unwanted sexual touching, coercion, attempted rape, or rape. Using the data collected in the study (see the Afterword on page 189 for an explanation of how the survey was conducted), the following profile can be drawn of what happens in just one year of "social life" on America's college campuses:

MS. Survey stats * In one year 3,187 women report
* 328 rapes (as defined by law)
* 534 attempted rapes (as defined by law)
* 837 episodes of sexual coercion (sexual intercourse obtained through the aggressor's continual arguments or pressure)
* 2,024 experiences of unwanted sexual contact (fondling, kissing, or petting committed against the woman's will)

Over the years, other researchers have documented the phenomenon of acquaintance rape. In 1957, a study conducted by Eugene J. Kanin of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, showed that 30 percent of women surveyed had suffered attempted or completed forced sexual intercourse while on a high school date. Ten years later, in 1967, while young people donned flowers and beads and talked of love and peace, Kanin found that more than 25 percent of the male college students surveyed had attempted to force sexual intercourse on a woman to the point that she cried or fought back. In 1977, after the blossoming of the women's movement and countless pop-culture attempts to extol the virtues of becoming a "sensitive man," Kanin found that 26 percent of the men he surveyed had tried to force intercourse on a woman and that 25 percent of the women questioned had suffered attempted or completed rape. In other words, two decades had passed since Kanin's first study, yet women were being raped by men they knew as frequently as before.

In 1982, a doctoral student at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, found that 25 percent of the undergraduate women surveyed had at least one experience of forced intercourse and that 93 percent of those episodes involved acquaintances. That same year, Auburn psychology professor and acquaintance-rape expert Barry R. Burkhart conducted a study in which 61 percent of the men said they had sexually touched a woman against her will.

Further north, at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota, research in 1982 showed 29 percent of women surveyed reported being physically or psychologically forced to have sexual intercourse.

In 1984, 20 percent of the female students questioned in a study at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota, said they had been physically forced to have intercourse while on a date. At Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, 16 percent of the women surveyed reported they were raped by an acquaintance and 11 percent of the men said they had forced sexual intercourse on a woman. And another study coauthored by Auburn's Burkhart showed 15 percent of the male respondents reporting having raped a date.

I Never Called it Rape. Copyright © by Robin Warsaw. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this when I was in my early 20's, and it was horrifying. I just reread it. It's still horrifying, but not how the author intends. I'm not a kid anymore, I understand it now. This isn't about rape, this about the Ms. Foundation's views of society. Their survey was distributed without any subjects knowing their answers would be used for rape statistics. This shows that Ms equates rape with sexual aggression. That they consider it rape unless it's Mutually Satisfying. Less than 10% of the survey met even the Ms. Definition of rape. For the most part they experienced what's called Sexual victimization - that's unwanted Kissing, Petting or Fondling, and much of that was from over eager dates. Any human interaction isn't mutual. One is always more persistent. Whoever initiates any interaction always an Aggressor. Ms. considers it sexual violence if any demand or pressure is made. No matter how much men have been led on, or how long they've been dating, Ms. still says men have no right to demand sex. They also perpetuate the Myth that men can stop, no matter how aroused they are. Ms. considers it a Myth that women are turned on by violence or that violence is a form of Foreplay. Often times post fighting sex, or make up sex, is considered the best by both genders. The book clearly stated that only 27% those Ms. called rape victims, consider themselves raped. States that 42% of the women kept having sex with those Ms. tries to call Assailants. That certainly indicates that the Ms. Definition is inaccurate. Most of the females involved in the survey would be outraged if they knew their lovers are being called rapists. The book gives many examples of Rape. Those examples are extreme - each is brutal, sick and terrifying. It uses the fear those stories cause as a tool for attacking Fraternities, Athletics, all Forms of Male Bonding, and the entire Sexual Psyche. Specifically attacking any notion that sex is an achievement and expressing outrage over Sex being a way for males to prove themselves. Going on to demonize Masculinity and everything Macho. Beliefs like those in this book use fear, manipulation and force to achieve results, without any concern for who it hurts. This book Rapes the Mind.