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Rape Essay, Research Paper

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines rape as “the crime of having sexual intercourse with a person forcibly and without consent”. Rape is a problem in modern society because it remains a commonly practiced crime. Despite the severe consequences and the fact that it is morally and ethically wrong, the number of cases are growing.

It is assumed that rape has been around since the beginning of time. The

only thing that has changed is how society views the crime. For instance, in

ancient times the laws of society were written and enforced only by men. This led

to unfair laws that did little discourage men from raping women.

Being raped is a traumatic experience for the victim. Psychological damage on the victim varies depending on the age, sex, religion, and culture of the victim. The only guarantee is that the effects of rape on a victim are never positive. Rape is known to lead to psychological and emotional problems that often keep the victim living in fear and unable to maintain trustful relationships with others. Victims often begin to withdraw themselves from others and often develop low self-esteem and decreased self worth.

One aspect of rape that remains a mystery is why people feel the need rape others. Rapists are the scariest of criminals in the sense that they can appear to be normal, mentally stable individuals. Rapists come from every race, social class, and level of education. Researcher’s studying rape group rapists in to profiles to try to understand why people rape. I her essay “The Psychology of Rape”, Mackenzie Jackson theorizes that “Some do it to confirm their manliness, some do it to feel powerful, and others do it because they hate women as a whole”. This statement summarizes most rapist profiles, while displaying the mild to malignant variety of reasons that men rape women.

Another commonly undefined area of rape is determining what constitutes as consent. In his essay “History: From Rape to Sexual Assault”, Joseph Weinberg asks “Does the absence of ‘No’ = ‘Yes’?” This is a complicated question because many people would answer this question differently. The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger contains an event in which the main character, Holden Caulfield, struggles with this question. Holden is relating a story about a girl he was going to “make it” with and how she is not clear about her intentions or limits. He is kissing and touching her all over and she keeps saying “yes baby…oh no baby”, leaving Holden unclear about whether she wants to have sex or not. She does not assertively say no, and she continues to urge him on even while she says no. Holden hypothesizes that she really wants to have sex and is only saying no because the blame would be on him if any harm were to come of the situation. He eventually stops his advances, stating, “By the time I got her goddamn brassiere off, she was ready to spit in my face”.

Legally, no means no…even if the victim says yes after saying no. Still, there are many circumstantial gray areas. Some victims never say no or resist the rapist simply out of fear. In his essay, Jack M., a one-time rapist, rationalized his rape to himself by reassuring himself that his victim had never said no.

“I began to touch her more aggressively, squeezing her breasts and rubbing the inside of her thighs. Still no reaction. I felt like I was fondling a rag doll. Not that I cared. I did not need any response to get what I wanted. She did not resist me but moved like dead weight. I thought maybe she was trying to turn me off so I would stop. She was half naked on my bed with no one around. I was going to have this girl. I began removing her pantyhose and she firmly crossed her legs. Grinding her teeth and tensing her body were the only ways she could safely express her fear. Here was a girl in a dark apartment with a man she had never met before who could easily have killed her, in a city he had described to her as a moral vacuum. She did not cry, scream, or fight. “

Later, as Jack looks back on the situation, he realizes that he had raped her, despite the fact that she never said “NO”. Before, he had rationalized his actions by assuring himself that he did not force her to do anything.

“But didn’t I force her? What constitutes as force? Do I have to threaten her life? Do I have to physically force her as a way of making her submit? If I were walking in a dangerous and unfamiliar neighborhood and a man twice my size walked up to me on a deserted street and said ‘Give me your money’, I would hand it over. I would think ‘this guy could easily kill me. He did not threaten me, but merely demanded I give him something. I could run, but I would not know where to go for help. I may lose my money and feel violated, but it is better than having him kill me’.”

In Joseph Weinberg’s “History: From Rape to Sexual Assault” essay, he points out how verbal consent is not possible in all cases. He reminds us that “Mutuality is impossible with someone who is passed-out, extremely inebriated, asleep, a child, or mentally-incapacitated.”

There is no excuse for rape. Whatever the reason or circumstance, forcing oneself sexually on another person is wrong. Hopefully, the problem of rape will begin to decline as people begin to understand what leads to rape and how it can be avoided.


Jackson, Mackenzie. “The Psychology Of Rape.” Rape Poem. No Date Posted.

No Organization Listed. 28 May 2001 .

M, Jack. “Confession of a Date Rapist.” Sexual Assault. 9 Sep. 1998. TCLEOSE.

28 May 2001 .

“Rape”. Webster’s New World Dictionary. 1990 ed.

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher In The Rye. New York: Little, Brown, & Co., 1991

Weinberg, Joseph. “History: From Rape To Sexual Assault.” Teaching Sexual

Ethics. 1994. Joseph Weinberg And Associates. 28 May 2001 .

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