Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 161 of 173 
Next page End Contents 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166  

In a rape or an aggressive sex act, varying degrees of force and pressure
or manipulation are used to dominate and get sex. Not all unwanted sex
experiences are carried out in a brutal manner; sometimes it is subtle
seduction, but that is still controlling another person for selfish purposes.
Added altogether, rape, date rape, and other forms of sexual abuse are fairly
common. For example, one in four girls is abused by age 14; one in three by
age 18, many by family members. One in 6 boys is abused by age 16. Among
college women, about 5% experience a rape or an attempted rape every
year; that brings the total to a 20-25% chance of an unpleasant sexual
experience sometime during the four years of college. 84% of these victims
were attacked by someone they knew (57% by a "date"). Russell (1982)
reports that 35% of college males confess that there is "some likelihood that
they would rape a woman if they could get away with it." Also, 28% of
"working women" have been sexually assaulted, 60% by someone they knew.
Russell also interviewed almost 1000 women and found that 14% had been
raped by their own husbands or ex-husbands. Remember, think of rape as a
violent act. Man has an astonishing history of raping women (Brownmiller,
1975), including raping the women of conquered countries. Almost 700,000
women were raped in 1990; 30% were between 11 and 17; another 30%
were under 11! The attacker was known by about 75% of the victims. 
Should you resist rape and if so, how? Some people suggest that you
not fight back at all. Others have recommended fighting back, screaming,
vomiting, and doing everything you can to resist the rape, because only about
half of the women who strongly resist are raped while almost all who don't
resist are raped. The problem is very complex, e.g. if a women forcefully
resists physically--hitting, kicking, using martial arts--and if the rapist has a
weapon, she is more likely to be seriously injured. If she vigorously resists
verbally--screaming and yelling--she is less likely to be raped but she is just
as likely to be physically injured in other ways (Ullman & Knight, 1993).
Nonforceful resistance--fleeing, pushing, pleading, begging, and reasoning--
doesn't seem to reduce the frequency of rape or of other injuries. It appears
that many violent rapists continue their attack even if the victim resists
vigorously physically and verbally (or doesn't resist). The latest advice is:
with very physically violent rapists, resistance probably won't help (and
increases the danger); yet, with a more verbal and less physical assailant,
strong forceful resistance may help. But, we are talking about stranger rape.
How can you quickly diagnose what type of rapist this is? Also, this advice
may not be very good with acquaintance rape. In short, no one knows the
best response with any certainty. 
If you are raped, even if you are very upset, it is important to go to a
hospital emergency room as soon as possible (see next paragraph for phone
numbers and sites about where to go if you don't know). You need to be
carefully checked, usually by rape examination specialists. Do not shower or
considered. Injuries need to be treated. All sexual abuse should be officially
reported, even if you escaped before being hurt. Rapists and abusers are
repeaters. As a society, we must reinforce reporting sexual assaults and
harassment. As long as offenders can get away with it, it will continue. 
Previous page Top Next page

« Back