Definition and Dynamics of Rape

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Definition and dynamics of rape

Rape refers to penetration or sexual contact, without the consent of one party. Rape can also be referred to as sexual assault. A sexual activity can also be regarded as rape if the victim or one of the parties involved is asleep, drunk, mentally challenged or physically incapacitated. Also, if one of the parties involved has used threats of physical force to get sexual favors, this can result in rape. Rape can occur to the victim of any age or gender.

Mostly men are the perpetrators of rape. This is because in some societies, people glorify violence. Thus, men sexually assault women to show that they are strong. Rape cases involving elderly people as victims have also been reported (Cann, 2002, p.15). Research has also shown that 50% of the victims were raped by close friends, 30% of the victims by strangers, 12% by people they had intimate relationship with and 8% by other relatives. Women are often raped by people they know very well. This is because the perpetrators believe that the women would hesitate to report them to authorities for fear of retaliatory attacks. Three out of four victims know the people who raped them. Rape cases are reported mostly in urban and poor areas as opposed to rural or wealthy areas. Men who commit rape are usually in their right minds. Only 8% of the perpetrators are mentally challenged.

Cultural and social reasons why people commit rape

Some societies despise women and view them as weak. They highly regard men and give them the power to do anything they wants to do. Women are expected to obey the men at all times and do whatever pleases the men. This makes the men feel that they own the women. Men in such communities view rape as a way of portraying their dominion over women (Foa, 1998, p.81). Rape cases in such places are likely to be higher than places where women are given more powers and equal treatment.

Some of the rape cases are not reported. Culturally, only women are viewed as possible victims of rape. Although women are mostly the victims, sometimes men are also raped. A man who reports a rape cases is victimized by the society and seen as weak because he could not fight back. This makes the men less likely to report the cases.

Some perpetrators sexually assault their victims because they believe that they will easily get away with the assault. This is because some victims report the rape cases too late. Victims are traumatized after the occurrences thus change their statements from time to time. The victims are mentally unstable and say different things at different times. This makes it hard for the prosecutors to prove that the perpetrators are guilty. The perpetrators end up free most of the times and this makes them sexually assault other people.

Personal and psychosocial repercussions of rape

Rape makes the victim to re- experience trauma after the ordeal. The memories of the attack haunt the victim long after the incidence occurred. The victim might experience nightmares especially at night.

Rape can make the victims avoid a lot of things and places for a long time for fear of a re- occurrence of the ordeal. They avoid places where they were raped and people of the perpetrators’ race.

When the society knows that someone is a victim of rape, some people tend to discriminate and avoid the victims (Horos, 2006, p.77). This makes the victims feel guilty and ashamed even to interact with their peers.

Rape can also lead to physical injuries as the perpetrators force struggle with their victims. Most perpetrators carry weapons and can harm the victims to instill fear in them and make it easy to rape them.

Rape can also make a victim to become pregnant or acquire STDs. This can alienate them from the rest of the community to avoid ridicule. The children born as a result of rape find it hard to interact freely with other people and are mostly discriminated.

Types of rape

There are several types of rape. Status rape occurs when the perpetrator and the victim belong to different social classes. The most common type of rape is the acquaintance rape where the victim knows the perpetrator quite well. The perpetrator can be a close friend of the victim. Gang rape is a type of rape where several perpetrators rape a single victim. War rape is another type of rape which occurs when soldiers invade a particular city. They rape the civilians or their prisoners of war. They do so to humiliate their opponents. Another form of rape is the custodial rape (Williams, 1978, p.102). This is a form of rape where the perpetrators are employed by the state. An example of such an employee is a police officer. The perpetrator has been given authority over his subjects and takes advantage of it to rape the subjects.


Cann, A. (2002). Rape. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

Foa, E. (1998). Treating the trauma of rape: Cognitive-behavioral therapy for PTSD. New York: Guilford.

Horos, C. (2006). Rape. New Canaan, Conn.: Tobey Pub.

Williams, K. (1978). The prosecution of sexual assaults. Washington: Institute for Law and Social Research.

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NursingBird. "Definition and Dynamics of Rape." April 25, 2022.