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Acquaintance Rape: The Hidden Crime

NCJ Number
A Parrot, L Bechhofer
Date Published
423 pages
About one in four women in the United States will be victims of rape or attempted rape by the time they are in their mid-twenties, and over 75 percent of these assaults will occur between people who know each other.
Research conducted over the past 10 years has examined the incidence and prevalence of acquaintance rape, contributing factors, assailant and victim profiles, and effects of acquaintance rape on victims. Such research shows that victims of acquaintance rape do not usually consider their assaults to be rape, and they rarely come forward and identify themselves as victims to authorities, families, or friends. Furthermore, acquaintance rapists are rarely convicted, and cases are generally not viewed as "real" rape by the legal system. Initial book chapters define the problem of acquaintance rape in terms of the hidden nature of the crime, changes in public perceptions, and how rape myths contribute to acquaintance rape. Specific attention is paid to young people's attitudes toward acquaintance rape, attributions of responsibility for the crime, the contribution of sex role socialization to acquaintance rape, and miscommunication between men and women as an antecedent of acquaintance rape. Book chapters also explore types of acquaintance rape, including nonviolent sexual coercion, wife rape, and gang rape on school campuses. Other chapters address factors that increase the likelihood of victimization, male victims, sexually coercive college males, the attraction to sexual aggression, psychological effects of stranger versus nonstranger rape on victim recovery, and societal and medical community responses to acquaintance rape. Measures that can be taken to prevent rape focus on personal precautions, institutional responses, and college policies and procedures. References, tables, and figures


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