In the United States, the Nation with the highest rape rate in the world, warnings, admonitions, and fear of rape are handed down from mother to daughter. Although rape happens to 1 female in 12, frightening press accounts, violent pornographic movies, cultural stereotypes of rapists and their victims, attacks on friends and acquaintances, and escalating statistics have contributed to women's fear of rape. In exploring the social and psychological specter of rape in women's lives, this study probes both the myths and realities of rape and society's response to it, including strategies women have developed to protect themselves. Fear of rape is reflected in the way women think, organize their lives, and relate to others. As the authors indicate, a reasonable amount of fear is useful in motivating women to take reasonable precautions. The book presents concrete ways both women and men can begin to alleviate the destructive effects of the fear of rape. These include educating the public, integrating women into their communities, promoting legal reform, and forcing accountability in media coverage. Chapter notes, 250 references, subject index.