Social groups and forcible rape

Forcible rape refers to sexual act whereby there is vaginal, anal or oral penetration without the consent of the person. It differs from other types of rapes in that the victim is assaulted using force if not threats of force with injury being a common experience to the victims (Kilpatrick et al, 2007). The prevalence of this crime is surprisingly high in America with about 18 million women having gone through forced rape in their life time (Kilpatrick et al, 2007). There are various factors that increase the risk of forcible rape, social groups being one of them. It is important to note that a social group is made of not less than two people interacting and identifying themselves as a discrete social unit (Sociology Guide, 2010). With a social group having a customary and predictable behavior, a group that is linked to behaviors likely to lead to rape can almost be predicted to have cases of forcible rape.

    Studies show that among the many forcible rapes that are reported, the victims have good knowledge about the perpetrators. This is in tandem with social groups where individuals know each other well out of several interactions. Cases of date rape (also known as acquaintance rape) are very common and considering that this relationship fits the definition of a social group, it can be counted as a risk factor for forcible rape. In a social group such as an acquaintance relationship, forcible rape is likely to occur without the acknowledgement that it is rape due to a common misconception that a person in such a relationship must always be willing to have sexual contact (Curtis, 1997). The risk of forcible rape involving dating individuals is very high since the victim is very close to the perpetrator and they may not anticipate such an experience to happen due to the much trust they have on them.

    Taking the family as a social group, it is well known that there are many cases of forcible rape in the family circle some involving very close family members such as natural parents. Statistics show that 27 percent of all rape crimes are perpetrated by family members compared to 14 percent of strangers (Encyclopedia of Medicine, 2006). In a family setting, it is possible to have children being raped by their parents or a more common rape scenario known as spousal rape. Again, lack of anticipated molestation in combination with closeness of individuals in a family may increase the risk if there is a rapist in the setting.

    It is often hard to avoid becoming a victim of forcible rape occurring in a social group. However, an individual should take several precautions. To avoid acquaintance rape, a person should be able to have a profile of their partners behaviors and tendencies and look for warning signs such as the partner being unable to handle sexual frustration, as well as certain body postures (Curtis, 1997). A person can then take the necessary actions such as keeping away from the person at such a time. Date rape can also be avoided by ensuring that dating takes place outdoors since rape is less likely to occur in public places. It is possible to protect children from being raped by family members and caretakers by separating them from these risky individuals. Important to adhere to is to try to learn as much as possible the members of any social group one is a member of and avoid those that carry a risk of being raped.


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