Difference Between Saying and Hearing "No": A Study of the Importance of Consent and Communication in Date Rape Situations

Jake Bucher, The University of Memphis
Hannah Scott, Univ. of Ontario Inst. of Technology

This study examines the importance of consent and communication as it pertains to a date rape situation. The difference between what the offender perceives, what the situation allows to be socially expected, and what the victim actually consents to is of principal interest. The effectiveness of the communication involved, and whether or not the consent is actually given, expected, or just perceived, are important factors in determining criminality as well as identifying and defining victims. Using a working definition of date rape as "nonconsensual sexual intercourse (penetration) between nonfamilial acquaintances over the age of sixteen, in a social setting", an analysis of the statements of thirty sexual assault complainants who reported their attack to police was conducted. Included in these case files are the additional accounts of either the offender and/or witnesses. Through the testimonies of those involved and the information surrounding the event of each date rape, a better understanding of the dynamics of a 'typical' date rape situation is explored. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006