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Rape And Rape Trauma Syndrome A dictionary would commonly define rape as a sexual act committed by force especially on a woman The American Heritage College Dictionary 1997 pg 740 Until a few years ago it was limited to penal penetration of the vagina Penal Code 261 defines rape as an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person not the spouse of the perpetrator without the lawful consentRoberson 1998 p 188 and Penal Code 263 further states The fundamental wrong at which the law of rape is aimed is the violation of a womans will and sexuality Roberson 1998 p 190 However these days rape takes on various forms and this is inclusive of marital rape Rape may even occur between members of the same sex as is prevalent in institutions where access to the opposite sex is restricted such as prisons military settings and non co-educational schools The potential causes of rape are varied and controversial Among factors that contribute to rape are decreased status or perceived power of women within a society pervasive media exposure of sex availability of pornographic materials especially those involving acts of violence inadequate information or misconceptions regarding sexual behaviors and the prevalence of child sexual abuse It is important to realize that the victim is not the cause About 45 of rapists are 15 to 25 years old They frequently harbor feelings of violence or hatred towards women and often feel insecure or inadequate and may have experienced problems with sexual performance Nearly half of the time the rapist is known to the victim at least casually or works or lives near the victim People who are targeted for some form of discrimination including racial discrimination are believed to be at higher risk for sexual assault This may be attributed to increased vulnerability because of decreased ability to call for help for example those with limited language skills or disabilities and decreased perceived
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