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"I Didn't Call It Rape"

Acquaintance Rape Essay by Robin Warshaw

ashley furland

on 14 February 2011

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Transcript of "I Didn't Call It Rape"

"I Didn't Call it Rape" Stranger Danger 1970's: Rape awareness focused on women's self-defense and victim support.
Prevailing myth that strangers posed a bigger risk
1982:Ms. Magazine "date rape" article indicated that more women were raped by those they knew.
More exhaustive research on college campuses indicated that one in four women had an experience that met the legal definition of rape or attempted rape.

Acquaintance rapes occur between people who know each other, from a dating relationship or otherwise.
Male against female assaults are the most prevalent types of rapes.
Most women who are raped by men do not identify their experience as rape, or recognize it as a crime. “Acquaintance rape remains largely hidden because few people identify it for what it is– a crime punishable by law. Because the assault occurs between individuals who know each other, within the context of the often confused personal and sexual relationships between men and women, it’s difficult for many people to label it correctly.”
The author suggests that acquaintance rape can be avoided and that her readers should be better equipped to prevent it. Does putting the prevention impetus on women contribute to victim-blaming, or could it be empowering? What sort of prevention or outreach efforts could be targeted at men?
This article was written in 1988, but why is stranger rape such a pervasive myth that sexual assault rates are basically the same and still vastly underreported?
Warshaw's Experience Warshaw was assaulted at knifepoint by an ex-boyfriend. She did not identify the experience as rape until 3 years later. 10 years later, she received a threatening phone call from him where he confirmed that he raped her.
the author was concerned with reliving her own pain, personal disclosure, and causing pain in her interview subjects.
Warshaw was the first person they talked to about their experiences aside from a counselor. They often expressed a desire to educate women and provide solidarity for other survivors.
Common factors in acquaintance rape: they are often planned, in isolated locations, not identified as rape by the survivor, and many women feared for their lives during the assault.
When Warshaw mentioned her own experience, she found that her subjects visibly relaxed. She attributed this to removing their fear of disbelief. National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE
Refuge House Hotline: (850) 681-2111
FSU Victim Advocate Program: (850)644-7161
FSU University Counseling Center: (850)644-2003
Online resources: RAINN.org (has an online hotline)
aftersilence.org, pandys.org, malesurvivor.org, giftfromwithin.org, mencanstoprape.org Resources Grey Rape? Hookup Culture + Substance Abuse= Ambiguity "sex that falls somewhere between consent and denial and is even more confusing than date rape because often both parties are unsure of who wanted what." Is this distinction meaningful? What are its consequences? Rape Culture A rape culture is a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.

In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes. This violence, however, is neither biologically nor divinely ordained. Much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change. Many feminists say that we live in a “rape culture,” where social and political conditions allow for rape, and where male sexual violence is encouraged. What cultural norms contribute to the prevalence of acquaintance rape?
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