Date rape




Date rape

Date rape is the common term for non-consensual sexual (vaginal, anal, oral) intercourse that is forced (by way of physical force or psychological coercion) on a person by someone that they know. Date rape is a criminal act that is perpetrated by a social acquaintance, a friend, or a dating or intimate partner of the victim. Date rape is a complex and difficult area of criminal law, given the nature of the relationship between the victim and the defendant. Most jurisdictions, however, make no legal distinction between date rape and rape that is committed by strangers.

National statistics indicate that date rape is far more common than rape that is committed by strangers. Approximately seventy to eighty percent of rape victims know their assailant. The majority of date rape cases occur within or near the victim's home. Approximately one-third of assailants are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crime. Most victims of date rape are women (over ninety percent). In fact, one in four women will become the victim of date rape in their lifetime.

The legal system has consistently aimed to define and prosecute date rape cases in such a way as to protect the rights of all involved parties and to maximize the achievement of justice in date rape cases. Each state has their own laws regarding date rape, which are influenced by society, public policy, law makers, and date rape cases. Many states have adopted the following definition of date rape: "sexual intercourse which is accomplished against a person's will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate injury." The additions of the terms "duress" and "menace" are important, as they include implied or perceived threats of force and verbal force.

Consent is defined as the positive cooperation in an act freely and voluntarily with knowledge of exact nature of the act. Having a prior relationship with a victim does not imply consent. In cases where the victim's ability to give consent is hindered, because of date rape drugs or other intoxicating substances, proof of date rape may not require proof that force was used or threatened. Consent is a difficult area of many date rape cases. The standard of proof in a date rape case is harder for the prosecution to provide compared to the standard in other rape cases. Consent issues can be complicated by issues such as perceived consent, poor communication, diminished capacity, and issues of asserting intent in an acquaintance relationship where many psychological issues may be at play.

Overall, date rape is a criminal act that is incredibly devastating to the victim, as physical damage and psychological issues of trust, security, and safety are undoubtedly provoked by such an intimate invasion. Being falsely accused of date rape can also have devastating consequences for the defendant. Even if the accused is never convicted of date rape, the charge alone can have significant social consequences.

If you would like to learn more about the date rape laws in your area, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney who can evaluate your case to determine how to best protect and maximize your legal interests.

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