Rape is the most common and serious sexual offense. Its threat to society is defined by the exceptional importance of the object, to which, in this case, criminal trespass is directed – public relations, providing sexual inviolability and sexual freedom, which are part of the guaranteed rights and freedoms. It harms the society by physical, mental, and moral consequences for the victim of this crime. Danger of the rape is determined by the fact that it entails serious consequences, harmful effect on the psyche and health of the victim, negatively affects the offspring, often leads to divorce, promotes corruption, reduces the cultural level of society (James, 2007). This paper is aimed to make a thorough examination of the rape.
Rape is a sexual contact without the agreement of the victim, with the help of exertion of force, threat or fraud, while these means may be used alone or in combination. Thus, rape has three elements: 1) sexual intercourse; 2) coitus without the consent; 3) coercion. Sexual intercourse may have varying degrees of mastery of the victim – from full coitus to negligible penetration of the penis into a woman’s genitals, regardless of ejaculation. Disagreement is a vital part of rape unless the victim is not a child (under the legal age of consent), and it is not under the influence of drugs or toxic substances or incapacitated or mentally defective. Finally, the element of coercion or fear of serious physical harm, the threat with real or imaginary weapons, the threat or use of brute force, i.e. any use of intimidation to obtain acquiescence on the part of the victim must be present.
One can distinguish several socio-cultural factors significantly contributing to the occurrence of rape (James, 2007). First, it is deficiencies in moral and sexual education of the young generation. Spontaneous change in sexual morality led to the fact that the sexual integrity as a moral value occupied not the highest place in the list of other values. Permissiveness, increased prostitution, disrespectful attitude towards women, etc. – all this contributed to the growth of real rape. The absence of institutions of sexual behavior norms and low legal awareness also contributed to women’s insecurity growth. Sexual norms, based on the principles of “absolute sexual freedom” and, encouraged under the guise of “sexual revolution,” are increasingly accepted and cultivated in some, especially youth, groups. These rules are a deviation from the common ethics of sexual behavior and prepare the ground for committing rape. Criminogenic situational condition is the increased victimization of victims. It is associated mainly with the age characteristics of the victim or inconsiderate, thoughtless behavior.
In fact, the main cause of rape is the need for sadism (Miller, 2014). It is the desire to cause pain to another person that motivates a man; the satisfaction depends on the realization of this desire. Psychological examination of the men convicted for rape shows that they have some common features, such as (James, 2007)
- He scoffs at woman and does not pay attention to her opinion;
- He thinks that women are unequal, “underclass”;
- He is jealous for no reason;
- He drinks or takes drugs and wants women to make the same;
- He is seeking for the seclusion with a woman, or sexual intercourse;
- He cannot cope with grief without a tempest of anger;
- He likes guns, and he likes to mistreat animals, children; he can bully people.
Often, psychological trauma in the childhood, such as physical or even sexual abuse by the parents, is the cause of the future rapes.
Any woman or girl, regardless of the financial situation, social status, dress and behavior can become a victim of a rapist. Nevertheless, there exist classes of people who are more likely to experience violent behavior in their address. The science victimology explores such people; it is a branch of psychology, considering the behavior of the victim. Common feature of victimization of individuals (those who are victims more often than others) is a very delicate sense of their own value. Usually, it is people, personal and bodily boundaries of whom are violated since childhood. For example, parents could punish these children physically or often rudely enter into the inner world of the child. Disrespect of the child and the suppression by parental authority often lead to the fact that growing up, a child acquires the tendency to fall into trouble. However, even healthy people with an adequate self-esteem may underestimate the danger of the situation. Crime statistics indicates that the majority of rapes are committed by people from the familiar surroundings of the victim (Miller, 2014).
Prevention of the rape has much in common with the other prevention measures of violent crime, but it has certain specificity. The list of long-term measures related to the prevention of sexual assault, includes: 1) the spread of moral guidelines, cultivating respect for women; 2) creating conditions to improve youth recreation, monitoring of the adolescents neglect; 3) ensure the proper order in public places, where the most likely to commit sexual offenses; 4) ensure the principle of inevitability of punishment for committing sexual offenses; 5) prohibition of incitement to violence, pornography, “absolute” sexual freedom on the media; 6) control under persons in the “high risk” group. Sure, it is also significant to keep in mind that it is almost impossible to prevent an attack, but a woman should remember easy rules:
- Beware of unfamiliar people around her;
- Talk and walk confidently;
- Do not act like a victim;
- Always keep in mind a clear plan of what and how to do in case of an attack.