Acquaintance Rape The Silent Epidemic By Anne
The problem of acquaintance rape has reached epidemic proportions nationwide
- particulary among college students. Most studies indicate that anywhere
between 60% and 80% of all reported rapes may be classified as acquaintance
rape. In one often sited study of 7,000 students at 35 colleges, 90% of
the women who stated they had been the victim of an acquaintance rape
did not report the incident.
As a result of these startling statistics, this booklet has been prepared
in an effort to provide students with information as to what constitutes
rape, what the male and female attitudes are on this subject and how this
particular type of rape can be avoided through better communication between
the sexes and preventive safety measures.
Although this booklet does not try to provide all of the answers to questions
which will arise on this subject, we hope it does serve as a starting
point to group discussion on this issue. We encourage our readers to utilize
the campus resources which are outlined at the end of the booklet for
further information. We also strongly encourage women students (and staff)
to participate in our Rape Aggression Defense
(RAD) self-defense classes. Further information and schedules are
available from the Campus Police Crime Prevention Unit (617-253-9755).
We wish to thank all of the academic and administrative staff, faculty
and other professionals who helped us by reviewing the early drafts of
this publication. We hope this final version is helpful to the student
Anne P. Glavin
Chief of Police
MIT Campus Police Department
The stereotypical image of the crime of rape is often that of a lone
victim walking a dark city street - suddenly she becomes the object of
attack by a crazed stranger who pulls her into a deserted alley and violently
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports,
there were 96.122 victims of rape in 1997 and yet rape is still considered
to be one of the most under-reported of all serious crimes.
Victimization by strangers has for some time been considered the most
common form of reported rape. However, in the last ten years alarming
statistics are being recorded for acquaintance rape or as it is sometimes
known, "date rape." With one rape occurring every 5 minutes in the United
States, law enforcement officers and rape crisis counselors are learning
that frequently the victim knows her assailant. In fact, some surveys
indicate that somewhere between 60% and 80% of all reported rapes may
be classified as acquaintance rape. The attacker may have been a college
classmate, an old family friend, a neighbor, a professional colleague,
or a date.
Since the majority of acquaintance rape victims are between the ages
of 15 and 24 (with an average age of 18), college students are particularly
vulnerable. The purpose of this booklet is to provide the reader with
a better understanding of what constitutes rape, what some male and female
attitudes are on the subject, and what practical measures can be taken
to prevent attacks. Since many experts believe the cause of acquaintance
rape has its roots in the socialization of men and women, there are no
rapid solutions. Through greater awareness of the scope of the problem
and through better communication between men and women about sexual beliefs
and expectations, this problem can be diminished.
- According to Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 265 Section 22, rape
is defined as follows:
- Having sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse with a person
and compelling such person to submit by force and against his will,
or compelling such person to submit by threat of bodily injury.
Under Massachusetts law, rape is considered a felony offense (a crime
punishable by death or imprisonment in a state prison). The elements (the
constituent parts of the crime which must be proved by the prosecution
to sustain a conviction) of the crime of rape are:
- Sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse.
- Against the will of the person.
- By force or threat of bodily injury.
WHAT IS ACQUAINTANCE RAPE?
The following comments, as reported in various recent periodicals, provide
some examples of acquaintance rape:
- "She met him two years ago at a fraternity party on a neighboring
campus. His dashing good looks, she recalls now, coupled with his shy
grin and friendly manner made him appear 'sweet but not macho.' They
talked and danced for hours, and later that evening, he took her in
his arms and they kissed. When he asked if she would like to get something
to eat, she agreed. But instead of heading toward a nearby restaurant,
he swerved onto a side street, pulled over to the curb and stopped the
car. Then he raped her."
- "It was the beginning of spring break when I was a junior. I was in
good spirits and had been out to dinner with an old friend. We returned
to his college (dorm). There were some seniors on the ground floor,
drinking beer, playing bridge. I'm an avid player, so we joined them,
joked around a lot. One of them, John, wasn't playing, but he was interested
in the game. I found him attractive. We talked, and it turned out we
had a mutual friend, shared experiences. It was getting late, and my
friend had gone up to bed, so John offered to see me safely home. We
took our time, sat outside talking for a while. Then he said we could
get inside one of the most beautiful campus buildings, which was usually
locked at night. I went with him. Once we were inside, he kissed me.
I didn't resist; I was excited. He kissed me again. But when he tried
for more, I said no. He just grew completely silent. I couldn't get
him to talk to me anymore. He pinned me down and ripped off my pants.
I couldn't believe it was happening to me..."
- "A woman goes to a fraternity party. She meets an attractive man.
They drink, dance and enjoy themselves. He suggests that the loud music
prohibits their being able to talk and suggests they go somewhere where
it is less noisy. When they go back to his room, she realizes she is
not safe and asks to leave. At that point, he locks the door, holds
her down, and rapes her."
- ...At around 11:15 p.m., Bob noticed Cathy K. arrive at the party.
She was reputed to be one of the "hottest" women on campus. She appeared
to already be somewhat "tipsy," and Bob began to entertain thoughts
of "picking up" on her.
Bob met Cathy and was quite generous in providing her with beer -
even though, on occasion, she politely refused to drink what was offered.
He insisted that she was fine and that she did not want to shun [his
fraternity's] hospitality. At around 2:00 a.m., the party was just
about over and Cathy was clearly inebriated. Bob asked her if she
wanted to visit his room to hear his new stereo. Not too certain what
she was doing, Cathy accepted the invitation and joined him on the
third floor. On their way upstairs, Bob and Cathy passed several of
the brothers who, guessing what Bob had in mind, winked as if to wish
Sensing that perhaps her interests might be aroused, Bob quickly
made advances and spent the remainder of the night in bed with Cathy.
Later the following morning, Cathy awoke with little memory of the
night before and was shocked and upset to find herself in bed with
Bob. With great embarrassment, she dressed and stole quietly from
the fraternity house. Bob was confused but remained unconcerned.
At 3:34 p.m. the following day, two...police officers visited the
...chapter house. They asked to see Bob and in front of several of
his bewildered brothers, delivered to him his Miranda warnings, and
arrested him - on a charge of rape."
In some of these case examples it is easier to recognize rape than in
others. For instance, in the third example the woman wishes to leave the
man's room but he locks his room door, holds her down and rapes her. This
is clearly forced sexual intercourse. In the last example, however, the
victimization of the woman is much more subtle. In fact, each case is
an example of rape and each victim suffers rape trauma.
Under Massachusetts law, intercourse is considered to be committed by
force and against a person's will if:
- the person is unconscious
- the person is asleep
- the person is drugged
- the person is intoxicated
- the person is mentally deranged or deficient so that she cannot agree
to the act.
Fear, shock, confusion, guilt, disbelief, degradation, loss of control,
are some of the common reactions of acquaintance rape victims. Many women,
so overcome with guilt, often don't realize that they have been raped.
Some victims are so preoccupied with blaming themselves for wanting to
be with their date that they view the entire episode as their fault. If
there were any romantic exchanges prior to the attack, such as innocent
hugging or kissing, the victim often felt that she went "too far" before
she said "No" and therefore caused the rape to ocur by pushing the man
to the edge of sexual frustration. What is sadly forgotten is that in
a relationship sexual activity must be mutually agreed upon: when a woman
says no to sexual advances, a normal man stops. He may be unhappy with
her "No" or may not see her again, but he does not use force to get what
The victim's feelings of guilt for "causing" a sexual act to occur point
out the paradox of the whole issue of rape. One of the oldest myths about
rape was that it was a sexual crime. Lust and passion were seen as key
elements when the male assailant, at the brink of sexual desire, attacked
a woman in order to "relieve" himself. What was unfortunately overlooked
by this old viewpoint was the violence of the act. The long process of
realigning this traditional thinking was begun by the women's movement
and eventually culminated in sweeping changes which focused on the violence
of the act rather than on the sexual nature. In Massachusetts, the rewriting
of the rape statute of 1974 to include both men and women as potential
victims of rape effected other changes which dealt with the treatment
of victims by the police, the courts and hospitals.
Today, rape is properly viewed first and foremost as a crime of violence.
Men who rape are seen not merely as rambunctious fellows, but as people
who are violently out of control and for whom force is sometimes the only
way to get what they want. Nicholas Groth, a clinical psychologist and
former co-director of the Sex Offender Program at Somers State Prison
in Connecticut, has said, "Rape is the sexual expression of aggression
rather than the aggressive expression of sexuality."
Victims of acquaintance rape are more reluctant to press charges against
their attackers than victims of stranger rape and thus, the actual number
of acquaintance rape victims is considerably higher than is currently
recorded. There are many reasons for the victim's reluctance: fear that
her story will not be believed, confusion that she might be responsible
- that somehow she led her assailant on, concern that because she knew
her attacker (and often arranged the date) family and friends will suspect
that the victim did something to "ask for it" and fears that if the assailant
is prosecuted, the victim's life will be destroyed emotionally by the
Rape crisis trauma affects all victims of rape emotionally and physically.
But one of the most severe blows for the victim of acquaintance rape is
the destruction of her sense of trust and judgement in friendship. Ann
Wolbert Burgess, R.N., D.N.Sc. and Lynda Lytle Holmstrom in their book,
Rape Crisis and Recovery, have noted:
- "The assailant uses his relationship with the victim to justify his
being in the situation. He then deceives the person by not honoring
the bounds of the relationship."
Obviously the effect of this kind of rape trauma can jeopardize the ease
with which a rape victim develops future relationships. Some women recover
from the physical and emotional trauma of rape faster than others. Some
women find it hard to have sexual relations after they have been a victim
of rape. They are frightened of being "hurt again" and associate intercourse
with the rape. Due to this fear they find that development of a relationship
which can include tenderness, caring and intimacy may take a great deal
MALE ATTITUDES ABOUT RAPE
Many social analysts regard rape, especially acquaintance rape, as a
problem which directly relates to socialization and the way in which men
regard women. In his book Men On Rape, author Timothy Beneke
discusses male attitudes toward rape with a variety of men he interviewed.
The following are quotations taken from his interviews as published in
Men On Rape:
- "I used a little bit of force once where I overpowered a woman. She
didn't mind it after it was over. If she'd started crying or something
I would've stopped. A lot of it depends upon the situation. If you're
with a girl and you're drunk and she's teasing you and leading you on
and on and at the very end she says, 'No!' - well, if a guy's real drunk,
he's gonna' lose control and go after her..."
- "...Operating in me was a belief that I was different from other men,
that I wouldn't be involved in such things as rape, certainly not; but
I shared at the same time the fundamental male feeling, with regard
to Judy, for example, that even if she said no, she'd never mean no
and that she could be talked out of it. I felt that way about a number
of women I related to. I thought of it as persuasion, clarifying of
- "...The whole dating game between men and women also makes me feel
degraded. I hate being put in the position of having to initiate a relationship.
I've been taught that if you're not aggressive with a woman, then you've
blown it. She's not going to jump on you, so you've got to jump on her.
I've heard all kinds of stories where the woman says, 'No! No! No!'
and they end up making great love. I get confused as hell if a woman
pushes me away. Does it mean she's trying to be a nice girl and wants
to put up a good appearance, or does it mean she doesn't want anything
to do with you? You don't know. Probably a lot of men think that women
don't feel like real women unless a man tries to force himself on her,
unless she brings out the 'real man' so to speak, and probably too much
of it goes on. It goes on in my head that you're complimenting a woman
by actually staring at her or by trying to get into her pants. Lately,
I'm realizing that when I stare at women lustfully, they often feel
more threatened than flattered."
- "...I feel that too much is expected of me because I'm a man. It's
like being pulled in two directions. You're torn between the precepts
you as a man were raised with, that you're supposed to be dominant and
a provider and be very deferential and respectful to women..."
- "...When you see a girl walking around wearing real skimpy clothes,
she's offending you and I guess rape would be a way of getting even.
If I'm on a date and a girl's dressing sexy and acting sexy, why doesn't
she want to have sex? The whole time you figure she's going to say yes
because she's teasing you and all of a sudden she switches because she's
going to save it for marriage or something. That's not right. She shouldn't
have led you on in the first place..."
When men believe that "No" does not mean no, that they are supposed to
be aggressive, that they can lose control if they are led on, that women
often "ask for it" and that they are confused by conflicting cultural
messages, it is not surprising that they are shocked if they are accused
of acquaintance rape. The feeling that aggressive behavior is normal is
one that some men fool themselves into believing.
In cases of formal rape charges, the attacker rarely disputes whether
or not intercourse took place but rather the issue focuses on whether
or not the woman gave her consent and shifts away from the actual act
of violence. With the attacker claiming innocence, it now becomes a case
of his word against hers - particularly if the victim has no cuts or bruises
or other visible signs to attest to her victimization.
Whether or not we realize it, our society subtly breeds a social environment
conducive to rape. Consider some traditional beliefs that men and women
have been taught:
|MEN ARE TAUGHT
||WOMEN ARE TAUGHT
|*They are the stronger sex.
||*They are weak.
|*Aggressiveness is OK.
||*To be passive.
|*To be tough.
||*Strength is unfeminine.
||*Nice girls don't get raped.
|*That women want to be dominated.
||*Don't assert their own choices.
|*They have uncontrollable sexual urges.
||*They shouldn't acknowledge their own sexuality.
|*Sex is not something you discuss ahead of time - just do it.
Coupled with such traditional beliefs is the added problem of media bombardment.
Many experts especially blame pornography. Susan Brownmiller, author of
Against Our Will: Men and Women and Rape, has said:
- "Pornography, like rape, is a male invention, designed to dehumanize
women, to reduce the female to an object of sexual access...Pornography
is the undiluted essence of anti-female propaganda..."
Although there are certainly counter-arguments, many law enforcement
authorities would agree that there is often a correlation between pornography
and offenders who are motivated toward sex crimes.
Fortunately public awareness to rape, pornography and subtle forms of
sexual harassment is increasing. Women's groups have produced films, dramas,
and marches designed to "Take Back the Night" which have all provided
effective learning materials in raising awareness of rape. As a result,
sensitive media treatment is improving. One of the best defenses, however,
is better communication and sensitivity between men and women.
The importance of communication cannot be overstated. The date rapist
sizes up the situation before making his moves - he may take advantage
of an opportunity but usually he creates an opportunity. Women need to
recognize the difference between normal evolving sexual encounters between
consenting individuals and "danger signals" from potential acquaintance
- Is he "looking you over" - frequently staring or looking at you at
inappropriate times and in a way that makes you nervous?
- Is he being "playful" - tousling your hair, touching or patting you?
Although this can be normal behavior between two people who are comfortable
with each other after a period of time, it is not acceptable behavior
for many on a first date.
- Is his conversation sexual in nature (i.e. telling sex jokes, frequently
bringing up the subject of sex)?
- Is he trying to maneuver you into situations where you will be alone
together (i.e. his apartment, frat or dorm room) under his control?
If you as a woman are aware of such signals, it is necessary to communicate
your feelings in an assertive manner. Set clear limits on sexual behavior.
If he touches you, move away. If he stares, show your annoyance. Change
the subject if the conversation becomes sexual in nature or simply leave
the room. If you are invited somewhere alone with your new date, refuse
- stay where there are other people.
The key points about acquaintance rape and its danger signals are being
in control of your own senses, assertiveness and communication. Don't
be afraid to say no - even without explanation.
The following suggestions and strategies are helpful in lowering your
chances of acquaintance rape victimization:
- When you feel uncomfortable in a situation or you are fearful, trust
- When you mean "No," say "No." Don't allow room for misinterpretation
by being ambiguous in your actions. Be firm. Your intentions and limitations
should be communicated early.
- Don't immediately transfer your trust from an old friend to a new
one - remember trust should be earned.
- Control the environment - you should be the one to choose the dating
activity and location.
- Be alert to diminished awareness caused by alcohol and drugs. When
you lose control due to impaired judgement, you give the advantage to
- Don't allow others to violate your personal space.
- Be conscious of "signals" you send with your posture, gestures, eye
contact and clothing. Remember that these are nonverbal means of sending
messages about sexuality. You certainly have a right to dress and act
the way you wish, but be aware that unintentional messgaes often contribute
to sexual assault. If your words and conduct are inconsistent with your
desires, you are leaving yourself open to misinterpretation.
- Remember that sayings such as "anger is unfeminine" and "being passive
is feminine" are stereotypes. These attitudes sometimes prevent women
from necessary and effective self expression. For instance, if you are
being pressured into sexual activity, don't be passive and submit because
you feel it would be inappropriate to refuse. Get angry if you have
to and speak out when male behavior is unacceptable to you.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF...?
At the moment of confrontation, no "expert" will be there to answer the
victim's question. A specific maneuver that may work well for one victim
will not necessarily work for another. The major reason for this is that
there is no one classification for the rapist. His physical features and
psychological make-up cannot be stereotyped. His characteristics are as
varied as those of his victim.
Generally, alternatives for resistance to rape are divided into two categories:
passive resistance and aggressive resistance. In cases of stranger rape,
there is a great emphasis on passive resistance as an initial response.
The goal of passive resistance is to think and talk your way out of a
situation. Your own instinct and ingenuity will be your guide. If this
method fails, you will probably not have increased the risk of physical
harm to you. This is based on the premise that the attacker may be armed
- that he is acting out of feelings of rage and hostility - if the victim
reacts violently, it may only serve to increase the violence and brutality
of the assault.
Interestingly, statistics on acquaintance rape are indicating that aggressive
resistance is often a more successful approach. If the attacker is unarmed
and has no accomplice, some studies indicate that screaming (or otherwise
making a scene and calling attention to your situation) and fighting back
deter rape. Key factors in this response are speed and decisiveness of
the victim's response.
Aggressive tactics are designed to frighten off an assailant. Such resistance
may include karate or judo techniques as well as the simple street fighting
tactics of scratching, biting or kicking. The victim's choice of tactics
will depend on her physical capabilities or limitations and on how she
views her attacker. The victim is the only person who can gauge the situational
factors and sense the attacker's level of violence. Given this, the victim's
response will be selected instinctively rather than methodically.
If you decide to attack your assailant, you want to strike a vulnerable
area of the body and make your attack count. You can't fight half-heartedly.
This requires choosing the moment of attack carefully - preferably when
your assailant drops his guard for a moment. Since most men are larger
and physically stronger than women, the chances of a woman overpowering
the man are small. Undirected hitting or flailing at your assailant is
not an effective response. Instead, a woman needs to know vulnerable areas
of the body and strike at the weak points. Your weapon could be a set
of keys, any hard object or your own personal weapons (i.e. your fist,
elbow, etc.). The following chart covers personal weapons.
These are the parts of the body which can be used for self-defense and
couterattack. Developing skill in the use of your personal weapons should
enable you to successfully defend yourself when attacked.
- The Head - The front back of the head are quite substantial and can
be used for butting.
- The Hand - When using the hand as a weapon, the wrist should be held
straight for all blows except the "heel-of-hand" blow. In addition to
regular "closed-fist" blows, you can also strike with the "edge-of-hand"
and the "edge-of-fist." These two blows are most effective when delivered
with a chopping motion from across the body (from the inside to the
outside) with the palm down, or downward with the palm facing in. Blows
delivered from across the body permit the use of the large trunk muscles.
When used correctly, these muscles add considerable speed and force
to the blow. The "heel-of-hand" blow is delivered upward when you are
close to your attacker. The fingers must be flexed slightly and held
rigid for the "finger-jab." The "extended-knuckles" blow requires the
thumb to be held firmly against the index finger, thereby helping to
"firm-up" the hand.
- The Elbow - When used as a weapon, the elbow should be fully flexed
(see diagram). The most effective blow is delivered toward the rear.
This is probably the most powerful blow the average person can deliver.
- The Knee - "Knee-lifts" to the face and groin can be very effective
when executed properly. The knee should be flexed fully by pulling the
foot back as close to the buttocks as possible, as the knee is raised.
The "knee-lift" and all other kicks must be executed quickly, followed
by an immediate return to a strong, balanced position.
- The Foot - The toe of the foot is used in kicking forward; the edge,
ball and heel are used sideward. The ball and heel are used in kicking
backward, and the heel is used in stamping. To execute a kick properly,
you must first flex the hop. This is accomplished by raising the knee
until the thigh is parallel to the floor. The lower leg is then "snapped"
or "thrust" out to complete the kick. A short, snappy kick using the
forward foot is extremely effective when directed against the opponent's
shin, knee, or groin.
The human body has a great many vulnerable areas. Blows, kicks, or pressure
directed at or applied to these areas may cause pain, disablement, unconsciousness,
and even death. The most vulnerable areas of the body are located on or
near the "midline," the imaginary line that bisects the body. Blows delivered
to this "midline" area, either front or back, generally have a much greater
effect than blows which are delivered elsewhere.
Knowing where to strike blows and where to apply pressure is just as
important as knowing how to strike the blows and how to apply the pressure.
As a rule, the untrained person will direct his blows to his opponent's
head or face. This is the exact place most people expect to get hit and,
as a result, this is the area they intend to protect. In protecting the
head and face, most individuals forget about protecting the large areas
of the trunk. The trunk contains a great many vulnerable areas and it
is much more difficult to protect than the head and face. This is due
largely to the fact that it is a much bigger area and hence easier to
hit, and also because it is very difficult to avoid blows aimed at the
trunk without moving the feet. Blows aimed at the head and/or face can
be avoided rather easily by ducking the head, and this action does not
require moving the feet.
As a general rule, a couterattack should not be directed to the opponent's
head and face, but to the "midline" area of the trunk, such as the liver,
solar plexus, pit of stomach, floating ribs, the soft tissue area of the
abdomen, or the groin.
Developing your skills in the use of personal weapons helps build confidence
and success in defending yourself when attacked. Like any other skill,
practice makes perfect. The first step is a good introductory course in
basic self-defense. The MIT Campus Police Department has a specialized
course for women only called Rape Aggression Defense (RAD). It stresses
awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance while progressing
on to the basics of hands-on defense training. Call x3-9755 or x3-3093
for class schedules.
CAMPUS RESOURCES - WHERE TO TURN IF IT HAPPENS
An often-cited study of acquaintance rape, funded by a grant from the
National Center for the Prevention and Control of Rape under the direction
of Kent State University psychologist Mary P. Koss, surveyed more than
7,000 students at 35 schools. Among
the most alarming results of this study:
- 52% of all women surveyed experienced some form of sexual victimization.
- 1 in every 8 women were victims of rape, according to legal definition.
- More than 1/3 of the women raped did not discuss the experience with
anyone;more than 90% did not tell the police.
- Of the women who were raped, almost three quarters did not identify
their experience as rape.
- 47% of the rapes were by first or casual dates or romantic acquaintances.
- One in every 12 men admitted to having fulfilled the prevailing definition
of rape or attempted rape, yet virtually none of those men identified
themselves as rapists.
Discussing rape, sexual assault or sexual harassment is difficult for
anyone, but it is better to talk to someone and seek advice and support
rather than silently accept what has happened.
It is particularly difficult to accuse a friend or acquaintance of a
sexual assault. It is harder still if you confide in other friends and
are told you misinterpreted your assailant's actions or that you caused
the action. Sometimes you need to make use of an impartial, confidential
Institute resource to act as a sounding board to help you sort out the
confusion which frequently accompanies this type of victimization. The
Institute has an excellent framework for dealing with sensitive issues
such as this. The following resources are available to help you, provide
you with options for dealing with your problem and support you in your
CAMPUS POLICE (In emergency dial "100" or 253-1212)
Because rape is a serious offense, people often think of turning to the
police for help. The MIT Campus Police have specially trained officers
who can help you with a rape complaint. The officer's immediate concern
will be your emotional and physical well-being. If you require emergency
medical assistance, you will be taken to the nearest medical facility
for support. If you are sure you wish to take your complaint before a
court of law, there are structured steps which the police will follow
in the investigation (also see "What Happens If You Go To Court" later
in this booklet). If you are not sure, you may just want to discuss the
situation and your options. The Campus Police can provide you with advice
in a strictly confidential manner without your feeling obligated to go
to court. Alternative means of presenting your complaint (i.e., Committee
on Discipline, Dean's Office hearing, etc.) will also be discussed with
the ultimate choice left up to you.
Specially trained officers, most of them women, are available 24 hours
a day for all complaints of rape, sexual assault or harassment. They can
provide you with informal advice in a confidential manner or guide you
with a formal complaint. Contact the Sensitive Crimes Unit at x3-6875
for further information.
REPORTING AN INCIDENT
It is important to report an attempted or completed attack or suspicious
activity you have experienced or witnessed. This is of crucial importance
in helping the police find the assailant and protect you and the MIT community.
The Campus Police Department is available to assist students and staff
24 hours a day. The Department has experienced, trained and sensitive
female and male officers specializing in dealing with issues such as sexual
assault and rape. If a victim does not want to press charges against an
assailant, she/he has two other options available for reporting the attack:
- The victim can make a report to the police. An officer will take the
victim's statement and the process can end there. In this case, the
police will not further investigate and attempt to apprehend the assailant.
- An "anonymous report" can be filed with the police. This would involve
having you or another person (a third party) make a report of all the
details of the assault to the police. The victim remains anonymous.
It is important to note that no judicial action can be taken against
the rapist in an anonymous report; this information is used for police
purposes only. Anonymous report forms are available from Campus Police
Crime Prevention or Sensitive Crimes Units.
Rapists are frequently repeat offenders and capturing them and having
them brought to justice is important. This is true for both the date/acquaintance
rapist and the stranger rapist.
SPECIAL ASSISTANTS TO THE PRESIDENT
Mary Rowe (10-213, x3-5921)Thomas Z. Gambo (10-213, x3-5921) and Toni
Robinson (26-149, x3-5921) are available to you as resource people who
will provide confidential advice on a wide range of complaints and issues
of harassment at the Institute.
OFFICE OF THE DEAN OF STUDENTS AND UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION (x3-4051)
The Dean's Office is, of course, a primary resource for all problems
concerning students. In particular, the staff in Student Assistance Services
(x3-4861) provides personal, confidential counseling services. If the
counselor feels it would be helpful to involve other people in dealing
with the problem, and the person requesting help agrees, the Dean's Office
works closely with Campus Police, the Medical Department, Special Assistants,
Faculty Residents and others in the support framework to assist with your
Members of the Dean's Office can also arrange MIT disciplinary hearings
at the Faculty Committee on Discipline level, or the Dean's Office level.
MEDICAL DEPARTMENT - MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
The Medical Department has staff who are specially trained in counseling
victims of rape and sexual assault and in dealing with rape crisis trauma
or if you simply need someone to talk with and sort out your feelings
- they are there to listen (x3-2916 or dial x3-1311 in an emergency).
FACULTY AND GRADUATE STUDENTS IN RESIDENCE
Housemasters are members of the MIT faculty who make their home in one
of the campus houses and who, with their families, share in the life of
the living group. They, along with graduate residents/tutors, are responsible
for counseling individuals, working with groups of students and in many
other ways being a helpful resource. In times of crisis they can be relied
upon for advice.
NIGHTLINE (x3-8800)/ONE TO ONE LINE (x3-6460)
Nightline is a student-run, peer help service operating every night from
7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Nightline is both a counseling and an information service.
Whether you need advice or just someone to talk to, give them a call.
All phone calls to Nightline are confidential.
Nightline is staffed exclusively by MIT students; each night there is
at least one female and one male staffer on duty. They are volunteers
and not professionals. Thus, Nightline is not a substitute for other counseling
services on campus, but rather a supplementary service for students who
may need someone to talk with when these other resources are inaccessible
One to One is an anonymous, peer listening and information hot line.
It addresses issues of sex, sexuality, healthy relationships and sexual
Rape Crisis Center (492-RAPE). Twenty-four-hour hot line; transportation;
FREE medical, legal and psychological information; a place to stay. Also
discussion groups and self-defense.
Beth Israel Hospital - Rape Crisis Intervention Program (735-3337). Complete
medical and counseling services for victims and their families including
follow-up crisis counseling and referral, individual and group counseling
Brigham & Women's Hospital - Rape Crisis Intervention (732-5636). Complete
medical and counseling services.
RAPE COMPLAINTS: WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU GO TO COURT
Massachusetts law states that rape is "sexual intercourse or unnatural
sexual intercourse with a person and compelling such person to submit
by force and against his will, or compelling such person to submit by
threat of bodily injury." In general, Massachusetts courts have held:
Intercourse is considered to be committed by force and against a person's
- the person is unconscious
- the person is asleep
- the person is drugged
- the person is intoxicated
- the person is mentally deranged or deficient so that he/she cannot
agree to the act.
- Penetration is the prime condition of the act (rape) - the male need
not experience an emission.
- Legally, unnatural sexual intercourse is oral or anal intercourse.
- There can be rape between husband and wife under certain circumstances.
For rape to be proved in court, the prosecutor must prove that sexual
intercourse was forced upon a person or was committed by threat of bodily
injury. Therefore, you must describe to the police and to the court in
detail the actions of the rapist. You will be questioned about your behavior
and intentions prior to and during the attack.
THE COURT PROCEDURE
If the police have arrested a suspect and you identify him/her and decide
to go to court, the procedure will be as follows:
- Generally in a rape case, the suspect will enter the Criminal Justice
system in the following manner: the police will go the the District
Attorney and review the facts and evidence. In most circumstances a
probable cause hearing will be scheduled befor a clerk magistrate. The
suspect will be summonsed to this hearing where both the suspect and
victim will present thier rendition of the facts.
- The probable cause hearing with you and defendant present in the district
court is an adversary process in which the defendant is represented
by counsel and has a right to cross examine and present witnesses. The
police and district attorney, who represent you (you may also have your
own lawyer if you wish) have the burden to show that the defendant probably
committed the crime. The magistrate finds either no probable cause or
finds probable cause. If no probable cause is found, the case is dismissed.
If probable cause is found in district court, the defendant is "bound
over" for the Grand Jury.
- The Grand Jury consists of a group of 23 citizens who sit in a secret
proceeding to determine whether or not enough evidence exists to formally
accuse the defendant of a crime. You are called upon to testify. The
defendant is not present and he/she cannot call or cross examine witnesses.
If the Grand Jury does not find probable cause, the case is dismissed.
Otherwise the defendant is indicted. Indictment means another formal
complaint is issued and arraignment is begun in superior court.
- At some time during the criminal process the defense attorney may
find out where you live and he himself or one of his private investigators
may seek an interview with you. You have the right to decide if you
want to speak with him. If you do not want to speak with him and he
- The Assistant District Attorney will interview you to prepare you
- The trial itself is an adversary proceeding in which a judge, sitting
with or without a jury, determines the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
If the defendant is found guilty, the judge then imposes a sentence
on them. Punishment varies from any term of years to life in prison.
- You should know that Middlesex County (which covers the city of Cambridge)
has a Victim Witness Service Bureau which assigns staff people to cases
such as rape. This bureau attempts to minimize the confusion and trauma
suffered by victims of crimes. Some of the services provided by this
- Information regarding the status of defendants.
- Explanation of and orientation to the criminal justice system.
- Crisis intervention counseling.
- Counseling, reassurance and support following the crime.
- Community resource and referral counseling.
- Restitution information.
- Property return assistance.
- Help with employer related problems.
- Aid in filing compensation claims.
As was stated in the introduction to this booklet, there are no rapid
solutions to the root causes of acquaintance rape. Sexual activity is
not new. However, greater awareness by women as to their rights and options
in dating and social situations is causing new concerns for men and questions
for both men and women for which there are no easy answers.
What is clear is that both sexes need to communicate more effectively
in expressing what is acceptable or unacceptable in terms of social behavior.
Women need to be honest, open and assertive in conveying their wishes
and be sure that their conduct is consistent with those wishes. Men need
to listen and respect women and assume that "No" means no and that a woman
is not always deliberately manipulative.
Society changes very slowly but the key to change is awareness and understanding.
We hope this booklet contributes to those two concepts.
- Uniform Crime Reports For The United States 1994,
Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- "A New Recognition of the Realities of 'Date Rape,'"
New York Times, October 23, 1985, p. C1.
- "Date Rape The Story of an Epidemic and Those Who
Deny It," Ms./Campus Times, October 1985, p. 56.
- Taken from Wellesley College Acquaintance Rape Program
handout - used by permission of Joyce Rakowski, Head of House, McAfee
Hall, Wellesley College.
- "When Is It Rape?" The Fraternity Newsletter,
- Date Rape Dirty Little Social Secret," Women's
Day, November 5, 1985, p. 89.
- Ann Wolbert Burgess, R.N., D.N.Sc. and Lynda Lytle
Holmstrom, Ph.D., Rape Crisis and Recovery, Bowie, Maryland,
- Timothy Beneke, Men On Rape, New York,
- Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will, New
York, New York, p. 443.
- Ms./Campus Times, "Date Rape The Story
of an Epidemic and Those Who Deny It," p. 58.
OTHER PUBLICATIONS ABOUT RAPE/SEXUAL ASSAULT AVAILABLE
FROM THE MIT CAMPUS POLICE
- What To Do If You Are Raped (wallet size card)
- Harassing Phone Call Log
Contact the Crime Prevention Unit of the Campus Police for information on
Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes (253-9755).
INSTITUTE POLICY ON HARASSMENT
Harassment of any kind is unacceptable at MIT and is in conflict with
the policies and interests of the Institute and, in some circumstances,
with civil laws.
Harassment is defined as verbal or physical conduct which has the intent
or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's or group's
educational and/or work performance at MIT, or creating an intimidating,
hostile, or offensive educational and work environment on or off campus.
Harassment on the basis of race, color, gender, disability, religion,
national origin, sexual orientation or age includes harassment of an individual
in terms of a stereotyped group characteristic, or because of that person's
identification with a particular group. With reference to sexual harassment,
the definition also includes unwelcomed sexual advances and requests for
sexual favors which might be perceived as explicitly or implicitly affecting
educational or employment decisions concerning an individual.
Any member of the MIT community who believes that he or she has been
harassed is encouraged to raise the issue, or lodge a complaint, in accordance
with the established complaint procedures of MIT.
From MIT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Domestic violence is a national problem which also occurs on college
campuses. Domestic violence refers to family or household situations
where one person threatens, shoves, hits, slaps, punches, kicks,
burns, forces sex with or otherwise abuses another person. If you
are experiencing a relationship problem of this type, contact the
Campus Police (x3-9755) to find out what you can do to keep yourself
safe and stop a partner from abusing you.
To comment, please consult the email directory.