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International Alliance for Advanced Judicial Studies (IAAJS)

Rape

 

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.

Rape is defined in most jurisdictions as sexual intercourse, or other forms of sexual penetration, committed by a perpetrator against a victim without their consent. The definition of rape is inconsistent between governmental health organizations, law enforcement, health providers, and legal professions. It has varied historically and culturally. Originally, rape had no sexual connotation and is still used in other contexts in English. In Roman law, it or raptus was classified as a form of crimen vis, "crime of assault". Raptus described the abduction of a woman against the will of the man under whose authority she lived, and sexual intercourse was not a necessary element. Other definitions of rape have changed over time.

Some countries or jurisdictions differentiate between rape and sexual assault by defining rape as involving penile penetration of the vagina, or solely penetration involving the penis, while other types of non-consensual sexual activity are called sexual assault. Scotland, for example, emphasizes penile penetration, requiring that the sexual assault must have been committed by use of a penis to qualify as rape. The 1998 International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda defines rape as "a physical invasion of a sexual nature committed on a person under circumstances which are coercive". In other cases, the term rape has been phased out of legal use in favor of terms such as sexual assault or criminal sexual conduct.

Sexual aggression is often considered a masculine identity characteristic of manhood in some male groups and is significantly correlated to the desire to be held higher in esteem among male peers. Sexually aggressive behavior among young men has been correlated with gang or group membership as well as having other delinquent peers.

Frequently, victims may not recognize what happened to them was rape. Some may remain in denial for years afterwards. Confusion over whether or not their experience constitutes rape is typical, especially for victims of psychologically coerced rape. Women may not identify their victimization as rape for many reasons such as feelings of shame, embarrassment, non-uniform legal definitions, reluctance to define the friend/partner as a rapist, or because they have internalized victim-blaming attitudes. The public perceives these behaviors as 'counterintuitive' and therefore, as evidence of a dishonest woman.

a condom significantly reduces the likelihood of pregnancy and disease transmission, both to the victim and to the rapist. Rationales for condom use include: avoiding contracting infections or diseases (particularly HIV), especially in cases of rape of sex workers or in gang rape (to avoid contracting infections or diseases from fellow rapists); eliminating evidence, making prosecution more difficult (and giving a sense of invulnerability); giving the appearance of consent (in cases of acquaintance rape); and thrill from planning and the use of the condom as an added prop. Concern for the victim is generally not considered a factor.

In many cultures, those who are raped have a high risk of suffering additional violence or threats of violence after the rape. This can be perpetrated by the rapist, friends, or relatives of the rapist. The intent can be to prevent the victim from reporting the rape. Other reasons for threats against the those assaulted is to punish them for reporting it, or of forcing them to withdraw the complaint. The relatives of the person who has been raped may wish to prevent "bringing shame" to the family and may also threaten them. This is especially the case in cultures where female virginity is highly valued and considered mandatory before marriage; in extreme cases, rape victims are killed in honor killings.

Victims have the right to refuse any evidence collection. Victims advocates ensure the victims' wishes are respected by hospital staff. After the physical injuries are addressed and treatment has begun, then forensic examination proceeds along with the gathering of evidence that can be used to identify and document the injuries. Such evidence-gathering is only done with the complete consent of the patient or the caregivers of the patient. Photographs of the injuries may be requested by staff. At this point in the treatment, if a victims' advocate had not been requested earlier, experienced social support staff are made available to the patient and family.

Some physical effects of the rape are not immediately apparent. Follow up examinations also assess the patient for tension headaches, fatigue, sleep pattern disturbances, gastrointestinal irritability, chronic pelvic pain, menstrual pain or irregularity, pelvic inflammatory disease, multiple yeast infections, sexual dysfunction, premenstrual distress, fibromyalgia, vaginal discharge, vaginal itching, burning during urination, and generalized vaginal pain.

 
 

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