An Examination Of Rape Studies Essay Research

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An Examination Of Rape Studies Essay, Research Paper An examination of rape studies and the effect on the society and its legal system Oliver B. Johnson III University Of Pittsburgh Update Many of the sources credited in this paper use outdated crime reports. Without damaging the credibility of the various authors, included in the beginning of this paper is an update on all relevant crime statistics. The source of the updates come from the FBI s national crime reports and include up to 1998, the latest year reported. The data is broken up into two definitions: the first being Forcible Rape . Forcible rape as defined in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR). [Forcible Rape] is the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Assaults or attempts to commit

rape by force or threat of force are also included; however, statutory rape (without force) and other sex offenses are excluded. The second being sex offenses (except forcible rape and prostitution), all statistical updates are giving under one of those two definitions and never a combination of both. Other statistical updates, other then the number of known offenses, include number of cleared offenses. The definition of a cleared offense is: an offenses is cleared or solved when at least one person is arrested, charged with the commission of an offense, and turned over to the court for prosecution. Included are offenses committed in previous years where person is charged in the current year. It is likely that multiple persons can clear one crime or visa-verse multiple crimes

cleared by the arrest of one person. A crime can be cleared by other means then included above, but only if elements beyond law enforcement s control interfere with formal charges being placed. As written in section III of the Crime Index these include: the death of the offender, a victim s unwillingness to cooperate, only after offender as be identified, or the denial of extradition. The UCR is compiled from all law enforcement agencies around the US. In 1998 it was estimated that 93,103 forcible rapes happened nation wide, a decline of 3 percent from 1997 and 9 percent from 1994. Since the UCR only defines rape victims as females an update on male victims couldn t be found. It was worked out that 67 of every 100,000 females in the US were reported raped in 1998. To compare this

number to other years (fig2), the rate of rapes (per 100,000), of females, had decreased 4 percent from 1997. From 1994 to 1998 the rate of rape had decreased 13 percent. 89 percent of attempted rapes were successful. 50 percent of reported forcible rapes were cleared by Law Enforcement, third highest among violent crimes (fig2). The intentions of this essay is to examine the defining characteristics of a Rape myth, and father more, to look at what experts agree on as the major myths; dissenting and concurring opinions for classifying a common belief as a myth and the psychological evidence for these opinions. How could knowledge of a Rape myth affect the cognitive schema of an individual, and in turn, how could that affect the justice system. A look at the different between

expert opinion and the opinion of the lay people, which is the deciding characteristic of allowing expert testimony in court, and how we can combat these myths. Where are we today on the acceptance of Rape myths in the legal system? Last, a look at Rape Shield laws; are they, in fact, a combatant to Rape Myths? What are some of the reasons that having such laws could hurt the legal system? Studies looking at the effect of new rape laws can help us see the effects of Rape Shield laws. Before we look rape myths, or at the impact they have on the legal system, I will include a brief summarization of the three major theories of rape. It is very important for readers to have a grasp on the multiple theories of rape. Since the sexual myths are held by the lay person, and discredited by