Rape and Resistance

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Rape and Resistance

Category: Crime, Defensive Gun Use, Women|Journal: Social Problems (full text)|Author: G Kleck, S Sayles|Year: 1990

What are the consequences when rape victims resist rapists? Analysis of a nationally representative sample of rape incidents reported in the National Crime Surveys for 1979 to 1985 yields the following findings: (1) Victims who resist are much less likely to have the rape completed against them than nonresisting victims, a pattern generally apparent regardless of the specific form of resistance; (2) The form of resistance that appears most effective in preventing rape completion is resistance with a gun, knife, or other weapon; (3) Most forms of resistance are not significantly associated with higher rates of victim injury. The exceptions are unarmed forceful resistance and threatening or arguing with the rapist; (4) Even these two forms of resistance probably do not generally provoke rapists to injure their victims, as ancillary evidence concerning assaults and robberies indicates that resistance rarely precedes injury. Attack against the victim appears to provoke victim resistance, rather than the reverse; (5) Only about three percent of rape incidents involve some additional injury that could be described as serious. Thus it is the rape itself that is nearly always the most serious injury the victim suffers. Consequently, refraining from resistance in order to avoid injury in addition to the rape is a questionable tradeoff.

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