The United States has the highest rate of reported rapes in the world. In 1990, women in the United States were 8 times more likely to report being raped than were European women, 26 times more likely than Japanese, and 46 times more likely than Greek women (Mann, 1991). However, the incidence of rape varies depending on how each culture defines rape; one culture might accept sexual behavior that is considered rape in another culture.

Throughout history rape has been accepted as a punishment in some cultures. Among the Cheyenne Indians, a husband who suspected his wife of infidelity could put her “out to field,” where other men were encouraged to rape her (Hoebel, 1954). In the Marshall Islands of the Pacific Ocean, women were seen as the property of the males, and any male could force sexual intercourse upon them (Sanday, 1981). In Kenya, the Gusii people view intercourse as an act in which males overpower their fe­male partners and cause them considerable pain. In fact, if she has difficulty walking the next morning, the man is seen as a “real man” and will boast of his ability to make his partner cry (Bart & O’Brien, 1985). In 2002, an 11-year-old Pakistani boy was found guilty of walking unchaperoned with a girl from a different tribe. His punish­ment involved the gang raping of his 18-year-old sister, which was done to shame his family. The gang rape took place in a mud hut while hundreds of people stood by and laughed and cheered (Tanveer, 2002).

Rape has also been used for initiation purposes. In East Africa, the Kikuyu used to have an initiation ritual in which a young boy was expected to rape to prove his man­hood (Broude & Greene, 1976). Until he did this, he could not engage in sexual inter­course or marry a woman. In Australia, among the Arunta, rape serves as an initiation rite for girls. After the ceremonial rape, she is given to her husband, and no one else has access to her (Broude & Greene, 1976).

Child rape is also common in some places around the globe. In Chapter 15 we dis­cussed the South African myth about curing AIDS through sex with a virgin child (Posel, 2005). It is estimated that sexual violence against children, including infant rape, has increased 400% over the past decade in South Africa (Dempster, 2002). Some stud­ies have found that 1 million women and children are raped in South Africa each year (Meier, 2002).

There are many cultural beliefs and societal issues that are responsible for the high rape rates in South Africa, including the fact that South African women have a difficult time saying no to sex; many men believe they are entitled to sex and believe that women enjoy being raped (Meier, 2002). South Africa has the highest reported rape rates in the

Rapex, a new antirape condom that will cost 20 cents, is worn by women. The South African inven­tor, shown here, hopes that women in South Africa will insert the device as a part of their daily security routine. During a rape, metal barbs in the condom will hook onto the skin of the penis and immedi­ately disable a man, allowing the woman to get away. The barbs must be surgically removed, so a rapist will need to seek medical attention, enabling the police to identify him.

Rape in Different CulturesRape in Different CulturesПодпись: Japanese American women report rape significantly less often to police than women of European American decent (Maciejewski, 2002).Подпись:world (and probably a higher unreported rape rate), and experts have been looking for ways to help deter men from committing rape (Dixon, 2005). Because of this, in 2005, an antirape female condom was unveiled in South Africa (Dixon, 2005; see photo above). This device is controversial: some believe that it puts the responsibility for the problem on the shoulders of South African women, whereas others believe that the de­vice may help lessen the climbing rape rates in South Africa.

In Asian cultures there are often more conservative attitudes about sex; because of this, there is often more tolerance for rape myths (M. A. Kennedy & Gorzalka, 2002). Research by Sanday (1981) indicates that the primary cultural factors that affect the in­cidence of rape in a society include relations between the sexes, the status of women, and male attitudes in the society. Societies that promote male violence have higher in­cidences of rape because men are socialized to be aggressive, dominating, and to use force to get what they want.

‘і’" rape on Campus

A study done in 2000 looked at sexual coercion on college campuses across the United States and found that 2% of women reported they had been raped, whereas 1% reported they were victims of an attempted rape—meaning that 35 women are raped or experi­ence an attempted rape for every 1,000 college students each year (B. S. Fisher et al.,

2000) . As we discussed earlier, the majority of these women knew the person who sexu­ally victimized them; the majority were ex-boyfriends, classmates, friends, and/or coworkers (B. S. Fisher et al., 2000).

In Chapter 7 we discussed stalking in intimate relationships. Some women report being stalked on campus, either physically, or through notes and e-mails (see Figure 17.3). Overall, a total of 8% to 16% of women and 2% to 7% of men report being stalked at some point in their lives (Dennison & Thomson, 2005). What’s interesting is that college-aged men and women often have differing definitions for stalking, and typically, men are not as quick to define unwanted attention and interest as stalking (Hills & Taplin, 1998). Stalking is a serious problem, especially given that 81% of women who have been stalked by a lover were also physically assaulted by that lover, whereas 31% were sexually assaulted by him (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998).

Figure 17.3

Percentages of stalking behaviors on college campuses.

Source: B. S. Fisher et al., 2000; Stalking Resource Center, 2000.

 

Telephoned Waited outside/inside Watched from afar Followed Sent letters E-mailed Showed up uninvited Sent gifts Other

 

] 77.7%

 

20

 

40

 

60

 

80

 

100

 

Percent

 

Rape in Different Cultures

0

Because the majority of women know their assailants on college campuses, it won’t come as any surprise that few feel comfortable reporting or pressing charges. Studies have found that although two-thirds of the women talked to someone else about the in­cident, the majority told only a friend (B. S. Fisher et al., 2000). In 1990, the United States passed the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, which requires col­leges with federal student aid programs to provide campus crime statistics upon request (Fisher et al., 2000).