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Malone, K.R. (1995). Sexuality and The Law: A Lacanian Examination of Date Rape. Psychoanal. Rev., 82(5):669-681.
    

(1995). Psychoanalytic Review, 82(5):669-681

Sexuality and The Law: A Lacanian Examination of Date Rape

Kareen Ror Malone, Ph.D.

Acquaintance Rape and its Theorization

The recently discovered pervasiveness of date rape or acquaintance rape radically disrupts any notions we may hold regarding harmony between the sexes. Despite bitter contention over the accuracy of current statistics on rape (Berliner, 1992; Roiphe, 1993), it is fairly safe to assert that approximately 15% to 25% of women report sexual experiences that fall under the legal definition of rape or attempted rape. Furthermore, over 80 percent of rapes are acquaintance rapes. There has been, admittedly, polemic wrangling over the ultimate meaning of these statistics. For example, some note that it is often the researcher rather than the victim that defines the woman's experience as rape. Nonetheless these percentages emerge in study after study and therefore seem to present reasonable estimates of the incidence of rape (Koss, 1993). The definition of rape that provides the basis for these figures is “penetration against consent through force, threat of force, or when a victim was incapacitated with alcohol or other drugs” (Koss cited in Koss, 1992, p. 122).

Since much of this research was conducted with college-age women, considerable energy and thought has been directed to the education of college and high school students. Many professional publications in this area are devoted to determining the effectiveness of educational programs in changing attitudes toward acquaintance rape and more general beliefs about sexuality and gender.

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