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Date Rape

            Date rape or acquaintance rape has become a highly recognized problem in the United States. The trial coverage of Mike Tyson v. Desiree Washington and William Kennedy Smith v. Patricia Bowman are two cases that gained nationwide attention in recent years. These cases have also opened the eyes of people across American regarding the issue of date rape. While these cases are just a few of the reasons increased awareness and a change in the legal definition of rape are justified when determining the issue of consent there are many more that have not achieved such high attention from the media.
             The definition or "consent has been altered to mean "positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will. A person must act freely and voluntarily and have knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved." (Harris in Francis 1996).
             The definition of date rape versus rape has been difficult to interpret from not only a legal standpoint but in society's view as well. Many people believe that victims were willing to participate and then decided that they did not actually mean for things to go so far for one reason or another and then cried rape. There are also those that believe that if a woman goes to her date's apartment she is giving him reason to believe she is consenting to have intercourse. This is the first of the many myths regarding rape although no human being deserves to be treated with this lack of respect and agreeing to enter another's home or vehicle does not automatically imply consent. In addition, it is thought by some that allowing the man to pay for the date automatically means she "owes" him sex as a payback. This is just one of the outdated beliefs many still have today. Since it is difficult to determine what a rapist looks or acts like it is necessary for women to take extra care when out on a date as rape is often committed by seemingly "normal" men too who have not given clues to there inner self.

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