Rape has been defined as the act of taking anything by force. 1 Rape is legally defined 2,3 as carnal knowledge of a person by force and against that person's will. Two elements are necessary to constitute rape: 1) sexual intercourse and 2) commission of the act forcibly and without consent. The slightest penetration by the male organ constitutes carnal knowledge; neither complete penetration nor emission is required. Force may be defined as the use of actual physical force to overcome the victim's resistance, or the use of threats which result in victim acquiesence because of fear of death or grave bodily harm.
Rape experiences encompass a wide spectrum, ranging from surprise attack with threats of death or mutilation to an insistence on sexual intercourse in a social encounter where sexual contact was unexpected or not agreed upon. In the latter case, non-consent is often overlooked or misinterpreted by assuming that certain social situations imply a willingness for a sexual relationship. 4 Indeed, sexual violence is a frequent and unreported event in the usual dating situation on college campuses as reported by Kanin 5 and Schultz and De Savage. 6
It is recognized that male rape and statutory rape occur and present added dilemmas. The overwhelming majority of victims, however, are female, and this monograph will address itself only to the female victim of forcible rape.