Model of Date Rape Factors

On this page:

Conceptual Representation of Date Rape Factors

I have put together a conceptual and visual representation of factors that contribute to date rape, according to the findings of my doctoral dissertation study.  The visual representation is "Figure 1" at the bottom of this page. Unlike Thompson's "Integrative Model of Sexual Assault 'State' or 'Trait' Rape," I have not included factors directly related to the victims, such as their personality or past experiences for two reasons:

  • First, the study did not gather data directly from the female victims related to these elements, and data on these issues received from the male participants is secondary information and thus subject to distortion and memory omission. 

  • Secondly, I do not think these victim-related elements are determinant factors in the sexual assault.

Situational Context of Date Rape

  • Behaviors like alcohol consumption and going back to the perpetrator's apartment during a date are under the category header "situational context" because if a woman is with a man prone to date rape, these situational factors may make his intent easier to achieve.  Based on the data from perpetrators' interviews, these factors can influence outcomes, but they are not pivotal.   

  • The female victim is never to blame for her own rape, no matter what the circumstances.  As was true throughout this study, the central focus is always the sexual perpetrator.  It is he whom we want to understand so we can determine a strategy to stop future offenses.

Psychological and Sociological Contexts of Date Rape

 

  • The model begins with the culture at large and then focuses on psychological and sociological contexts influencing the date rape perpetrator's personality, which is characterized by self-centeredness and an aversion to permanent relationships.  His personality is also influenced by his particular socialization experience.  Family members and peer groups greatly influence the date rapist during the developmental stage of his life with regard to perceptions of human relations and men's interactions with women. 

  • The man then forms a sexual intent based on his distorted understanding of interpersonal relationships, and then misperceives his victim's verbal and nonverbal communication about sexual desire.  These misinterpretations increase his positive expectations and push him toward sexual initiatives that conclude in date rape.

Philosophical Infrastructure

  • Sexual intent, positive expectation, and the perpetrator's misperception are not developed in isolation from other factors.  They are grounded in a lifetime where an egocentric man discusses with other men in groups (i.e., male friends, athletic teams, military units, and street gangs) that women are subordinate and should willingly, or even unwillingly, serve the sexual needs of men. 

  • All the foundational data sub-categories (i.e., self-centeredness, non-committal relationship perspective, masculinity development, desire for control, social exchange mentality, and peer pressure) validate this philosophical infrastructure. 

  • The types of psychological, sociological, and situational contexts discussed in my doctoral dissertation study represent several overlapping influences that affect and may cause the event factors.  This is typically how the date rape occurs: lead-up, perpetrator's verbal and nonverbal sexual initiatives, intimidation, miscommunication, misperception, forced consent or rejection, and assault.

  Visual Model of Date Rape Factors

Click to See Figure 1