Meticulously researched and passionately argued rebuttal of those who would deny the reality and alarming prevalence of acquaintance rape.
An 11-year-old girl was gang-raped by 18 men and criticized for wearing provocative clothing. Another girl, 15, was gang-raped by men who got her drunk, and she received a ticket for underage drinking. Raphael (Freeing Tammy: Women, Drugs, and Incarceration, 2007, etc.) makes the strong case that these are the all-too-frequent outcomes for women victimized by acquaintance rape. Unlike victims of other crimes, such women often face “indifference, disbelief, or outright punishment.” Social conservatives tend to blame rape on the sexual promiscuity of the victims. On the other end of the spectrum, some feminists view acquaintance rape as “an acceptable risk of sexual freedom.” In addition, such deniers claim both that data on the frequency of rape are overinflated and that as many as 50 percent of rape accusations are false. Both claims, as Raphael shows, are entirely false. Countless reputable studies have shown that 11 to 16 percent of all American women have been raped sometime in their life, and numerous studies indicate the false report of rape to be in the 2 to 8 percent range. Further, most rapists are in fact known by their victim. But the deniers’ damage is done, and too many in authority—universities, police, prosecutors and others—too easily dismiss acquaintance rape as “bad sex” at worst. Raphael hopes to change such attitudes, not only through the heavy dose of accurate data she presents, but also through the stories of several young women who were raped by someone they knew.
These horrific accounts provide ample evidence of the need for change in attitudes and actions toward rape victims—a disturbing challenge to anyone who would dismiss the ravages of rape.