ERIC Number: ED350523
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Aug-15
A History of Rape in American Society Prior to 1900.
By tracing the concept of rape as it has been defined by man in the earliest laws, it is evident that the criminal act was viewed with horror, and the deadly punishments that were seen fit to apply had little to do with an actual act of sexual violence that a woman might sustain. The past records indicate a gradual decrease in the prosecution rate of rape. This decrease coincided with an increase in assessing a lesser penalty of attempted rape or assault, which held a more lenient penalty for these charges. This gradual change appears to have led to a trend which has evolved into the current prosecution and penalty process today. Based on the information that is known about rape during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, it appears that rape was not as prevalent as it has become within this past century. This was due to several factors. First of all, the populations of towns and cities were much smaller. Another possibility for the low reports of this crime could be due to women being fearful of reporting the crime. The culture during this time fostered women to be non-assertive, dependent, and to feel inferior to men. The act of rape could have occurred more frequently than the records show, but was underreported due to various circumstances. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (100th, Washington, DC, August 14-18, 1992).