Forcible Rape

Forcible rape is defined as "the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will" (U.S. Department of Justice, 1996, p. 23). A total of 97,463

(37.1 per 100,000 inhabitants) cases of forcible rape was reported to law enforcement officers in this country in 1995. Rape was more common in the summer than at other times of the year. Seventy-five percent of the victims were under age 35, and only about 3% were over age 49. Unlike the traditional picture of the rapist as a stalking stranger, most victims know their attacker and over 40% are raped in or near their own home. However, the picture of rape as a nighttime crime is generally true. Furthermore, it is estimated that only about half of all rape victims report the attack to police (Wright, 1997). Shame, fear, and other emotions undoubtedly contribute to the decision not to report a rape or an attempted rape.

The two most frequent crimes in the violent offenses category used by the FBI in determining its annual crime index are robbery and aggravated assault. Whereas the murder rate in 1995 was 8.2 and the forcible rape rate was 37.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, the rates for robbery and aggravated assault were 230.9 and 418.3, respectively. Robbery is defined as "taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear" (U.S. Department of Justice, 1996, p. 26). Aggravated assault is defined as "an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury" (U.S. Department of Justice, 1996, p. 31). Whereas robberies are more frequent during the fall, the frequency of aggravated assaults is greater during the summer months. Also, unlike assaults, robberies are at least four times as likely to occur on a street or highway as in any other location. In 1995, robberies were more common in the Northeast and the West, whereas aggravated assaults were more common in the South and West than in other sections of the country. Metropolitan areas had higher rates of both robberies and assaults than nonmetropolitan areas. Firearms were the weapon of choice in robberies and other weapons (clubs, blunt objects, etc.) in aggravated assaults.

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