Even when women are victims of a rape, they don't always acknowledge it to themselves.

The recent media storm about Dr. Phil’s tweet, “If a girl is drunk, is it okay to have sex with her?” http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/dr-phil-rape-tweet-spark... brings attention to an issue about rape that is confusing to many. Rape is all too widespread. It is vastly under-reported and the Dr. Phil comments points to an area that is a source of misunderstanding to many victims.


As a psychologist I have talked to many women who report that among their earliest sexual experiences was an incident where they had sex not by their consent or choice-OTHERWISE KNOWN AS RAPE!  Yet most of those women have never thought of themselves as being raped. The excuses are many, “I got too drunk….I shouldn’t have gone to that party….I shouldn’t have gone out with that guy.”  Even when these women had no sexual experience, no desire to have sex and no willing cooperation the fact that there was no violence on the part of the perpetrator or themselves leads them to believe the incident was their fault and that it “wasn’t really rape”.  They never think of it as rape. But it is.

Here is the dictionary definition of rape:

1.the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.
2.any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.

In the past many countries or states defined rape legally as requiring force on the part of the perpetrator or physical resistance on the part of the victim. The women’s movement helped us understand how limited that definition was. If a perpetrator has a weapon; a knife or a gun, would you resist physically? If you are unable to give consent due to lack of intellectual understanding (the severely mentally challenged or demented elderly) or physical state such as drunkenness or unconsciousness is violence necessary? Does physical resistance become meaningful?

Young children who are sexually abused do not have enough knowledge or independence to resist a perpetrator. We have come to clearly understand that this is unlawful and morally indefensible.


In the case of young women who are raped while drunk I believe the lack of awareness that it was, in fact, a rape is related to the desire to not perceive oneself as a victim. When I hear these stories, it is usually from women who are younger and sexually inexperienced. This early drunkenness is part of adolescent experimentation, the desire to be more adult and independent. They are usually women who would not admit to their parents that they are drinking heavily or that they “had sex.”  It is far easier and more typical of young women to feel guilty and responsible rather than think about facing parents, the legal system, undergoing a medical examination. It is easier to just think, “I got too drunk.”  I have talked with many middle aged women who describe a rape as their first sexual experience but they have never thought of it as a rape. That has much more to do with how society defines women’s sexuality and men’s privilege than it does with the reality of the situation.


Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr Robin Goldstein


Dr. Goldstein is a licensed psychologist with over thirty years experience helping individuals free themselves of fear and anxiety and living their best life possible.She has worked extensively with couples, helping them maximize the potential for joy in their relationships as well as working with people suffering the grief of separtion, divorce and loss from ones they love.


Please visit my blog at www.robingoldstein.net/blog

Follow Dr Goldstein on Twitter at www.twitter.com/drrgoldstein

Location: Boca Raton, FL
Credentials: EdD
Other Articles/News by Dr Robin Goldstein:

Are You a Trophy Wife?


It's the Cinderella story. You marry the man of your dreams and he's a prince; otherwise known as rich enough to support you so that you don't need to work for a living and can spend your life eating bonbons and living a life of leisure. Is this fairy tale all it's cracked up to be? Not necessarily. WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES? There are ... Read more

How To Talk To Your Psychiatrist About Your Depression


How to Talk to Your Psychiatrist About Depression I am a psychologist. I am a doctor but not a medical doctor and I provide psychotherapy, not medication. Still, I refer many patients with depression to MD psychiatrists to provide medication to help with depression. Modern anti-depressants can truly be life saving medications. While many (mistakenly, I ... Read more

When Families Can't Agree on How to Care for Aging Relatives


A recent news article on the famous DJ Casey Kasem and the fight about his care  illustrates a problem that is likely to become more and more familiar as the population ages and caretaking becomes more widespread. While not all family feuds of this type will descend to raw meat throwing, emotions can get pretty strong.  There is much confusion in ... Read more

See More

Latest Expert Videos
Most Popular