The project will involve analysis and interpretation of data collected in research aimed at interrogating societal definitions of rape.
Knowing what society considers acceptable behavior may explain the prevalence of an offence. Efforts towards reducing crime should be preceded by interrogation of society’s views towards the conduct in question. That knowledge would be invaluable in developing strategies to curb the crime.
Data was collected through in-depth interviews and Focus Group Discussions with 296 respondents: 200 community members, 56 men incarcerated for rape and 40 college students. Comparisons were made at multiple levels visa viz gender, age and education. Comparisons were also made between men incarcerated for rape and other men.
The questions used in gathering perceptions can be divided into questions related to the definition of rape; questions aimed at unearthing whether in the opinion of participants, there is a difference between use of force and lack of consent and questions seeking to know whether the existence of a “relationship” prior to the unwanted sex informs whether what occurred would be defined as rape.
There were also questions focusing on evaluating prevalence of rape supporting perceptions.