The Harmful Effects of Knowing Your Rapist


Research Assistant Sarah Guerette and Professor Sandra Caron conducted an experiment that measured the actions of rape victims after their assault. They gathered 12 female college students to participant in an interview which consisted of a series of questions that related to the purpose of their study. Guerette and Caron’s study ranged between the ages of 19 to 27 with the occurrence of their assault ranging from 17 to 27 years old (2007). Each of the 12 participants was assaulted by a person they knew personally. Of the twelve women, two participants were attacked by someone they had been dating for around six months, and the rape resulted in losing their virginity.

In some assault experiences, the victims were even pinned down by friends of the rapist. More than half of the participants were asleep at the time of their assault, and 11 out of 12 of the women had no sexual interest or desire for their rapist (Guerette & Caron, 2007). These women expressed throughout their assault they did not give their rapist any consent, one woman even feared being murdered after not giving consent. Some women were forced to come in contact with their rapist after their assault, some continued their relationships with their rapist, and others never saw their attacker again. A participant described related maintaining her relationship with her attacker to allowing her to have control and allowing her to forget that the assault ever happened.

. Rape is described as sexual intercourse that is forced without consent (Guerette & Caron, 2007). As a woman in America, your chances of being raped are as high as 25 percent. In college, 29.4 percent of these reported assaults are victims between the age of 18 to 24 (2007). Even though many women fears being raped, the chances of acquaintance rape being most traumatic are very likely. Coping with this traumatic experience can impact the victim emotionally and physically and make the coping process tough if they see their attacker often.

This article really struck a nerve for me and forced me to realize that our society creates the fear in rape victims. When women come forward about being raped, people age only concerned with how the victim portrayed themselves for this experience to take place. As if men or women aren’t supposed to control their hormones and should carry themselves like animals. It makes women question her validity and sanity which only makes her coping process difficult.

Coming from a Carribean background the idea of sexual assault is very common among Carribean families. I’ve heard so many stories of young women being violated from as early as the age of 2, by their own family member. After explaining their traumatic experiences to their parents or grandparents, they receive such backlash that their behavior dramatically changes. But no one knows what it’s like dealing with this experience unless they’ve been through it themselves.

Just like FIU’s Student Health Services, I believe it’s imperative that College Campuses educate students on the idea of rape. Being educated on the topic helped me understand that once you’ve told someone that you’re not giving them consent to sleep with you and they continue, this is considered rape. Also, knowing there are available resources on campus may possibly reach out to a victim, and they’ll feel more comfortable in talking to someone about their experience. Reading this article gave me a clear insight on how familiar acquaintance rape is because I always believed that a random stranger would be more likely be a rapist as opposed to someone you know.




Guerette, S. M., and Caron, S. L. (2007). Assessing the impact of acquaintance rape: Interviews

women who are victims/survivors of sexual assault while in college. Journal Of College Student Psychotherapy, 22(2), 31-50. doi:10.1300/J035v22n02-04


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