Counselors from the University Health Services (UHS) and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center last night informally discussed legal, emotional and social aspects of rape with members of the Harvard community.
Linda Giles, a center counselor, outlined some of the "grey areas" in Massachusetts statutes. She noted that as "lots of irrelevant garbage" still gets into the courtroom, "there is no predicting how a jury will decide on any given case.
Giles and Ann G. Bisbee, assistant to the director of UHS, repeatedly stressed that rape is not a sexual act but an act of violence, which, according to federal reports, is still the most underreported major felony.
Although more research is needed on rapists themselves, Giles said noted researchers have found that the "typical" rapist does not differ from the "typical" American male. Most rapists, she said, are married and report normal sexual relationships.
Slightly more than half of all rapes are committed inside women's homes and a similar proportion of the rapists are acquainted in some way with their victim, the speakers noted.
"Real rape prevention starts in the cradle. We have to teach little boys not to be aggressive little soldiers and have to teach little girls not to be passive," Giles said.