The term "date rape" covers a spectrum of incidents and behaviours ranging from crimes legally defined as rape to verbal harassment, verbal coercion and inappropriate innuendo. Date rape may be distinguished from acquaintance rape as occurring during a prearranged social engagement, and notably as the result of deliberately ensuring that the partner becomes intoxicated.
In the UK in 1992, 4,142 rapes were reported. Of those reported since 1985, only 30% of the attackers were strangers; 35% were acquaintances; the remaining 35% were intimates (husband, boyfriend). On the basis of a UK study, 47% of women do not consider being forced into sexual intercourse, having visited a man in his house, as rape. This view is shared by 49% of men. Similarly 12% of women do not perceive being forced into sexual intercourse with a superior at work as constituting rape.
At least in the contained world of fraternities and sororities on campuses in the USA, there are quite different expectations and models of behaviour for men and women. At the extremes, sorority sisters present themselves as paragons of virtue; fraternity brothers are expected to concentrate on uncovering their primordial masculine sexuality. Most women college students believed that the responsibility for avoiding physically threatening situations, such as date rape, lay with them. Few questioned the right of a man to take advantage of a woman who had been in his room of who had been drinking excessively. They believed that females should not drink too much, and should not leave alone. If a date rape occurs in these circumstances, the woman becomes the guilty party, and the judges are the women themselves.
In the USA it has been estimated that 17% of women have been raped by the age of 20, but 75% of them did not perceive this as rape because of the circumstances.