A recent United Nations report suggests that, on average, over 250,000 cases of rape or attempted rape are reported each year worldwide, while the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that nearly 200,000 incidents of rape or sexual assault occurred in 2005 in the United States alone. Because most rape victims are women, these data suggest that approximately one in six women in the United States become the victims of actual or attempted rape each year, excluding the countless rapes that go unreported. Although rape is a serious offense punishable by law, there exists no consensus regarding the precise definition of this crime. Legal definitions of rape vary from state to state and are subject to continual debate. Conflicting understandings of exactly what constitutes “rape” highlight ...

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