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One of the earliest and most prominent date rape researchers is Mary Koss, who in 1987 conducted the first large-scale nationwide study on rape in the United States, surveying 7,000 students at 25 schools, and who is sometimes credited with originating the phrase date rape.

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The perpetrator uses physical or psychological intimidation to force a victim to have sex against his or her will, or when the perpetrator has sex with a victim who is incapable of giving consent because they have been incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.

Date rape most commonly takes place among college students under the symptoms of alcohol or date rape drugs consumption that makes the abuse more accessible.

Historically, in much of the world, rape was seen as a crime of theft of a man's property (usually either a husband or father).

In this case, property damage meant that the crime was not legally recognized as damaging to the victim, but instead to her father or husband's property. states had criminalized the concept of marital rape by 1993.

The families that arranged the marriage guarantee her permanent consent." Since the final decades of the 20th century, in much of the world, rape has come to be broadly regarded as sexual intercourse (including anal or oral penetration) without a person's immediate consent, making rape illegal, including among people who know each other or who have previously had consensual sex.

Some jurisdictions have specified that people debilitated by alcohol or other drugs are incapable of consenting to sex.

Historically, date rape has been taken less seriously than rape by a stranger, but, since the 1980s, it has been increasingly understood to be a serious societal problem that constitutes the majority of rapes in some countries.

It is controversial, however, with some people believing the problem is overstated and that many date rape victims are actually willing, consenting participants, and others believing that date rape is seriously under-reported and almost all women who claim date rape were actually raped.

"An assault by a stranger is more likely to be seen as a 'real rape' than one by some-one known to the victim." Because of this cultural conception, many date rapes are considered to be less serious than stranger rapes because the nature of the perpetrator-victim relationship, especially for those who have had a prior or current sexual relationship.

In college date rape has a different meaning, as in a date would be a party where the woman is purposely given alcohol and drugs by the man and usually his friends, therefore the rape is a group effort.

magazine published an article titled "Date Rape: A Campus Epidemic?