I'm spending time with friends on this long holiday weekend so here is information about a study that looked at how much force it took before study subjects viewed the forced sexual contact as rape.
The present study investigated subjects' perceptions of a hypothetical rape situation as a function of the amount of force used in the rape, sex of subject, and subjects' attitudes toward feminism. Two hundred thirty-two subjects (118 females, 114 males) were randomly assigned by sex to one of three force conditions. Consistent with expectation, subjects expressed greater certainty that a rape had actually occurred with increased force on the part of the assailant (p <.001). A second hypothesis received partial support: Increasing force led to stronger attributions of rape on the part of traditional women, whereas liberal women tended to see the incident as rape at all force levels. A similar relationship did not emerge for men, however. As predicted, profeminist subjects implicated societal factors as causal in rape to a greater extent than did nonfeminists. Contrary to prediction, however, pro- and nonfeminists were not found to differ from each other in the degree of blame attributed to either the victim or the assailant. The findings support the general notion that one's gender and sex-role attitudes as well as the degree of force used by a rape assailant affect one's evaluation of this situation and the manner in which one attributes cause. Implications for rape prevention and victim reaction are discussed.