Forced Sexual Intercourse Among Young Adult Women, Child Trends Fact Sheet #2008=30 reports that "Approximately 18% of women aged 18-24 report having experienced forced sexual intercourse at least once in their lives."
Forced sex was defined as either responding "not voluntary" to the following question about first sexual intercourse: "Would you say then that this first vaginal intercourse was voluntary or not voluntary, that is, did you choose to have sex of your own free will or not?" or responding "yes" to the following question: "Have you ever been forced by a male to have vaginal intercourse against your will?" ...But it turns out that "Young Adult Women Report Experiencing Different Types of Force During Forced Sexual Intercourse." For 12%, the "type of force" was "Told Relationship Would End." For 61% (the largest number), they were "Pressured by Words/Actions Without Threats."
This is just ridiculous. It's true that the word "force" has many possible meanings: Some people, for instance, feel they're "forced" "against [their] will" to work in certain jobs — or are doing those jobs not "of their own free will" — because that's the only way they can enjoy the standard of living they want. But these are radically different kinds of force from being forced to do something by physical force, or threat of physical injury. And mixing the two yields results that are useless at best and misleading and dangerous at worst.
I should note that some of the types of force reported in the study would indeed be indicative of very serious crimes (chiefly rape), for instance being forced by being "physically held down" (I assume this would likely have been interpreted to mean held down against one's will) or by being "physically hurt or injured" or "threatened with physical hurt." But the heinousness of those actions just illustrates the error of mixing these with being told that if one doesn't have sex, the relationship would end.
Note, incidentally, that the questionnaire seems to prompt respondents into reading "forced" broadly. The questionnaire begins by asking:
Think back to the very first time you had vaginal intercourse with a male. Which would you say comes closest to describing how much you wanted that first vaginal intercourse to happen?It then asks "Would you say then that this first vaginal intercourse was voluntary or not voluntary, that is, did you choose to have sex of your own free will or not?" Later, it asks (if respondent "reported her 1st vaginal sex as 'not voluntary' or didn't want it to happen or had mixed feelings"), "Were any of these kinds of force used?," and lists as "kinds of force"
I really didn't want it to happen at the time ..........1
I had mixed feelings — part of me wanted it to happen at the time and part of me didn't .........2
I really wanted it to happen at the time ...............3
Were you given alcohol or drugs?The "have you ever been forced by a male to have vaginal intercourse against your will?" question is asked shortly after these questions (though note also that the "Were any of these kinds of forced used?" question is only asked of people who gave certain answers to the preceding questions). From all this, it seems to me that the survey would naturally lead respondents to read the word "forced" broadly, and to indeed label sex as "forced" even when they were "forced" by threat of cutting off the relationship, or by unthreatening but "pressur[ing]" words. (For a breakdown of the answers to these questions for women age 18-44 rather women age 18-24, see table 38 of this report.)
Did you do what he said because he was bigger than you or a grownup, and you were young?
Were you told that the relationship would end if you didn't have sex?
Were you pressured into it by his words or actions, but without threats of harm?
Were you threatened with physical hurt or injury?
Were you physically hurt or injured?
Were you physically held down?