The Real Face Of Rapists (Trigger Warning)

Please read this. All of it. Now tell me again how I’m supposed to “avoid” being rape, stop putting myself in danger, stop wearing those rapey sorts of clothes etc.

From droppingthefbomb, hat tip to lapetitefeministeanglaise.

There has been quite a few discussion on why telling someone to be safe, and avoid getting themselves in bad situation, is NOT victim blaming.

Sit down and listen.

This is still victim blaming.  You are still perpetuating Rape Culture.

I have to make this distinction clear: there is a difference between sex and rape. There is a difference between having sex and being raped. Rapists are not sluts. Sluts (by societies general definition) is someone who has consensual sex frequently. When a rapist is raping someone, they are not having sex with their victim… They are torturing them. Rape is a human rights violation and it defined as a form of torture by International Criminal Courts.

There is this myth that rapists have this uncontrollable sex urge and this is why they rape. If you believe this, re-read my previous paragraph.  And I would urge you to go read about Groths study on Rapists (1979) and several others!

He interviewed 500 men convicted of rape and found that:

  • 55% of them were “power rapists” meaning rape was a demonstration of their power over their victim and a way of showing their hyper-masculinity
  • 40% were “anger rapists”, and their aim was to humiliate their victims and hurt them for revenge
  • 5% were classified as “sadistic rapists”, these men were sexually aroused by dominance and violence, and they took pleasure from their victims pain.

Groths study showed that rapists tended not to be sexually aroused either before, during or after the rape. This is why there are several incidence were the rapists had to obtain an erection by masturbation or forcing their victims to sexually arouse them. There is no “uncontrollable urge.” Rapists are not losing any power of themselves, they are gaining it.

Yet, a lot of people think they are helping by telling people not to avoid “risky behavior”

I just have to show you how impractical this is.

  • In the UK fewer than 17% of rape are committed by strangers. And only 13 percent take place in a public space. Half of all female murder victims world- wide are killed by a current or former partner. And most rape victims KNOW THEIR ATTACKER.

Yet in the UK 54.4% of assaults reported in the press were committed by strangers and always in public.

  • In America 73% of sexual assaults are committed by a non-stranger. 38% of rapists are friends or acquaintances of the victims. 28% are intimate partners of the victims. 7% are relatives of the victims. 6 in 10 rapes occur in the home of the victim, or in the home of a friend or relative of the victim.

Tell me how I am supposed to avoid risky behaviour in this instance. The “judgement prevents rape” argument falters in reality, at least 73% of the time.

These people were not in any RISKY BEHAVIOUR. They was no “deviant” person hiding behind the bushes ready to pounce. Stop reinforcing the idea that rapists are hiding in parking garages or in the often-called-upon “dark alley.” the assumption that rape, on the whole, happens when someone leaves a bar with a stranger.  These rapes do happen, and are still entirely problematic, but they are not the norm.

As the statistics show, most victims know their rapist, and most rapes occur in a home setting.  Statistically, you are more likely to be raped by your boyfriend or husband than you are by a stranger. So should I avoid having a boyfriend or a husband as this is more likely to get me raped?

I agree that People do act in the interest of their own safety, regardless of gender.  We could say, “Stay out of that dark alley!” but you probably already are for the most part.  Any of the things that we could think of suggesting had nothing to do with rape at all, but instead with protecting general personal safety, which is something people of both genders do already for the most part.

The idea if you dress in sexy attire, you are making yourself more at risk is complete and utter bullshit.  People are raped in sexy, going out ensembles, but they are also raped in sweatpants, baggy tee shirts, burqas, and suits.  Dress does not imply consent, and historically rapists do not appear to put much thought into what a victim is wearing in deciding if they should rape them or not.

I’ve even seen arguments of people suggesting that women and girls should avoid hanging out unsupervised in all-male groups, or hanging out one-on-one with male friends.  PLEASE TRY NOT TO TRIP OVER THAT LOW BAR YOU HAVE SET FOR ALL MEN. This argument is incredibly insulting to men.  It implies that men have no moral compass that would incite them to stop one friend from raping another, and that they are entirely out of control of their ability to monitor their own behavior.

The first thing we need to be able to do if we want to have honest, open discussion about rape is challenge the assumptions we have about where rape happens and who commits it.

And when discussing Rape Culture, just ask yourself: Who feels more comfortable with my assertions? The rapists or the Rape Victim/Survivor.

4 responses to “The Real Face Of Rapists (Trigger Warning)

  1. This is going to sound like a spam comment but you know and love me and know it is not, so: This is an excellent article and really informative too. I have always wondered about the motives behind rape but have yet to read too deeply into it for those exact trigger reasons. [That is in fact about to change as I’ve bought a book on rape and war and I intend to read it]. One question I do have, where do gang rapists fit in? Isn’t it unusual for a whole lot of men to have the same power/anger/sadistic issues all at once?

    • I do know you and love you and I know it’s not.

      I thought this post was excellent too. In answer to your question: I’m not sure. One explanation is available in the literature on masculinity. It would argue that men believe that they attain a “masculine identity” through other men observing their violence, particularly against women. So, in subordinating “weaker” people in the presence of other men who do the same, they attain and express their hegemonic masculinity.

      The literature is very easy to criticise but it would be one way to start to explain the motivations for such attacks. (Where you have to most careful with it, I think, is when it starts to remove culpability from men and engage almost in a “poor menz; look, we’re hurt by the patriarchy too!” discourse. That’s bullshit obviously. I actually had a fight with my colleague about these perspectives the other week because he subscribes to them uncritically – he’s a white, educated, middle class, over-privileged dick so of course he does!) Anyway, the thinking may be useful if it’s considered through a feminist lens. But it’s a very difficult phenomenon to understand.

      • 🙂 Nice reply, thank you! (See, I am the queen of spam-but-not-spam today). My initial response to the masculinity argument is to deny it but it does kind of help box it in my mind. I could never understand the notion of observing and “taking turns” (that is the term they use in the South African press to report the all-too-frequent attacks). But if it is more “watch me demonstrate violence against and harm” and less “watch me engage in sexual relations with” then I can begin to ‘get’ it. Although, I’ll likely sleep better if I don’t get it. Ever.

        • The masculinity argument is very problematic, certainly, and it is only one perspective. It’s the one that came into my mind anyway when I read your question. “Taking turns” (and I shudder and balk and rage at that thought as much as you) would fit into that explanation. One of the theories of masculinity (and it’s one of those I have most problem with) is that the violence perpetrated by men has nothing whatsoever to do with the victim but is rather part of the “game” which is really about relations between men who are in constant battle for supremacy with each other. In displaying hegemonic masculinity through violence, they can win that game (this time, today, and we do it all again tomorrow). Interesting in some respects.

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