Why Are Men Surprised About Rape?

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

How could it be that a smart, worldly journalist knew so little about sexual assault?

When Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post reviewed Jon Krakauer’s new book, Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, she wondered why men are so often surprised by the trauma of rape, and the difficulties victims face gaining justice.

Why, she wondered, did it take a personal experience of a young friend he was close to for him to “get it”?

She wishes Mr. Krakauer had told his own story:

The individual story of a man who knew little about rape might help us understand the indifference and even contempt that have made comprehensive reform so difficult.

[Warning: this post could be triggering to some rape victims.]

Men who DO get it

But a lot of men DO get it. There are organizations like, “Men Against Violence Against Women.” Several male celebrities advocate on this issue: Patrick Stewart, Daniel Craig, David Schwimmer, Ian Somerhalder, and Louis CK, to name a few.

And more than one of my men students have written papers on the topic. Like this: Real Men Don’t Beat, Rape Women.

Still, others don’t get it.

Men who don’t get it

Once, when I was talking about rape victims experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, a male student doubted that sexual assault could have that effect.

Patrick Stewart fighting violence against women

Patrick Stewart fighting violence against women

Every now and then a young man wonders aloud how a husband could possibly rape his wife? Worse, one guy came up after class to say that he thought the lecture was funny — how could a man sexually assault his wife?

Thankfully, these guys are the exception.

Or, some have been clueless enough to write insensitive comments on my blog (again, the exception). This guy was “explaining” why some men were “going their own way” without women:

The reduction, or the end of what feminists call rape culture, is an added bonus to men getting involved in the sexodus you may have heard of… I mean you can’t have a rape culture without sex.

I am grateful that guys like him are going their own way, without women. (He never has sex with real women — just porn, he says.)

In an interview with Charlie Rose, Jon Krakauer expressed concern that some guys think that sexual assault is mere sport, a game, a conquest: Get a woman drunk, have sex with her, and then brag that you scored.

Women who don’t get it

But it’s not just men. Every now and then a woman tries to explain to me that some girls are just “asking for it” by the way they dress. Or that, mostly, girls just cry rape. Again, these women are the exception! Most DO get it.

Women may buy into myths about rape because it makes them feel safer: If I dress modestly and don’t drink too much and avoid walking around in the dark, I won’t get hurt.

A lack of understanding and empathy

All of this belies a lack of understanding and empathy.

Men Against Violence Against Women

Men Against Violence Against Women

In his Charlie Rose interview, Mr. Krakauer tried to explain that being penetrated in one’s most private parts is a particularly damaging trauma.

One woman he wrote about felt she had been turned into a ghost for at least a decade after being attacked.

Another said that being raped by a man she had once considered her best friend had destroyed her trust in everything.

Natasha was 14 years old when a man grabbed her, beat her, stripped her, raped her and then plunged her into a creek to drown. She survived by playing dead. 25 years later she is still unmarried because she distrusts men. And water terrifies her. (Meanwhile, the police only recently bothered to test her rape kit — leaving other women to be attacked and traumatized. All part of a rape culture that minimizes the agony of sexual assault.)

Nick Kristof told her story in his New York Times column. As she cried softy she told him, “It affects me to this day. It’s hard. It’s very hard.”

Post-traumatic stress rates are higher among rape victims than among soldiers returning from combat in Iraq.

Some victims become suicidal.

I can only hope that those who take these assaults lightly will one day understand the deep damage that the attacks inflict.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on May 15, 2015, in feminism, men, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 62 Comments.

  1. I have to admit, the title of this article somewhat irritated me.The fact that some men can’t accept that rape is a traumatizing experience infuriates me. It’s the handful of men with this mindset that set a bad example for the male population. It’s bad enough that rape is already being desynthesized for rape victims. What I like about this article is that it provided two sides to the view on rape. We have the men that advocate against rape and domestic violence against women and then there’s men that for whatever reason cannot seem to understand why women distrust men after being raped. The disconcerting part of this article is that women follow the notion that rape victims are to blame because they wear provocative clothing or act in a certain way. Rape victims don’t ask for a lifetime of anxiety, trust issues, and difficulty in maintaining relationships.

  2. I think it could possibly be because women are taught to act like they don’t want to have sex and resist men. This is seen often in porn and replicated enough in real life that men come to expect it. When they hear about women being raped and suffering from PTSD, I assume many of them end up picturing the end of a porno where the girl lays in bed, satisfied and smiling, after originally resisting the man who was trying to have sex with her. Our society has made it difficult for men to understand the importance of sex, and the importance of the word “no”.

  3. Rape is seen sometimes as a taboe, people don’t want to talk about it, because they are ashamed it happened to them. What is actually really sad, because nevertheless in everything they are the victims. I feel so sorry for those women, (and some men) that that happened, and I wish that men weren’t surprised at all. Especially about the comment that one of the student’s thought it was funny. Rape is not funny at all, and it is shocking he thought that.
    I read so many stories about people that got raped and every time I am so shocked. The worst part is about women that are raped in relationships, because a lot of people do not understand that. If you are in a relationship you still have to give your consent. And I hope these women, and all women of rape, get the support they need! And remember it isn’t their fault!

  4. First off, I am glad that the topic is talked about a lot more. By talking about it and educating people, then maybe we can towards not having any stigma or doubt place on the victims and get actual punishment for the criminals. It blows my mind that some people can be so insensitive to the trauma of others. Even if you have not experienced yourself or known anyone who has through something like this, doesn’t mean you can’t empathize. Evan if you (for some insane reason) don’t believe that rape can be traumatic and cause years of anxiety, PTSD and pain, you don’t have to believe it to understand that the person who experienced the event feels this way.

    Men are taught that women are a prize to be won. When society doesn’t hold them responsible for their actions, with stricter punishments, we are further encouraging the idea that women are less than men and irrational because they must be “lying” or “over exaggerating the incident”. Until we learn to value the word of the victim just as much as the word of the accused, we will never have equality or justice.

  5. Interesting video and reporting that debates rape culture in Canada.

  6. Stephanie Arevalo

    I’ll start off by saying that rape is a big issue and it is sad to hear that there are people who do not take it seriously of think that it is a problem. Since people do not take it seriously it is going to be more of a struggle to try to stop rape from happening. Personally if someone says NO then the partner or the significant other needs to respect that no not keep going for it. NO means NO and nothing else. Even if you are married to the person it could still be considered rape if the other person did not want it and was forced to. Rape happens in many different rape that I think people should talk more about it so that awareness can be spread for it. It would be good because it will teach not only men but women on what is considered rape. By knowing what is considered rape and that it is not the victims fault then maybe more rape victims would want to speak up about it and press charges on the rapists. They deserve to be punished. I strongly feel that no one should be raped. It is just not fair.

  7. Rape is a thought that is in the back of every woman’s mind and even in the minds of young girls as well. Whether they know it or not it’s a threat that faces every woman, and man, and I think that’s terrifying. There is no doubt that men can be raped, but it doesn’t happen nearly as much as it does to women. Rape, no matter to what gender, can destroy a person mentally. PTSD can completely control how a person functions and it can take over their life. It does not surprise me that there is a higher rate of rape victims with PTSD than there are soldiers returning from combat. Once a soldier leaves combat the amount of triggers is reduced, but for a rape victim everyone on the street could be seen as a threat. The thought that women can’t walk alone in the dark, go to a party, or leave work without the threat of being raped makes my skin crawl. From very young ages we are taught “stranger danger”, but it takes a whole new turn when we get older and understand rape and what it means. I don’t deny that men can be raped, but if you were to take a survey asking men if they walked out of the bar and saw a strange woman standing by their car and what they would they would do you would get a completely different answer than if you were to ask women the same exact question, just with a man standing by their car. Men just tend to not see rape as much as a threat as women do.

  8. In wake of all the Bill Cosby accusations I have been reading a lot of the commentary on Yahoo News from individuals who post comments. A lot of people don’t believe women who state they have been raped but don’t contact authorities. A lot of people believe all women who have been raped go straight to the police and the case is settled right away. They also believe women who state they have been raped are all lying or trying to persuade the public or another individual for some kind of monetary gain. I was really sickened by how many people, women too, who don’t believe rape is so commonly hidden.

    Let me go back to Cosby. Cosby is accused of raping over 40 women right now. Over 40 women have came out about rape. Let me tell you about the 1970s. We as women didn’t report rape and spousal abuse at the rates women report incidents today. I believe even in today’s society rapes and spousal abuse cases are shoved under the rug by female victims. Female victims don’t desire to become a spectacle and devalued. Rape is such a devaluing incident. Once you are raped you feel like less of a person. You feel it is your fault. You feel as if you are shamed if you speak of it. Back in my day we were not to speak of rape or molestation. If we told our mother’s we were molested by our cousin it was a hush hush matter. We had one of those cases in my family and it was kept very quiet. We had to be modest and we had to be quiet. Being quiet keeps our image clean but to come forward as a rape victim makes a woman dirty and liable for the rape. It somehow becomes her fault. She is too attractive, she didn’t say no loud enough, she didn’t fight good enough, she was stupid to drink the drink.

    My experience: I was given a date rape drug by my husband in the late 1970s. He knew a porn director and this director wanted me in one of his films. I went out to dinner with them both because he was a client of my husband’s. I felt obligated to go and never thought my husband would hurt me. At the restaurant my husband drugged me. I woke up and I never knew what happened. I don’t know to this day what happened. Everything is a blur. I didn’t go to the police. I didn’t tell anyone besides my sisters and I have talked about this with my daughter and her friends about why you never take drinks from people; even people you trust when they came of age. Rape is real and rape happens even from the people we love and trust the most. My husband was liked by many people. He owned a successful business and he employed workers. He was friends with his colleagues (he even knew the governor of Texas during this time) and other similar business owners. He did work for Robin Williams in his later age and he put in Olympic swimming pools for schools and cities. Asides from his drinking and driving he was always looked at like a good strong man from his friends and family. Cosby shares a lot of similar qualities and sometimes nice men in the limelight can perform the worst acts. Strangers are a danger but men you know the most also can be a danger too.

    The motto: Rape is real. Rape can happen from even people you know and trust. Not all rapes are reported to the police. Rape victims often blame themselves. This must change!

    • Thanks so much for sharing about that. I’m so sorry that you had to undergo that ordeal. It’s hard for people who haven’t been in that circumstance to understand this– I think especially men because they don’t think about this sort of thing ever happening to them. But too often women think they won’t be believed, Or that they will be blamed, or hurt in another way. Unfortunately that’s still too often true even today.

  9. I really appreciated this blog post and the insight you offered. I think popular culture offers us a lot of really great examples. When you have rape cases or incidences of sexual assault that gain a lot of public attention the dialogue that surround them is very telling. The Josh Duggar incident that is playing out in mainstream media is a very good example of people not getting it and the spread of rape culture. Many are taking the “boys will be boys” stance. Some are arguing that at 14 he didn’t know better and that sexual exploration is normal (sneaking into your sisters rooms while they slept and molesting them??). A lot of the conversation is centered around Josh and how this story is going to affect his life now but virtually no one is talking about what life must be like for those girls that he victimized. Many are saying that he asked for forgiveness and the girls forgave him and that’s the end of the story. Disregarding the victims from the story allows people to not have to consider the victims experience.

    Female sexuality is still so taboo in our culture and so misunderstood that I think it blocks many from understanding the victimization of a woman’s sexuality. If we can’t view women as sexual beings with desires and vulnerabilities of their own, it will continue to be hard for many people to view them as victims and truly see their trauma.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughts. I’m amazed at how difficult it is for some people to understand the damage that is done to rape victims and who continue to support rape culture.

  10. So many people don’t truly understand what is considered as rape and have false ideas about it which contributes to rape culture in society. Many people assume that most cases of rape happens between strangers and while that is true, many cases happen between people who already know each other. It shocks me to hear how many people’s first response to a rape case is “what was she wearing” or “where was she”. Victim blaming is pervasive in our society and makes it seem like the victims are responsible for getting raped when the rapists are the ones who are at fault. Some agree that it is the rapist’s fault but still argue that the woman is partially to blame because of her outfit. Just because a girl might be wearing something slightly revealing does not give the rapist the right to rape her. As for male victims, I have heard some people even say that they don’t believe its possible at all. I once read an article that said a male student got raped by his female teacher and when he told his friends about it, they said he should’ve enjoyed it. Women are seen as objects in our society and many people don’t think of the trauma victims have faced but instead end up victim blaming in many cases. The emotional trauma they might be feeling does not occur to these people and I think that shows a very serious problem with our society.

  11. And then there is Darren Sharper, a pro football player, a very good cornerback in the nfl who retired a few years ago and was on nfl network as an analyst. He;s a good looking guy and has money and successful. You know he’s had attractive women all over him and plenty of sex and easily could get it. Yet, he still raped a couple women and is now in prison. The justice System pisses me off though. Because of a plea bargain he’s only sentenced for 9 years, which would have been more. As usually short sentence. I remember that one poster saying how a couple having sex on a beach could be sentenced for 15 years. Yet Sharper whose raped like 5 women over the span of 10 years I think, will serve 9 years? Are you kidding me?

  12. “If it were truly only about desire, Why rape? There are other ways to get sex. Something else is also going on.”

    I do believe it’s about control and anger and power. But This line here, doesn’t prove that it’s about power and not desire. For men who are maybe weird, very socially akward, maybe ugly, and very shy. Say all of those traits combined and dont have any confidence. Well they aren’t getting laid. Ok so there are prostitutes as a means for them getting sex. But I think prostitutes usually cost quite a bit of money. If a man doesn’t have much money and is like I said, maybe very fat on top of that then he’s not getting laid, probably ever or will feel that way. Then again there are decent looking guys who might be very shy or have strong social anxiety that prevents them from talking to girls and getting sex at all, and don’t have confidence. Yet you don’t understand, maybe there are hookers who are cheap and don’t cost much.

    But that’s not something everyman who can’t get laid, wants to do or go that road. It sounds like a contradiction because a man who isn’t getting laid maybe should swallow his pride and just pay for sex if that helps. But there are men, who might struggle with getting laid, but do not want to pay for sex. Because these men could be charming, good looking, but shy, so they know they are attractive men, and just have to figure a way of meeting women or breaking out. Therefore, still never wanting to pay for sex, because they feel prostitution is one or the other. Men paying for prostitutes are either rich, wealthy men who have top escorts for no strings sex without the hassle of it with women in reallife.

    Thats why you see guys like elliot spitzer though he got in trouble or other men who can have sex with many women easily, but pay for escorts instead. but then I see the other men who get hookers and not rich, but paying for street walkers and hookers, as desperate, creepy men. To me there isn’t the inbetween. It’s either the pricey escorts for men who are rich, highly successful and can get many women, but go that route for reason explained. Or men the complete opposite, so I don’t see it in the middle. I’ve had too many dry spells, but paying for a prostitute or doing that was never a thought, because of my ego. I know I’m an attractive guy, and I’m not like those creepy, unattractive men and actually the opposite and just had to get ouf of my shell and join more clubs and stuff and get out more to meet more girls. And I’m definitely far from rich, so can’t go that route for gentleman club escorts. Though even if I was rich, I probably wouldn’t go that route either, but for different reason. Just wouldn’t want to ,but not because doing that would be desperate compared to the ugly desperate men paying for sex with hookers on the street.

    But anyway, a man who isn’tt getting laid though could be desperate if he doesn’t want to go the prostitute way, but is having no loving. Though I still think anger and control have alot to do with it. And that’s never an excuse or reason for men to do that and I don’t think it is. You have to not have much morals and feelings to not care about violating or hurting a woman despite sexual desperation. I think it’s more control for one big reason as an example. Many reports of rape isn;t from highschool virgins, it;s actually ironically usually from the star highschool player whose had his share of many sex partners with girls or football players wether in college or nfl or politician. All these men aren’t getting neglected of sex and have had lots from thier status, yet they are the ones who have raped girsl and not the neglected, geeky virgin boys. That tells me a lot that it’s about power and entitlement. An Nfl player, I mean look at Bill Cosby? Don’t tell me he couldn’t have had tons of consentual sex with many women from his celebrity and humor? But he wanted to drug and rape women.

  13. I was not being flippant. I was just pointing out that what you posted wasn’t accurate where you said rape is about anger and power implying that all rape is about anger and power.

    I thought you wanted to share accurate information so I wanted to point that out. When broad statements are made like this, it tends to discredit all the other information being shared about the topic and I didn’t want to see that happen.

    • It always is about power or anger or trying to create a sense of male superiority (status). Although desire can be attached to that.

      In cultures where you don’t have male dominance, you don’t find rape. That’s because rape serves a purpose: men rape when they feel like they need to bridge a gap between the unmanly selves they think they are and the manly* selves they think they should be, or when they think that sexy women are trying to put them down and they want revenge, and when they feel like they need to humiliate and overpower women to create a sense of strong manly men or male dominance/male superiority. The more insecure men feel, the higher the rates of rape go. As with the epidemics in India, Egypt and South Africa — places where men are told they’re supposed to be higher in status and power than women, yet feel somewhat powerless and low status within the overall social structure. By overtaking a woman’s body and humiliating her he creates sense of superiority — at least in his own sorry mind. But it’s a false sense. Because anyone who would do that is less than human.

      Men never rape purely from desire.

      *manly in their minds meaning: powerful, high status, dominant

      • You said “It always is about power or anger or trying to create a sense of male superiority. Although desire can be attached to that. Men never rape purely from desire.”

        Again, I respectfully disagree. Making blanket statements like this are just wrong IMO. If you said the word most, I would agree. I just know of a couple “rapes” personally that don’t fit the mold and many from reading or hearing about them through the media.

        A few examples:

        In high school a girl in our school who was 16 was dating a guy that was 19. By law she couldn’t consent but she was adamant she was never raped by the guy. But her parents reported it and the guy was charged and convicted of rape. It was never about power or anger for him and I still stay up with this girl and she still thinks his conviction was a mistake. They dated and he loved her according to all that knew her but guess what, he’s a convicted rapist.

        In college a girl that used to be a friend of mine went to a party and had sex with a guy. I and others saw her and heard her consent to go have sex with a guy we all knew. They had both been drinking and smoking pot. The next day she regretted having sex with him and even after talking to us, she decided to charge him with rape because she was embarrassed and would rather say she was raped than say she voluntarily had sex with him. This happened senior year so I don’t know what eventually happened but he was arrested for rape. Nobody there thought it was about power or anger. The guy really liked her and she liked him. She said she never said no and actually we heard her say yes to wanting to have sex with him. BTW, this was at UVA where I went where there was the big Rolling Stone rape story controversy. Sad since the last thing we need is the fake reporting of rape to make it worse for real victims.

      • The first example you give is statutory rape, which is a different circumstance. When a 19-year-old and a 16-year-old have sex and its consensual The only reason it is considered rape is because of age, and the age of consent varies from state to state. suffice it to say that I am not including statutory rape in my comment. But in the example you gave the age difference is close. With bigger differences a motive to manipulate/control gets involved.

        The second example I don’t have enough context to understand whether or not it was rape. If the man had sex with a woman who was intoxicated, and he wasn’t intoxicated and should have known better (sex with an intoxicated woman is rape if he wasn’t also intoxicated, leaving them both unable to make clear decisions) and it left her in a situation where she felt used and abused, then it was rape. And in these situations the guy usually is having sex with a girl he doesn’t really care about because of status: he wants to brag to the guys about having sex with a girl, in a game where a guy “scores” by “conquering” a girl. That is rape.

        You made one other statement which was a rape myth, in which you left no substantiating sources. (Because they are not substantiated if you actually look into the research.) I’m not interested in spreading rape myths so I deleted it.

        So as you can see, rape always contains motivations of power, status, and anger, the distribution varying between situations.

  14. I think that men who don’t understand that rape and sexual assault have a deep-rooted effect on women have a severe lack of empathy and understanding. Maybe because they have never experienced what it is like to be a woman or because they don’t have sisters, friends that are girls, experience with girls, etc. I mean that’s just a small small example of why a man might not understand the emotional stress that rape victims deal with. Being a victim of sexual assault I can say it for sure adds to a general distrust of men I have but at the same time I am not too ignorant to think that all men are like that. There are mean who do try and understand women, and there are women who are anti-feminist and add to the underlying societal norms of men being valued more then women. It a goes back to the idea of the patriarchal society we live in, the roots of which can be traced back to hunter gatherer tribes. Rape is not a joke, the student who found a particular lecture on men who abuse women in whatever way is in my opinion ignorant and has a thing or two to learn about social norms. In that respect, this is where education on what causes rape comes to be so important because it isn’t the girls fault, and a lot of people don’t get that. Thank you for this post!

  15. The reason why rape is still an issue is because people who commit rapes have not been punished well enough to be afraid to do it or re-do it. If we really want to decrease the rape rate, the law system should imply a very strict punishment for those criminals. A law such as ten years in prison or sentence to death. This law should be apply when there is enough evidences of course. Another thing that I think might help is to teach about rape in every schools, starting from maybe seven grade up, because not everyone really knows about. That’s just my opinion.

  16. At the beginning, I have the similar interpretation and understanding as the male student who are mentioned in the article. How can rape damage women severely? Yet after reading more materials, it is clear to me. Indeed, due the biological difference, during sex, males feel a lot of less discomfort compared with women, instead most occasions men are rather enjoyable. This leads to different regard on having intercourse for both men and women. In addition, “lack of understanding and empathy” is the major causing factor. Men are can’t walk in women’s shoes, therefore, rape can be pleasure for men. However, at the same time, women have to face difficulty of recovery from both physical and mental aspect. Now, it is clear to me that rape can critically harm women for a long period of time. Moreover, there is an interesting thought from “openyoueye145”, dressing style can possibly lead to rape. Thus, is it fair to blame on guys completely? I think women should bear a portion of responsibility as well, after all it is part of self –protection.

  17. I overheard a former classmate talk to his friend as he tried to justify rape as it’s what a woman wears and if she is wearing skimpy dresses and short skirts, she is asking for it. I was alarmed when I heard this and turned around to give him a piece of my mind. I told him the only way a woman is “asking” for sexual relations, is if she actually asks and gives permission. Women should not have to cover themselves up and not feel good about their body just for men. Women should not be taught to cover themselves to prevent rape, men should be taught not to rape.
    I have a friend who was raped and she has fear of going out alone or even if she is accompanied at night. She feels someone is always waiting for her and she does not feel safe anymore. Men can not comprehend the trauma that women go through after being rape. The feel of loss of power and control over one’s body is extremely traumatic and leaves both physical and emotional scars. I think that rape is an issue that is very underestimated and not taken seriously.
    Also, my cousin was friends with Audrey Pott’s sister and saw the trauma she was forced to go through. Where was the punishment for the men who caused a girl to feel so humiliated and used that she ended her life? Rape is not a joke and it should not be treated like one.

  18. I am not surprised that there is such little information behind the rape culture that in a way, made it seem very insignificant to people when they read about a rape victim’s story. People brushed it off simply because they could not understand the turmoils and emotional sufferings that rape victims suffers through or it is a taboo subject. In my home country, men gets women drunk then bring the latter to a hotel and “banged” them. And in many cases, we always ALWAYS judged it as the woman’s fault for bringing her guards down and not being careful enough. Never the fault of the rapist. The misconception of rape is a stereotype. What comes to my mind for a rape to be a rape case is when a girl gets dragged into the back alley, had forced sex consciously and then left to fend for themselves when their rapist is done with them. We are not taught enough about the rape culture. There is inadequate education about how rape could happen to men, how forced sex is rape which meant that no matter what the rape victims could be wearing or drunk or relation to the rapist, it still is a rape. I really hoped that the time will come soon for everyone to understand the rape culture and to be able to sympathize and understand the consequence for it.

  19. Taylor Nyulassy

    It amazes me that even with all of the knowledge we have acquired recently about rape and it’s affects on victims (not just women because men can be raped), people are able to make ignorant comments about the subject. Suggesting that a woman was “asking for it” or that a man cannot rape his wife because they are married only solidifies the fact that we need to better educate our people on this subject, especially our men. Since we live in a patriarchal society, educating men on the cause and effects of rape could be very powerful. Having both genders agree upon the ending rape/rape culture could do wonders in our society. A great quote I will always keep in mind about this subject is: “We need to stop teaching women how to not get raped and start teaching men how to not rape.” Once we start focusing on the root of the problem rather than how to fix the effects, I think we will be able to see a lot of change.
    I found this very moving slam poetry duo a couple months back that I think you would appreciate. I hope this can shed more light on the subject or atleast promote the conversation:

  20. wow. That is a lot of information to absorb. Something needs to be done about our society. I feel like it’s crumbling. I believe that you are definitely right that some women choose to dress more modestly so they feel safe. I know I do it a lot, to avoid men whistling or approaching me. It’s definitely a safety thing. I have never been assaulted but I spend a lot of time thinking about if it could happen and if someone tried to assault me would I be able to get away.

  21. Rape is one of the taboo to talk about and even if it happened it should still be secret because its going to effect the victim more than the rapist himself. In addition, I have heard stories with men rapping men and that’s even more embarrassing. But anyway, we mostly hear stories about children being rapped and those are the stories that take the most attention and in that case, the rapist gets executed. But about women, indeed, there is rape but its not very obvious, and I remember few years ago I have seen a series of TV show that discussed that issue where the plot that three women get rapped by guys. The status of those characters were: rich educated woman one of her students who comes from a religious family and a third girl who dies right after the incident. As for the rapists, were rich boys and one of them is the son of a minister. Well, long story short, it goes by how each family react to solve the problem and face the society. As for the first character, her husband insists on taking the revenge by himself, and she ends up divorced because she wanted to file a crime and that will bring shame to her and the family, other than loosing the case because who is she to win against the son of a minister. The other woman, her family knows about it, her brother decides to kill her, but instead her mum lets her “run away” to her uncles house in another city and gets married to cut off the shame. The story was quiet interesting because its true to a certain degree and each one tries to solve the problem by how he sees its right and how much can they trust the judge in those situations.

  22. The Man Up Campaign https://manupcampaign.org is another group that understands that rape is violence and causes horrible damage. I feel like that this denial is related to whatever dynamic is at play when someone hears that a person that they know, especially a family member, committed sexual assault or molestation, and they go into denial. I can’t figure that out either. Obviously this isn’t meant as a blanket statement- but there seems to be some sort of either “this is too awful to believe” or “i just can’t compute” going on.

    • It makes sense that that could be part of the problem. I wonder if some guys have been involved in this somehow. Maybe they were in a fraternity where they were encouraged to get girls drunk and have sex with them. And these guys didn’t want to admit to themselves that they or their brothers had committed rape.

      And thanks for the other link. So glad that more men are manning up!

  23. Couple of things –

    1) I’m not surprised that PTSD is higher among rape victims than among post-combat veterans. I know better than most how random triggers can be, but when you return from overseas, surely your exposure to triggers has decreased. Being able to be away from your triggers gives you the space to heal. A rape victim may not have that option – her attacker may still be in her life every day, or maybe she lives near where she was assaulted, or maybe men of a certain height make her afraid now – there’s a lot more possibilities for her triggers to be always in her face and unavoidable. So before someone chimes in and says, “10 years? Really? Get over it,” that’s not how trauma works. Trauma affects non-logical parts of the brain that don’t magically heal from the passage of time. It takes work.

    2) More than anything, I feel sorry for these guys that are intending to never have sex with an actual woman. Do they really think the world works this way? What they are saying is that they will never know the joy and vulnerability of an actual intimate relationship. They will never know what it’s like to navigate life with someone, to grow together, to create new life together. I understand that there are all sorts of reasons people choose to be single or choose never to get married or choose never to have kids, but these men are choosing to walk away from all of that for horrible reasons.

  24. I think it’s because they have been conditioned to think that women are by nature hysterical, (Freud’s legacy), and that they have a right to subdue them by force. I think, for the most part, that men have truly believed in this Freudian concept of women being hysterical and uncontrollable.

    • However, it’s interesting to see that even before Freud, man has been the “animal” (no offense intended). Marriage and moral dilemmas are human affairs, although chimps which have been investigated have shown that they also have moral dilemmas, they don’t escalate to the level of human’s. I believe we are all animals, as Darwin well said, and men are no exception. Men are known to develop language skills at a later stage than women. Men are also slower in developing fine motor skills. So I really believe there’s a biological reason here. Not that it cannot be helped nor improved though education; and not all of them are like that. Nevertheless, the pattern dating back to prehistoric times have shown this to be a prevalent behavior within a majority.

      • You don’t have to publish these comments; they are a bit exaggerated; but I truly believe in the biology factor on this one.

      • Which comments? I don’t know whether the men are exaggerating or they actually believe them. Either way, the fact that they say them at all shows how lacking they are in empathy and understanding. They exhibit the rape culture that we live in. And I didn’t publish that one comment from the “men going without women” Guy — except here, to show that these unempathetic sentiments exist.

        But I don’t get what you mean about biology. Rape is about anger and men trying to feel a sense of power and status when they feel like they don’t inhabit that space. It’s not about desire.

        In cultures that value women highly rape is virtually nonexistent. For example, the American Indians of the east coast of the Americas, before — and just after — whites arrived.

        As you get more sexist rape increases. For instance, rape and sexual harassment have increased in Egypt even as women have been covering up more than ever, compared to the 1950s when they dressed more like Americans and Europeans.

        As cultures become more gender equal, Rape goes down. I will be writing more about this in the future. Take a look at these posts:

        Mind of a Rapist: Trying to Bridge a Gap between a Small Self and a Big Man
        https://broadblogs.com/2010/10/26/mind-of-a-rapist-trying-to-bridge-a-gap-between-a-small-self-and-a-big-man/
        Rape Epidemic in South Africa. Why?
        https://broadblogs.com/2012/04/06/rape-epidemic-in-south-africa-why-2/
        What Do Rapists Want?
        https://broadblogs.com/2013/01/04/what-do-rapists-want/
        Indian Woman raped – above

        Assaulting Daisy to Create “Male Superiority”
        https://broadblogs.com/2013/10/25/assaulting-daisy-to-create-male-superiority/
        Ritual Degradation & Male “Superiority”
        https://broadblogs.com/2014/04/23/ritual-degradation-male-superiority/

      • Do you really feel that all rape fits the statement you made? “Rape is about anger and men trying to feel a sense of power and status when they feel like they don’t inhabit that space. It’s not about desire.”

        Seems to broad of a statement to me. But would love to understand your position.

      • It’s not entirely about desire. And even to the extent that desire is involved it’s much more about anger or an attempt to feel power — which is often tied to anger. There is one type of rapist — the sadist — who seems to combine desire and power in equal parts. In cultures that lack patriarchy (Few and far between) rape is virtually nonexistent. And yet desire continues.

        See these:

        Mind of a Rapist: Trying to Bridge a Gap between a Small Self and a Big Man
        https://broadblogs.com/2010/10/26/mind-of-a-rapist-trying-to-bridge-a-gap-between-a-small-self-and-a-big-man/
        Rape Epidemic in South Africa. Why?
        https://broadblogs.com/2012/04/06/rape-epidemic-in-south-africa-why-2/
        What Do Rapists Want?
        https://broadblogs.com/2013/01/04/what-do-rapists-want/
        Indian Woman raped – above
        Does Provocative Dress Ever Cause Rape?
        https://broadblogs.com/2011/09/26/does-provocative-dress-ever-cause-rape/

        Assaulting Daisy to Create “Male Superiority”
        https://broadblogs.com/2013/10/25/assaulting-daisy-to-create-male-superiority/
        Ritual Degradation & Male “Superiority”
        https://broadblogs.com/2014/04/23/ritual-degradation-male-superiority/

      • I just know of rapes that were between people that knew each other that were nothing about anger. They were about desire perhaps more sexually than anything else. I don’t think rape is always about control and hate when I hear that term since that’s just not true. Yes, a lot of rape is about control but you can’t say it’s all about control and be 100% accurate.

      • The vast majority of rapes occur between people who know each other. That doesn’t mean that the rapes aren’t about anger and men trying to feel a sense of power and status when they feel like they don’t inhabit that space.

        Even when desire is involved, is not just about desire. It is also about those other things.

        Sadistic rapists are partly motivated by sexual desire, But also motivated by the sense of power and control they feel.

        Or there is this quote from a man who talks about how angry he is that attractive women are trying to flaunt how attractive they are:

        “If I were actually desperate enough to rape somebody it would be from wanting that person, but also it would be a very spiteful thing, just being able to say ‘I have power over you and I can do anything I want with you’ because really I feel that they have power over me just by their presence. Just the fact that they can come up to me and just melt me makes me feel like a dummy, makes me want revenge.” https://broadblogs.com/2011/12/12/men-who-hate-pretty-women/

        Other times it is college or high school guys who are friends, Or on a sports team, or in a fraternity. And they sexually assault a young woman they know. This is about the guys trying to humiliate a girl to prove their status as male-dominant men.

        If it were truly only about desire, Why rape? There are other ways to get sex. Something else is also going on.

        And it leaves women losing desire for sex. So other men will suffer because the women they would like to have sex with are appalled at the thought of sexuality.

        You don’t find rape in cultures where women are valued.

        Is so sad that some men are willing to behave this way with the damage it causes women. Even your flippent comment is sad.

      • There can’t be a biological reason because you don’t find rape in all cultures.

        If it were biological you would have to find rape in all cultures.

        In cultures with gender equality the rates of rape are much lower. It was virtually unknown in gender-equal cultures like the American Cherokee and Iroquois, before contact with whites.

        In the United States as we have become more gender-equal, Rates of rape are down 75% since the early 1990s and incest is down 40% (Based on surveys of victims — people are randomly telephoned and asked whether certain crimes have been committed against them).

        As men feel less like they own their children, They are less likely to commit incest. As men feel less like they own women, They’re less likely to rape them. Overall, the more men respect and value women, the less violent they are toward them.

        Plus I mentioned that in cultures that have a strong history patriarchy, As women fight for greater rights the rate of rape and sexual harassment increases.

        There are very strong ties between Male dominant ideas and violence against women

      • Wow, I’m glad you published these Georgia! The bilogical view I hold in the comment stems from my personal belief that we are animals, and the domesticated kind. Of course, I believe we can educate and change; but even highly educated men will still commit rape and incest. This is where I digress that education alone cannot do the job. There is also, I believe, a strong biological principle here.

      • Yesterday I checked my “Pending” File — which I rarely do — and notice that I had somehow missed these.

        The idea that rape arises because we are animals doesn’t make sense for a variety of reasons:

        1. most animals don’t rape — very very few, in fact
        2. humans are not animals, anyway
        3. most men don’t rape
        4. in some cultures rape is virtually nonexistent
        5. in cultures where you do have rape, it is strongly correlated with patriarchy
        6. Rape is down 75% since the early 1990s in the US (based on victimization surveys by the US Justice Department) — which correlates with a drop in patriarchy
        7. even myths change when patriarchy comes. I will be writing more about how the world originally was not patriarchal and how the myths reflect that. And then how the myths change as patriarchy arises. For instance, the original Greek myths don’t have gods raping goddesses. That starts happening after patriarchy arises. It correlates with patriarchy. It’s a way of expressing to women that men are dominant and have power over them.

      • Okay, I agree, but once patriarchy established, the biological needs of men must be met, a priori, no questions asked. So it is like rape in the sense that it’s not consensual nor mutual. It’s like silent rape, because men must meet their biological needs first. I know it sounds medieval, but a true patriarchy behaves this way. Men’s needs must be met somehow, however.

      • This still makes no sense to me because it’s not like a sexual need of men is being met. It’s more like a desire for power is being met. It is not at all necessary — it’s not even effective in the long run. There’s a deeper problem that needs to be dealt with. Men can deal with sexual needs in a variety of ways that don’t harm women, if they don’t have an actual woman around to have consensual sex with: masturbation, porn (Or both), or prostitutes, for instance.

      • Okay, I see what you mean, I see the psychology involved with what you’re saying. Thanks once again.

      • You’re welcome. I do hope it helps.

    • Thanks so much for these links. You’re right, rape is not about biology. And I do have some PTSD from the past, so I will only be able comment in some of the posts. Nevertheless you have a great, educational blog, and I hope you keep on writing such good articles. You can publish this one if you like.

    • I don’t think so. Just because someone was hysterical and uncontrollable by would you rape them? Imeem, parents don’t rape their children when they act that way. It just doesn’t make sense as a response to that behavior.

      And when you actually see interviews with men who have raped they say things like, “for once in my life I felt like I had a little bit of power.” (Cary Stayner) another guy talked about how he had been fired from his job, his girlfriend was mad at him, and he basically felt powerless and angry, And took it out on the next person he saw. He said it could’ve been a guy. Basically, he just wanted to get a sense of his power back. Plus, rape and sexual harassment are both rising in countries where women are fighting for greater rights, Like India and Egypt. Taking over someone’s body is the way to make a person feel really powerful and in control and feeling a sense of dominance and superiority over the person they are assaulting. Making women feel like men have power over them.

      Some posts that are related:

      Mind of a Rapist: Trying to Bridge a Gap between a Small Self and a Big Man
      https://broadblogs.com/2010/10/26/mind-of-a-rapist-trying-to-bridge-a-gap-between-a-small-self-and-a-big-man/
      Rape Epidemic in South Africa. Why?
      https://broadblogs.com/2012/04/06/rape-epidemic-in-south-africa-why-2/
      What Do Rapists Want?
      https://broadblogs.com/2013/01/04/what-do-rapists-want/

      • I think Freud left women a very negative legacy, and that is that the “hysterical” woman is indeed more vulnerable. Of course, not every woman that becomes hysterical will be raped. Nevertheless, the behaviour may induce a man to think that she is weaker, or has a castration complex. This is Freud’s legacy Georgia. And I can speak because I was a victim of incest, the silent rape no one likes to talk about.

      • I’m simply not aware of any instance at all where a woman was raped because she was acting hysterical. And it doesn’t make any sense to me as to why anyone would– let alone the fact that there’s no evidence that this has ever happened.

        That doesn’t mean that a man might not come up with a justification of the sort. But men who rape come up with crazy justifications all the time. Like “she smiled at me, And She wanted it” or “she looked at me, she wanted it.” “she was walking around late at night… Wearing a short skirt… Some hair fell from her Burka… Who could resist?”

        But when you look at the circumstances and how the men talk about it, they were basically searching to feel empowered — to get their power back from a sense of disempowerment. Some are looking for status, Like with guys who gang rape because of pressure from other men. Or guys to get women drunk because they will gain points for “scoring.”

        I’m so sorry that you were attacked as a young girl. But if you think about the person who attacked you there’s a good possibility that he (Presumably) has felt disempowered for some reason. Maybe he had lost power or status in his work. Maybe he had been attacked as a young boy and was now attacking you to gain his power back. Or any other number of possibilities.

      • Okay, I see where you’re coming from. Yes, you’re right. I tend to see men as impulsive in general, or too authoritative. I was not attacked, I just had one incident with my dad that was not apropriate, so it’s taken me forever to heal this, how, well with men who are kind, and understanding, and reading what you’re saying here. Thanks for explaining this because I need to hear it. I need to read these things over and over again Georgia, so thanks.

      • You’re welcome. I hope it helps.

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