From: jlnich1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (jln)
Date: Sun, 7 Jul 1996 16:18:18 -0600
Considering the recent discussion and my own participation in it which was
based, admittedly all along, on the assumption of the truth of statistics I
learned as an undergrad, I sought out some more recent information on rape.
My source is RObert Crooks and Karla Baur, _Our Sexuality_, 4th edition,
1990, pp 715- 720.
"Many of the men incarcerated for rape offenses ap[pear to have a strong
proclivity toward violence that is often refelctred in their act of rape.
This fact, along with certain assumptions about male-female relatrionships,
resulted in a number of feminist writers taking the position that rape is
not sexually motivated but rather an act of power and domination. This
viewpoint prevailed for a number of years, during which time the sexual
component of rape and other assualtive offenses was de-emphasized. However,
recent research has made it clear that while power and domination is often
involved in sexual coercion such acts are also frequently motivated by a
desire for sexual gratigfication. Our awareness of this fact has been
enhanced by several excellent studies of the incidence and nature of
sexual coercion among populations of nonincarcerated males. Particularly
noteworthy in this regard is the growing body of data pertaining to date
rape, which we discuss shortly.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that rape is more often a
product of socialization processes that occur within the fabric of "normal"
society than of severe pathology of the individual rapist. Strong support
for this view that rape is in many ways a cultural phenomenon was provided
by the research of Peggy Reeves Sanday (1981), an anthropologist who
compared the incidence of rape in 95 societies. Sanday's important
research revealed that women in America are several hundred times as likely
to be raped as are women in certain other societies. Her research
iundicated that the incidence of rape in a given society is influenced by
several important cultural factors: the nature of the relations between the
sexes, the status of women, and the attitudes boys acquire during theior
developmental years. Snadyay found that societies with a high incidence of
rape, which she labeled "rape-prone" tolerate and even glorify ,asculine
what is the nature of a society in which men do not rape? WOmen
and men in rape-free societies share power and authority, and both
contribute equally to the community welfare. In addition, children of both
sexes in these societies are raised to value nurturance and to avoid
aggression and violence...."
They then list four types of rapist: sexual gratification rapist,
Anger rapist, power rape, and sadistic rape.
1) in the first paragraph they do not inform the reader of whether the
definitions of rape have changed because of studies or whether the findings
of studies have changed because of a change in definitions. Case in
point,the growing body of data concerning date rape. How did this body
becomes established as "date rape" or more specifically as a kind of
"rape." Did it fit the previous category of rape or did that category get
widened. This becomes a crucial question in the debate when we realize
that rape for sexual gratification is associated most often with date or
acquaintance rape. Including "date rape" within the category of rape
impacts the determination of whether rape is motivated for sexual
gratification or from violence, which is where this debate began. There
are probably easy answers to these questions, but they do need to be
answered. Even so, it may be that researchers have normatively defined
rape to include "date rape" or "rape" motivated by a desire for sexual
gratification. All well and good but on what basis did they do this?
2) I doubt that anyone did not beleive that rape was a product of
socialization. This is the form my argument took to show why rape is
probably power motivated and not sexually motivated. However, we receive
two interesting points of fact from this reading:
a) some socieities are rape free. I suggested this might be the case
earlier according to the ways societies developed. This, then, contra
Durflinger, allows me to reask the question what is the difference between
rape and persecution of jews or any other group?
b) rape is still tied in with violent or agrresive societies, and so there
is still some essential link between violence or power and rape. The
person who first posted on this subject argued that rape was mainly
sexually motivated. That person wrote:
>The sexual approach of rape
>(True:rape & sexual harassment are power plays; however
>rape is more a crime of sexual passion than a crime of violence)
I was arguing against thids point, and not that rape is not motivated by
both sexual desire and power (as Durflinger suggests and which I never
What we find in the anthropological analysis is that rape-prone socieiteis
are ones in which men are taught to be aggresive and in which there are
power discrepancies between men and women. Much of my suggestions and
analysis probably still holds then.
3) I will, on the above information, change my position in the following
way: rather than seeing rape as simply power motivated, I see rape as
motivated by several factors of which power is a main player. In societies
which see women as weaker, rape is a means of making women fear their
masters and a means by which men may assert their dominance. Sexual
gratification enters as the fuel to this form of power expression.