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Commentary:

Same-Sex Marriage: Not in the Best Interest of Children (May / June 2009 issue of “The Therapist,” a publication of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists—CAMFT)

LGBT Curriculum Coming to an Elementary School near You (May 2009)

Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Will Increase Prevalence of Homosexuality:
Research Provides Significant Evidence (September 29, 2008)

Pro-Homosexual Researchers Conceal Findings:
Children Raised by Openly Homosexual Parents More Likely to Engage in Homosexuality (June 30, 2008)

A Review and Analysis of Research Studies Which Assessed
Sexual Preference of Children Raised by Homosexuals (June 30, 2008)

Love Isn’t Enough: 5 Reasons Why Same-Sex Marriage Will Harm Children (October 15, 2007)

Perceptions of Evil One Year After 9/11: A Psychological Analysis (September 2002)

Journalists and the Pedophile Smokescreen

Feminist Infantilization and Filicide

The Politics of Rape: Debunking the Feminist Myth

Dissertation:

An Investigation of Object Relations, Reality Testing, Erotophobia, and Defenses in Mothers of Incest Victims (1996)

 

The Politics of Rape:
Debunking the Feminist Myth

By Trayce Hansen, Ph.D.

“Rape isn’t about sex!” That’s what feminists proclaim. And they’ve declared it so continuously and persuasively over the last few decades, most of our society have come to believe it. The fact is, it’s not true—it’s a myth.

Rape used to be considered an act of sexual assault—“sexual” being the operative word—perpetrated by a man of weak moral character and criminal inclination. But this commonsense truth has been replaced with a politically-motivated myth that has had long-reaching, negative effects on both rape victims and society.

The politicization of rape, and the denial of truth it required, was spearheaded by feminists in the early 1970s. Since then they’ve worked diligently to transform the way society views rape. Specifically, feminists want rape to be seen as a politically motivated crime rather than a sexually motivated one. And, to a significant extent they’ve been successful in their effort.

Susan Brownmiller first popularized the politicized view of rape in her 1975 book Against Our Will—Men, Women and Rape. The back cover of Brownmiller’s feminist tome boldly states “it [rape] is not a crime of lust but of violence and power.” Brownmiller’s contention, however, as well as the rape-isn’t-about-sex myth it helped propagate, had more to do with ideological goals and political expediency than logic and scientific fact.

The feminists’ re-defining of rape was, in part, a philosophical necessity because of their belief in the interchangeability of personal and political experiences (i.e., the personal is political). But there were other reasons as well.

Feminism’s political redefinition of rape was driven by three basic ideological tenets, and, more critically, by one strategic decision.

First is feminism’s ideological belief in “secular creation,” a view held by many on the left that presumes man is born a blank slate, only becoming that which his culture teaches him to become. Hence, rapists are societal creations whose tendencies can be eradicated once the “culture of rape” is eradicated. Next is feminism’s ideological belief that all male-female interactions must, by definition, be viewed through the lens of power and domination. Naturally then, rape also must be seen through this distorted prism. Third is the feminists’ denial of any difference between male and female sexuality, because, in their lexicon, different means inferior. Thus, since these feminist women couldn’t identify in themselves a sexual urge to rape, then rape by men must also be other than sexually motivated. Finally, and most importantly, feminists strategically concluded that if rape was perceived as motivated “only” by sex, then it would be of limited political value, but if instead rape was seen as motivated by male desire to dominate and control women, then it could be used as a powerful political tool for radical cultural change. Specifically, feminists decided that if they could convince society that male domination was the rapist’s true motivation, then the end of rape would necessarily require an end to the traditional patriarchal culture said to support that domination. Rape would become the symbolic sword that radical feminists hoped would help them slay what they perceived as the evil dragon of “traditional” culture—their ultimate sociopolitical objective.

But feminism’s ultimate sociopolitical objective is tragically ironic, because it is living in a traditional patriarchal family that most protects young women from the likelihood of rape, and young men from the likelihood of becoming rapists. To put it simply, a young woman’s vulnerability to rape is greatly reduced if she lives with a father or husband, and a young man is far less likely to become a rapist if he grows up with a father in his home. Yet radical feminists apparently won’t allow this truth to impinge upon their political agenda. Because, to paraphrase nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dennis Prager, feminists’ psychological animus towards men, more than their love and care of women, is what most ignites their sociopolitical passions.

Society’s passions, however, must be ignited by truth. Even though the raping behavior of a specific individual likely involves a complex intertwining of motivations, the one common and overriding motivation of all rapists is sexual. So let’s examine some commonsense and empirical truths about rape that debunk the feminist rape-isn’t-about-sex myth and support the contention that rape is about sex.

First, rape is universal; it’s universal across time, across cultures and societies, and even across many species. This fact is clearly validated by data in biologist Randy Thornhill and anthropologist Craig T. Palmer’s book A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion. Specifically, Thornhill and Palmer’s documentation supports the contention that no rape-free human society has ever existed and that many non-human animal species do engage in raping behaviors. If rape were an act promoted or encouraged by specific patriarchal or political environments, as feminists assert, it’s inconceivable that rape would be found in all societies throughout recorded time. Similarly, if rape were an act solely dependent upon patriarchal cultural learning, one would find it difficult to explain the prevalence of raping behaviors among animal species (other than homo-sapiens) without such a cultural influence. Rape’s universality thus emphasizes the point that rape is “natural,” though obviously not good, and that it isn’t created by any particular sociopolitical environment.

Second, the behaviors and motives of rapists are comparable to that of other criminal types and, when analyzed in this straightforward manner, the sexual motivation of rapists becomes apparent. Consider this. If a criminal sees your money and wants it, he takes it. If a criminal sees your car and wants it, he takes it. If a criminal sees you and wants you sexually, he takes you. These are amongst the immoral tendencies of criminals—they take what they want with a callous disregard for their victims. If you ponder the fundamental motivation behind these various criminal acts, a parallel analogy holds true. The mugger is motivated by his desire for your money, the car thief by his desire for your car, and the rapist by his desire for you sexually. The primary motives of all criminal types, including rapists, are easily discernable—no conspiratorial explanations are necessary.

Third, most rapists use only enough force to accomplish their goal of sexual access. If a rapist’s goal was other than sex, such as a desire to inflict violence upon his victim, why do most rapists not inflict high degrees of physical injuries on their victims? They certainly have the opportunity to do so. In 1991, Lee Ellis of Minot State University reported that studies of “date” rapists clearly demonstrate that these men try many tactics first (i.e., encouraging intoxication, professing love, verbally pressuring) before they resort to physically coercive tactics. Based on these particular facts it must be concluded that, at least for “date” rapists, a desire to have sex is the motivating factor, and only after exhausting less coercive tactics did these rapists resort to physical domination. As an aside, a small minority of rapists are sadistic and therefore are additionally motivated by a desire to violently aggress against, dominate, and humiliate their victims. But sadistic rapists are the exception and not the rule and are readily differentiated from most rapists by their tendency to mete out more violence than is necessary to subdue their victim. The majority of rapists, however, both stranger and “date,” use only enough aggression to accomplish their sexual goal. This is where feminists and others have become “confused”; they’ve obscured the distinction between the tactics used and the goals sought during rape. For the vast majority of rapists, aggression and control are simply the means to the end, the end being sexual access.

Fourth, a desire for sexual access is the only motive underlying rape that’s both necessary and sufficient. In contrast to this assertion, Palmer and Thornhill point out that the feminist theory of rape holds that it’s a non-sexual motive that is both necessary and sufficient. But are any of the motives feminists posit (i.e., political oppression, violent domination, control, etc.) both necessary and sufficient? Ask yourself the following questions (although you can substitute any motivation for the one chosen as an example): Is it necessary for a man to have a desire to politically oppress a woman before he can rape her? Is a rapist’s political motive, in the absence of any sexual motive, sufficient for a rape to occur? The answer to both of these questions is no!

On the other hand, it is necessary for a man to have some type of sexual desire before he can rape. And a rapist’s sexual motive, even in the absence of all other motives, is sufficient for a rape to occur. Some desire for sexual access is always necessary during rape and is even sufficient unto itself; no other motive is both.

Fifth, demographic data on rapists and rape victims point to a sexual motive underlying rape. The majority of rapists are men between their teens and 20s, a time of life during which men are the most sexually driven. Next, consider the fact that the majority of rape victims are between the ages of 16 and 24, the age group in which women are considered the most sexually attractive. The result of this analysis is straightforward; the men who are most sexually driven are the ones most likely to rape and they’re most likely to rape women who are generally considered to be the most sexually attractive. Additionally, according to data in Thornhill and Palmer’s book A Natural History of Rape, rapists are more likely to engage in penile-vaginal intercourse, as well as in multiple acts of intercourse, when the victim is in this most-sexually-attractive age category. Coincidence? Does anyone really believe that if a rapist were offered a roomful of women from which he could select a rape victim, that every women in that room (old and young, ugly and beautiful, thin and fat) would have an equal chance of being “selected”? Of course not!

Sixth, most rapists themselves say that sex was the motivating factor underlying their crimes. Professor Lee Ellis of Minot State University wrote, “Even among rapists who victimize strangers, self-reports have given little indication that their real objective is to dominate their victims (or women generally), except to the extent that doing so aids in gaining copulatory access.” Thornhill and Palmer concur with Professor Ellis and specifically mention a doctoral dissertation authored by S. Smithyman that found 84% of rapists reported that sex, in whole or part, was the motivating force behind their actions. Contradictory research, often referred to by feminists, which claims that rapists report power and control as their motivation, frequently contain serious flaws. For example, many were done with incarcerated rapists, or other rapists who’d already been “re-educated” to give the “correct” response, while still others were done with rapists who may have believed that proclaiming a non-sexual motive was more likely to lead to their being deemed enlightened and thus “cured.” Although self-reporting is by definition biased, the least confounded proclamations by rapists supports the contention that sex is the driving force behind the act of rape.

Finally, and perhaps most empirically supportive of the hypothesis that sex is the fundamental motivation behind rape, are the results of surgical and chemical castration research.

John Bradford, M.D. authored a chapter in Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment where he summarized results of surgical castration research. Although surgical castration studies are unreplicatable today due to “ethical” considerations, they are theoretically important because, as Bradford writes, surgical castration’s “mechanism of action … is the reduction of plasma testosterone, the principal hormone for the maintenance of sexual behavior in males and the hormone involved in sexual drive.” Surgical castration studies therefore can shed considerable light on the degree to which a rapist’s sex drive is involved in his raping behavior. Bradford reviewed several studies that examined both pre- and post-surgical castration recidivism rates of sexual deviants, mostly rapists and child molesters. The results of these studies (which included large numbers of subjects over long periods of time) reported significant reductions in sex offender recidivism rates ranging from more than 70% precastration to under 5% postcastration. Regardless of how one looks at it, these are truly impressive success rates and do indeed offer illuminating clarity.

A fair amount of research has also analyzed the effects of chemical castration on rapists and other sexual offenders. Chemical castration works similarly to surgical castration through its impact on male sexual hormone levels. Professor Lee Ellis wrote that “Various [chemical castration agents] have been shown to reduce testosterone and thereby diminish self-reported libido in men … including men involved in various sex offenses.” Thornhill and Palmer described results of other long-term chemical castration studies specifically done with rapists and wrote there is “considerable evidence to suggest that [chemical castration agents] reduce sexual crimes.” John Bradford summarized the whole of chemical castration research by writing “Long-term outcome studies have shown that [chemical castration] reduces sexual offender recidivism and compares favorably with the surgical castration studies.”

Results of both the surgical and chemical castration research demonstrate that when the sexual drive of rapists is dramatically reduced, the likelihood that they will rape again is dramatically reduced. Sexual drive must therefore be considered the motivating force underlying the behavior of those rapists.

Ashamedly, most feminists do not support the use of any type of castration for rapists. This isn't surprising because to support castration would necessitate admitting that rape is sexually driven. This incredible fact once again points out that radical feminists allow their ideological agenda to trump scientific evidence—even if the application of that science would help protect other women from rape.

But what of the “evidence” gathered by feminists and other so-called social scientists in support of their rape-isn’t–about-sex hypothesis? Two psychology professors at the University of Texas in Austin, Del Thiessen and Robert Young, decided to take a look. Professors Thiessen and Young analyzed the bulk of this literature and reported their findings in a 1994 issue of the journal, Society. Their analysis of 1,610 abstracts of sexual coercion studies (with sexual coercion defined as rape, date rape, acquaintance rape, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and incest) published between 1982 and 1992, revealed unscientific and politically biased studies. For instance, Thiessen and Young reported that only 10 percent of the studies they analyzed had sought to uncover the causes or motivations of sexual coercion, often because the “cause” (i.e., male oppression) had been assumed, though not proven. They also found that only 1.5 percent of the studies examined had even applied a statistical test to a research question. And, significant due to their near complete absence (.002 percent), were studies that addressed biological issues because, as the authors noted, biological theories are considered taboo in the feminist world because they call into question foundational, ideological tenets of feminism. Perhaps most tragic was Thiessen and Young’s observation that little or no progress had been made in understanding sexual coercion because of the unscientific nature of the overwhelming majority of studies in this area.

In a scathing summary of their analysis, Theissen and Young wrote “The possibility exists that feminist interests enforce the orientation of published studies … and reflects the political perspectives of its advocates. … There is a near-total disregard for rigorous testing of hypotheses, quantification of data and possible biological mechanisms. Many studies appear anti-scientific in conception, execution, and interpretation. … But in the politicized arena of ‘women’s issues,’ social expressions are valued beyond scientific progress.”

Theissen and Young’s comprehensive analysis revealed the fact that the vast majority of sexual coercion studies are more ideological proselytizing than they are scientific analysis of research hypotheses. Charles Leslie of the University of Delaware made similar observations when he wrote of the social sciences in general, “Non social scientists generally recognize the fact that the social sciences are mostly ideological, and that they have produced in this century a very small amount of scientific knowledge. … Our claim to being scientific is one of the main intellectual scandals of the academic world.” So not only have feminists and their social science compatriots blurred the line between the personal and the political, they’ve also blurred the line between ideology and science. This blurring may be good for promoting the feminist agenda but it’s anathema to scientific discovery and truth finding.

When the commonsense and empirical evidence concerning rape motivation are examined in their entirety, without the distorting lens of a political agenda, it’s quite difficult to conclude that rape is anything but an act principally motivated by sex. This conclusion is not good or bad—it’s just inescapably true!

It’s obvious, then, that radical feminists aren’t believers in truth; they’re “true believers.” Even though routinely confronted with contradictory logic and objective data concerning the motivation of rapists, the feminists’ fanatic faith never seems to falter. That’s because their faith, like that of all “true believers,” emanates emotionally and psychologically rather than intellectually. Moreover, as radicals, these feminists believe that their end justifies their means. Hence, if erroneous myths must be promulgated in order to bring an end to the traditional patriarchal culture they despise, then so be it.

The goal of a moral society, as opposed to that of radical feminists, must be the search for truth. This is why our society can’t allow the feminist sociopolitical agenda to blind us to the fundamental truth of the causes and motivation underlying rape. Rape is not a political act of male domination and patriarchal control, as feminists conspiratorially allege. It’s a heinous act rooted in sexual desire that’s perpetrated by an immoral, criminally-inclined individual.

Radical feminists, and misguided others, obviously have the right to despise traditional culture and to wish to vanquish it. But, like the rest of us, they must make their case in an up-front manner, employing intellectual and moral persuasion and not, as they’ve been doing for nearly three decades, through the backdoor with fear-mongering, gender-baiting, and pseudo-scientific mythmaking. It’s long past time to debunk once and for all the destructive rape-isn’t-about-sex myth propagated by radical feminists and shed much needed light on what appears to be their real agenda—the toppling of traditional culture.


REFERENCES

Bradford, J. (1997). In Laws, D.R., & O’Donohue, W. (Eds.), Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment. (pp.449-464).

Brownmiller, S. (1975). Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape.

Ellis, L. (1991). A synthesized (biosocial) theory of rape. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 59(5), 631-642.

Leslie, C. (1990). Scientific racism: Reflections on peer review, science and ideology. Social Science and Medicine, 31(8), 891-912.

Theissen, D., & Young, R.K. (1994). Investigating sexual coercion. Society, 60(March/April), 60-63.

Thornhill, R. & Palmer, C.T. (2000). A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion. Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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©2001 Dr. Trayce Hansen. All rights reserved.

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