Experience Contra Cause

It has become conventional wisdom – by virtue of aggressive and dogmatic repetition – that rape is about violence rather than sex; “is” here in the strong sense of “is and is nothing but”. From the perspective of the victim this is undoubtedly true. We are entirely justified in saying that the victim’s experience of being raped is all about violence and not about sex, and this is sufficient for our condemnation of the act.

For understanding its causes, however, this is by no means sufficient. It cannot be generally legitimate to extrapolate the motives of the perpetrator from the subjective experience of the victim. Were that to be so, we would have to posit that the mugger takes wallets, not in order to obtain the money, about which he does not care a whit, but solely to cause shock, distress and subsequent agoraphobia in the wallet’s rightful owner. But of course, no one would dream of either treating rape as the sexual equivalent of unlawful economic redistribution, or of asking the rapist why he did it. Were we to do the latter, and were the rapist to say that he was unbearably horny, this would be equated with claiming he did it because the woman wanted sex.

This whole discussion suffers from a narcissistic inability to distinguish between Self and Other; there can be no possible perspective or explanation other than what the victim herself feels. And because the experience of victims is more or less uniform, it becomes axiomatic that the motivations of rapists are similarly identical.

Some rapes, for example of the elderly, those penetrating the women with inanimate objects, and those employing violence well above what is necessary to subdue the victim, do indeed point to misogynistic rage rather than sexual desire. The fact remains, however, that more young women than grannies are raped. This thesis also seems to contradict another common claim, namely that men are wired for coercive sex; an extreme case of the cod-evolutionist idea that male reproductive success means scattering one’s seed widely. Feminist opposition to the biological sciences is here highly selective. It appears intuitively obvious that sex and violence cannot be mutually exclusive, and equally improbable that male anger against women is nothing to do with sex. Is bank robbery about money or about guns? Rape is clearly about a mixture of sex and rage, the precise balance of ingredients no doubt varying from case to case.

Posted on September 12, 2011 at 08:50 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: ON PC; OR "WHAT WOULD MS. GRUNDY SAY?", All Men Are Rapists?

4 Responses

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  1. Written by urban
    on September 12, 2011 at 15:10


    All trial lawyers know that eye-witness testimony, particularly that of victims, is worthless in any quest for the truth of what actually happened. But juries are swayed by eye-witness testimony and many an innocent has been put away or sent to the gallows on that basis with little or no corroborating physical evidence. How do I know they were innocent? Because DNA analysis has been very revealing.

    What does this have to do with rape? Because rape is a crime that always leaves DNA evidence it is a natural candidate for a study of eye-witness reliability. And studies have been done. It turns out that the vast, overwhelming majority of positive identifications by victims of rape are exonerated by the DNA evidence. “That’s him! That’s the man who raped me!” Impossible.

    What fascinates me about this is the general reaction that I have gotten any number of times from women when I bring this up, not in a discussion about rape mind you, but rather about justice. At least one woman inevitably gets angry with me. I might even get ganged up on. Insisting that the primary job of the justice system is punishing the guilty and freeing the innocent is immediately interpreted as a justification for rape! Wow!

    Almost all back down (and some even self-reflect openly about their knee-jerk reaction) when I point out that the implications of their stance is that they don’t care if the actual rapist goes free to rape again and again as long as some male, any male is punished. But the defensive posture is revealing. This is science encroaching on female turf. It’s a diminishment of female power to admit that anything felt deeply by any woman could possibly be wrong. Narcissism rears its pretty head again.

    Now I don’t talk to most people, male or female, about things like justice, so I’m loathe to generalize too much from all this, but I can spot a pattern!

  2. Written by Hugo Grinebiter
    on September 12, 2011 at 16:58

    “the implications of their stance is that they don’t care if the actual rapist goes free to rape again and again”

    That’s a point I lined up for the end of the week. Science encroaching on turf? I hadn’t thought of that explanation. I don’t think so, though, because you’d get the same reaction if the accused proved he was 1000 miles away at the time, rather than being exonerated through DNA. Nothing scientific about an alibi, in the strict sense. But if you gloss “science” as “when the real world contradicts your narcissism”, then we might agree.

    There was a really weird case in Ayrshire a while back, when the man fingered for rape by the police was a friend of the victim, who insisted it wasn’t him at all but some other man. They still sent him down. I don’t think that fits the schemata of either side; probably some copper settling scores.

  3. Written by urban
    on September 12, 2011 at 17:57

    “But if you gloss “science” as “when the real world contradicts your narcissism”, then we might agree. ”

    I think that’s a lovely working definition for these and similar cases. Saves a lot of keystrokes.

  4. Written by urban
    on September 12, 2011 at 18:09

    “That’s a point I lined up for the end of the week. ”

    Quite aside from the fact that this attitude reflects an atavistic retreat into the most primitive sort of retributive justice in which a community is purged of some curse or stain through human sacrifice, the concept of collective guilt implied therein alone ought to be sufficient cause for rejection by women–even if only because that sort of thing has so typically worked against women.

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