What is not to be misunderstood in any way is that rape is definitely the most heinous crime any person can commit. The physical, psychological and emotional repercussions are immense to a point that they are virtually beyond description, but what is often misunderstood is the motivation for the crime being committed in the first place.
Contrary to popular belief, the motivation for the majority of rapes that occur in the world is not male lust. This false perception, when tied in with the grossly offensive and outdated notion that women have to act in some kind of proper way in order to be the custodians of sex and procreation because men are incapable of controlling their sexual urges, is also directly responsible for the victim blaming that occurs when a rape takes place. Victim blaming, refers to the notion that the woman somehow encouraged her own rape by dressing in some provocative way or responding to the rapists initial sexual advances and incidentally, female jurors in the USA statistically show a higher proclivity for victim blaming than male jurors do. But if lust is not the motivation for the vast majority of rapes, what is?
In broad terms and without getting into too much psycho babble, the two most common motivations for rape is male insecurity and male anger.
Insecure men (even those who do not show it) turn into what is termed humiliation rapists and their insecurity stems from a feeling of inadequacy with regards to women or other men that is often due to personal aspects like educational or professional failures, social awkwardness, broken or violent homes as children and in some extreme cases overly aggressive or seductive mothers. Humiliation rapists then seek to reaffirm their own manhood through the physical and emotional humiliation of their victims. Due to their insecurity and often cowardice, humiliation rapists tend to operate by conning their victims into a situation or location that would facilitate the commiting of the crime.
Anger rapists on the other hand rape because they project their anger at a certain person onto their victims. The anger most often stems from having had “unhealthy” homes as children with a pattern of drug or alcohol abuse, but religious or political extremism has been quoted in some cases. Unlike the humiliation rapists they are known for professional success and social adeptness, which makes them more dangerous than humiliation rapists, even though they show a less frequent pattern of rape. Anger rapists seek an outlet for their anger (sexual gratification in some instances) through the suffering and, in many cases, the death of their victims. Anger rapists also use the con method of attacking their victims due to their social abilities, but they are far more criminally sophisticated and organised, which makes them more likely to use a blitz attack, like abducting a victim from a public place like a parking garage.
What becomes clear from this is that the mere notion that “we should educate men that rape is wrong” would be rather ineffectual and that the most power to stop this scourge on our country lies in the hands of potential victims. I also find it a case of too little too late when a rapist is jailed when viewed through the eyes of a particular victim because it does not undo the damage that has already been done. This brings us to the next question; is it possible to spot a potential rapist?
As a matter of fact, it is. All rapists (and abusers too) share certain character traits that could assist one in identifying men that could be prone to rape and spousal abuse. Any combination of the following thirteen behavioral traits (where it forms a habit) indicates a higher likelihood that you are dealing with a potential rapist or abuser.
1. Insensitivity towards others/emphasis on self – Does he place an unhealthy emphasis on his own needs, feelings and well-being often with a blatant disregard for others? He feels the world owes him everything he wants or needs and will try to make you feel bad for not doing what he wants.
2. Belittling comments or behaviours towards others – Does he habitually make nasty comments about other people with regards to race, income, social standing or gender, even under the guise of joking? If he can consider himself superior to others based on whatever criteria, then he can consider himself superior on the basis of gender too.
3. Negating behaviour or comments – Does he try to tell you what you are thinking or feeling or more importantly what you are not? If he can attempt to project his feelings or thoughts onto you, what is to stop him from doing the same thing sexually?
4. Hostile or threatening language – What choice of words does he use? An habitual choice of words, like calling women “bitches,” indicates a subconscious assumption about certain topics and doing something is not that far removed from thinking about it.
5. Bullying – Does he make constant use of overt or subtle threats? Bullies are cowards by nature and will always get violent (as opposed to the threat of violence) with someone they consider weaker and safer. Bullying can quite easily turn sexual too.
6. Excessive anger – Does he go off at the slightest little thing? This can indicate that there is much lingering anger already and that he will need to vent at some stage. Virtually nothing stands in his way of doing this sexually.
7. Brooding/Revenge – How long does he hold on to anger? Men like this have to win at all costs and will often turn their attention to those who refuse their sexual advances.
8. Obsession – Why can’t he get the message? Closely tied in with no.7, this is most commonly seen with acquaintance rapes, because the constant rejection of his sexual advances can turn to anger; do not be alone with him.
9. Extreme mood swings – Does he go from being very happy to extremely sad at the drop of a hat? Men like this can often use their “hurt feelings” as justification for an unlimited amount of violence and damage. A common indication of people with anger issues.
10. Physical Tantrums – What does he do when he gets angry? Men who often launch an assault on their environment can easily turn their violence on you.
11. Jock or Gorilla mentality – The jock mentality promotes the use of violence and aggression in order to achieve some goal through positive reinforcement and is common among participants in contact sports. It could often cause them to fail to differentiate between the sports arena and normal life.
12. Mean Drunks – A person’s actions when intoxicated always show what lurks underneath. Do not put yourself in a situation where you have to deal with him alone and most importantly, ensure that you are in full control of your faculties.
13. Alcohol or Drug Abuse – The overwhelming majority of rape cases involve some form of intoxication on the part of the rapist. The drugs don’t necessarily cause him to rape, but it diminishes the social taboo of actually doing it. Be careful.
Do note that not all men who exhibit these traits are rapists or spousal abusers and that certain rapists will exhibit very few or none of them depending on their criminal sophistication, but they are clear danger signs that this man can turn violent.
For Melissa’s sake, I won’t call this a manual, so let’s call it a guide.