Friday, February 15, 2013

Thoughts on the Crime of Rape

Rape is a monumentally detestable crime, perpetrated mostly by men on women (but not exclusively, for sure).  The misconception is widespread that rape is primarily a sexual act.  Although it almost always involves a sexual organ - almost always the penis - it has nothing to do with procreation, and little to do with sexual pleasure.  It's an act of violence, not sex.  Thus, the old argument that "Well, she was asking for it!" is a pathetic excuse for an excuse.  That's the excuse of a bully on the playground.  It has no basis in reality.  Only some sort of masochist would ask for physical, sexual abuse!  The reality is that the act is about forcing the rapist's will on someone else, about humiliating their victim - that's how the rapist gets off.  Many rapists are excited by the resistance of the victim, hoping to terrorize her/him - their sick egos feed off that fear.  For such, the terror they induce is their primary goal and the rapist may not even be able to have an erection without first inducing that naked fear.  The ones who rape their victims while they're unconscious (either after a beating or by drugs/alcohol) apparently are excited by the feeling of having "dominated" the victim.  And of course they're stimulated by the process of rendering their victim helplessly vulnerable to their sexual assault - more evidence that rape mostly an act of violence.  Rapists evidently need that feeling to be able to function.

The notion that some men are helplessly propelled into assault by their sexual attraction to their victims and simply can't resist that urge makes no sense to me.  Surely it doesn't apply to almost all of the men I've ever known.  Although I find many women attractive, it's not all that difficult to separate sex from a personal relationship.  I honor my relationship with my wife and wouldn't throw that away for mindless sexual gratification, ever!  Not for some sexual dalliance, and certainly never by an act of violence!  I respect the women with whom I interact and, while I continue to be a human being, it's that very humanity that makes repulsive the very idea of sexually assaulting a fellow human.  It's not only immoral to force one's will on others, but it speaks to a pathetic, deep-seated inferiority that's being compensated for by an act of dominance.  If you have confidence in yourself, respect for others comes naturally.  There's no need for someone secure in their own skin to dominate another person with physical (or mental) abuse.  To be a rapist is to have a pathology that may be difficult, if not impossible, to cure.

A few comments about statutory rape - societies often  decree that sexual intercourse should be limited to consenting adults.  In nature, a pubescent child is physically able to engage in sex and even bear children.  Even when the act is consented to by both parties, the implication is that when below the age of consent, that consent is not well-founded.  [Again, this typically involves an act perpetrated by a man on a woman, but not exclusively.]  I see this as a less heinous crime when both participants are below the age of consent.  That doesn't change the fact that it's still considered a crime, but the crime is far less hideous than when an older person is gaining "consent" from a person legally below the age of consent - it's a violation of trust and taking advantage of a young person's naivete that's inherently immoral.

Pedophilia and incest are also forms of rape/sexual assault.  Most decent humans are especially outraged when a child is raped.  Sometimes, we add the adjective "innocent" to "child" when we refer to this awful crime, but does that imply that an adult rape victim is somehow "guilty" of something and so is less deserving of our concerns?  No, we use the word "innocent" in this context because the child trusts adults to care for and protect them, not to abuse them!  Most grown-up victims have learned not to believe that everyone around them is worthy of trust.  I cringe at the very idea of a trusting young person being subjected to this criminal act.  I know something of this, as I was molested as a youth.  With time, I've come to understand the shame and humiliation I felt were misdirected - it wasn't my actions that were wrong!

That clergymen would be guilty of sexual abuse of the children in their care is so incomprehensible and contradictory, it boggles the imagination.  What possible excuse could these evil clergymen have to justify their abuse of a child's trust?  There can be no excuse for their depravity!  How could the church officials look the other way and allow these miserable bastards to continue their crime sprees?  There can be no good reason to protect pedophiles amongst the clergy!  They should be prosecuted as common criminals.  There can't be a place hot enough in the mythical hell for such to suffer appropriately for eternity!  The destruction they wreak on their victims simply can't be justified by any other acts of charity or benevolence they might have done.

In general, rapists are predators that deserve only to be removed from society permanently.

I'll close with a short comment about those who falsely accuse someone of rape - this is another detestable crime.  The inevitable harm done to the reputation of the accused by a false accusation of a horrible crime is very difficult to erase, even if it eventually comes to light that the accusation is unfounded.  On the scale of things, I grant that it's probably a lesser crime than rape itself, but no decent human being should ever impugn the character of another person without due cause.

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