Why men rape
A study by Cohen and Seghorn on 800 male sex offenders in the US found the ‘relative absence of even the most basic social values and/or social skills in them.’ The researchers suggested four classifications of rapists, a classification which has been supported by earlier as well later research.
The classifications are:
- Displaced aggression: Here the rape almost always follows some unpleasant event involving a wife, girl-friend or mother and the rapist uses rape as an outlet for his anger. In these cases the rape is used to physically harm the victim, who is usually a stranger.
- Impulse: Here the act of rape is based on impulse and is not motivated by sexual hunger or feelings. For example it can be carried out during a dacoity/robbery.
- Sex aggression diffusion: Here the aggressive and sexual components coexist and the rapist is aroused by aggressive thoughts. He sees the victim’s struggle as seductive and even believes that women like to be raped.
- Compensation: Sex is the key component and if the victim struggles or tries to escape, the would-be offender flees. The recurrent fantasy of these rapists is that the victim will yield. These offenders are passive. These rapes are mostly pre-planned.
Another classification (by Kopp) after a study of 100 rapists revealed a high incidence of anti-social or psychopathic personalities amongst rapists. A rapist is often a cold, seemingly unfeeling man who has always taken what he wanted from others without concern for their feelings. This type constitutes the largest percentage of all rapists. Whether spolit brat or a person living on the edge, the personality type is similar. They want something and they don’t care whom they hurt to get it.
In India, rape is more often committed for other than sexual reasons. Displaced aggression is a common reason. To take this further, many unemployed frustrated youth might rape a woman belonging to an affluent class because of jealousy or revenge, not just lust. And the other way too. People of a higher class/caste may do it to a person whom they consider inferior, often due to land disputes.
Calcutta’s DCDD-II (Deputy Commissioner, Detective Department) Ms. Sumanbala Sahoo says, ‘Gangrapes are more common in India (particularly in rural India), and are often motivated by revenge.’
Analysis of police data in western countries has revealed startling facts which again co-relate almost exactly with the Indian situation.
The majority of rapists arrested are young males between 16-24 years of age. As a group, they mostly come from the lower end of the socio-economic ladder. Typically they are unskilled workers with low intelligence, little education and low income. Research in the US has also revealed that most rapes are planned events. About 80% of rapists commit the act in the neighbourhood in which they reside and many rapes take place in an urban, nocturnal setting. Usually the rapist studies the movements of the victim (stalking) before he attacks. ‘A rapist usually studies the movements of his victim and tries to find a pattern. He also prefers darkness,’ says Ms Sahoo.
Indian women are at greater risk
Sahoo also points out that in India there is an added factor loaded against women. As they have a lower status in society than men it makes them more vulnerable to sexual crimes as men view them not only as sex objects but also as non-entities. The problem is compounded by the fact that in India raped women are often rejected by their families. In courts their reputation are attacked if it is revealed that they were raped or molested. This makes them reluctant to complain against their assailant, which in turn encourages rape.
According to crime statistics in India (which in any case are skewed) rapes are on the increase and the actual number five times higher than reported. The increase in rapes could also be because more women are coming forward with their complaints. But the stigma attached to being raped is still so high that the reported rapes will remain the tip of the iceberg.
The police on its part is trying to sensitize it’s police force. The Mumbai police has conducted several sensitization programmes to make those at lower levels understand that even a prostitute has feelings and has a right to say no.
(An abridged version of what appeared in The Telegraph, Calcutta)
2002 research: An interesting study reveals that there is a connection between rapists (and other violent offenders) and those with poor relationships with their fathers. Researchers interviewed 55 men imprisoned for child molestation and 30 men in prison for rape to determine their perceptions of their early relationships with their mothers and fathers. For purposes of comparison, the study also included 32 men who were imprisoned for violent crimes and 30 men in jail for non-violent, non-sex-related crimes.
The study findings indicated that the fathers of the rapists were less responsive to their needs than the fathers of the other offenders. The parents of the rapists and violent offenders were also less strict in supervision and discipline as compared to parents of the other offenders.
2000-2005 research from iMAPP shows that there is a connection between structure of the family and criminals. A total of 23 studies were carried out and all but three of them found this connection. Children in single-parent or other non-intact family structures were at greater risk of committing criminal or delinquent acts.
(The photograph, taken in the jungles of Tanzania is copyrighted)
Related Reading: Why victims are blamed for rape
Molestation is a part and parcel of an Indian woman’s life
Reasons and Solutions for Molestation
Tips to prevent eve-teasing and public molestation
How a poor attitude towards women can be changed