Rape and Sexual Violence | Free Essay Example

Rape and Sexual Violence

Words: 870
Topic: Sociology
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Today, more than ever before, rape is increasingly becoming a reality for millions of individuals living in the developed and developing world. Although available documentation demonstrates that many rape victims are female and that most executors of rape are male, it is evident that rapists are increasingly targeting men and boys particularly in the developed world (World Health Organization, 2003).

The present paper explores various rape-related issues, including its definition, dynamics, social cultural factors, personal and psychological factors, and how to prevent various forms of rape.

Rape has been defined in the literature as “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim” (Federal Bureau of Investigations, 2013, p. 1). In most occasions, rape is perpetuated under various forms of coercive circumstances that include fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression, and abuse of power (Amnesty International, 2011).

In discussing the dynamics of rape, it is important to note that rape is an aggressive act which is often perpetuated due to power and control rather than to fulfill a craving or desire for sex. Consequently, rape is not a crime of passion but rather a violent, aggressive, and hostile act which is often applied or used with the intention of degrading, dominating, humiliating, terrorizing, and controlling the victims (World Health Organization, 2003).

Additionally, it is increasingly becoming clear that the motivating factor for rape is not sexual desire; rather, “sex is merely the medium used to express various types of non-sexual feelings such as anger and hostility towards women, as well as a need to control, dominate and assert power over them” (World Health Organization, 2003, p. 10).

An important point to remember is that, although not all rapists share similar motivations for engaging in an act of rape, scholars and practitioners have found that anger, power and sexuality are key components that are always present in the mind of offenders in spite of the justification for the sexual aggression or the nature of the act committed.

Lastly, it is evident that although unraveling the justifications behind a person’s decision to engage in rape is always a complex affair, evidence has found several common themes that inform the decision, such as desire to compensate for feelings of helplessness, desire for reassurance about sexual adequacy, as well as desire to assert identity or retain status among peers (World Health Organization, 2003).

Some of the social and cultural factors that increase or perpetuate rape, according to James & Gilliland (2013), include (1) high power imbalance between men and women, (2) various media representations in the society teaching women to become victims and men to become aggressors, (3) society’s perception that rape and other forms of sexual violence are a means of control over women, and (4) the perception created by society that women should always be dependent on men.

In some developing countries, some men suffering from HIV/AIDS have resulted to raping young girls and sodomizing underage boys in the misplaced hope that they will be cured. Additionally, some rape incidents are perpetuated to fulfill various cultural traditions and beliefs, such as opening up a woman’s blocked uterus or appealing to the gods for rain. Other social and cultural factors associated with rape include social disorganization, prevalence of pornography in the society, and legitimization of violence (James & Gilliland, 2013).

Moving on, available literature demonstrates that the “personal and psychological factors unique to men who perpetuate sexual abuse affect both their decision to assault and the way the assault is carried out” (James & Gilliland, 2013, p. 250).

Overall, according to these authors, the personal and psychological factors associated with rape include (1) necessity to demonstrate hostility, aggressiveness, anger, and a dominating attitude to hide weaknesses and feelings of inadequacy, (2) lack of interpersonal skills to effectively communicate with other community members and particularly women, (3) necessity for men to employ power to prove to themselves and to their victims that they are powerful, invincible, and in total control, (4) predisposition to view women as merely sexual objects, (5) demonstration of sadistic patterns such as victim mutilation and murder, and (6) demonstration of stereotypical and rigid beliefs that hold women in low esteem. It is also a well known fact that some men perpetuate rape to punish or exact revenge on particular women, conquer the supposedly unattainable women, and for recreation and adventure (James & Gilliland, 2013).

Overall, this paper has addressed various issues related to rape. To conclude, it is important to note that many types of rape can be prevented by addressing the social and cultural factors as well as the personal and psychological factors discussed in this paper.

While date rape can be reduced substantially by ensuring that meetings are always held in public locations, the real hope lies in addressing the social, cultural, personal, and psychological factors that make people to entertain the idea of raping their victims. Similarly, acquaintance rape can only be effectively addressed if strategies and interventions are put in place to deal with these factors in the hope of eliminating power imbalances between men and women, social disorganization, and women dependency.

References

Amnesty International. (2011). Rape and sexual violence: Human rights law and standards in the International Criminal Court.

Federal Bureau of Investigations. (2013). Frequently asked questions about the change in the UCR definition of rape.

James, R.K., & Gilliland, B.E. (2013). Crisis intervention strategies (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

World Health Organization. (2003). Guidelines for medico-legal care for victims of sexual violence.