Monday, 27 April 2015

Is rape motivated by sex or aggression?

Traditionally, rape has been classified as sex crime, and society has assumed that the rapist was motivated by lust. However, some feminist scholars have challenged this view, arguing instead that rape is motivated by the need to dominate, to assert power, and to humiliate a victim rather than by sexual desire for her. Before evaluating the argument that rape is about aggression and not about sex, it is important to emphasize one undeniable fact. Whatever motivates the rapist, rape victims do not find rape to be sexually pleasurable. The myth that they sometimes do is dangerous and probably has encouraged some men to rape and some juries to excuse rapists. Rape is among women’s worst fears.


What makes rape even more complicated to understand as a crime is the fact that rape is perceived differently by men and women. Men perceive rape as a sexual crime whereas women perceive rape as crime of aggression. But both of them miss a part of the complete picture. Rape is a sexual and aggression crime. One can’t take away the aggression part from it, but neither can one take away the sex part from it. 

Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist and the author of novel #IAm16ICanRape: The War Against Rape Culture. 

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