Rape is sexual intercourse without consent; it does not necessarily have to involve use force. Rape can involve the use of objects, body parts, or sex organs. Most incidences of rape reported involve women or girls as the victims (Cahill, 2001). However, men or boys are also raped in the society.
Dynamics of Rape
There are several factors that determine the definition of rape and the action to be taken to an individual who commits rape. These factors are different based on the society and the jurisdiction of the victim. Rape in women is mainly caused by women objectification by the society and glorification of sexual violence. Rape prevalence rate is higher in some communities than in others due to a number of factors (Cahill, 2001). These factors include: first, society values and norms that discourage or encourage sexual violence. The second factor is the societal value relating to femininity and masculinity. The final issue that determines the rate of rape in a society is thecommunity culture. Some cultures view women as submissive and have no role in determining their sexual partners (Dobbert, 2004). Myths define how individuals perceive rape and the victims of rape. The first myth is that only women are raped. Studies show that men are also raped, however, most of them fear to report to the authority due to victimization. The second myth is that the individuals raped are promiscuous or have poor judgment (Cahill, 2001). This myth tends to blame the victim of rape by justifying the action of the rapist. The final myth is that only young women or girls are raped (Harding, 2014). This is not true since rape cases also involve elderly women as the victims.
Social/ Cultural Factors
Cultural factors are the practices and beliefs that help in the definition of rape and determination of the appropriate actions. Cultural issues such as myth determine the how people view rape and the victims of rape. For instance, in some society the victim may be tormented by the society members for the rape. In such situations, the society fails to recognize that the individual raped needs help (Harding, 2014). Societal laws also determine the remedy available for a victim. In most jurisdictions, rape is punished based on the victim’s age and the level of physical assault. Culture acts as a guide to a person’s behavior and his or her view of others in the society (Cahill, 2001). For instance, in some society, rape in marriages is not considered as rape since the victim is married and the husband is allowed to commit the sexual assault. In most cultures, society tends to shift the blame from the perpetrator to the rape victim. They blame the victim and fail to take action on the rapist. Studies have shown that most of the perpetrators are family members or friends of the victim, hence the rape victim may be lenient to the rapist (Harding, 2014).
Personal and Psychological Factors
Psychological traits of a sexual; offender may predispose him or her to rape. Psychological explanation of rape is that individual sexual characteristics are dependent on the individual’s psychological attributes. Personal factors are the individual attributes that predispose one to rape (Chesire, 2004). An individual’s anger and the need for power may encourage one to rape. The need to assert one’s dominance may influence a person to rape. The clinical psychological perspective of a sexual offender is that he or she has some hormones and linked to sexual violence (Harding, 2014). This view tries to link a rape to an individual hormone to determine if the individual has certain hormones that may predispose him or her to rape (Dobbert, 2004). Studies show that most rapists suffer from personality disorders, which prevents them from thinking rationally hence committing rape. Violent sex offenders tend to blame the victim for their actions, they fail to recognize that they caused harm to the victim. Personality attributes determines how an individual perceives others in the society (Chesire, 2004). This determines how they treat them and respond to their issues.
Preventing Different Forms of Rape
It is crucial to prevent rape in the society by developing mechanisms that will enable target victims to prevent any form of sexual assault. For both female and male victims, most of the rape cases reported are perpetrated by friends or acquaintances. This means that the victims know and trust the sexual offender (Cahill, 2001). Hence, it is difficult to handle this type of rape since the victim cannot determine if she will be raped. The only way to prevent rape by friends or acquaintances is to ensure that one disassociates with friends who have a rape history (Chesire, 2004). Most of the rapists are serial sex offenders, hence a potential victim can prevent being raped by such individuals by disassociating from them.
The second strategy of preventing rape is developing strict laws to punish sexual offenders. This will act as a deterrent to rape since one will be afraid to commit rape due to the punishment associated with the act (Harding, 2014). In addition, the society should ensure that sexual offenders are brought to justice by reporting them to the authorities. Rape can also be prevented by reducing conflict between ethnic groups, political divides, and nations (Dobbert, 2004). Conflicts increase the rate of rape since the rule of law is not observed.
Cahill, A. J. (2001). Rethinking Rape. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Chesire, J. (2004). Review, Critique, and Synthesis of Personality Theory in Motivation to Sexually Assault. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 9(6), 633-644.
Dobbert, D. L. (2004). Halting the Sexual Predators among Us: Preventing Attack, Rape, and Lust Homicide. Westport: Praeger.
Harding, K. (2014). Asking for It: Slut-Shaming, Victim-Blaming, and How We Can Change America’s Rape Culture. New York: Da Capo Press.