There’s a mountain of discussion going on right now about rape, particularly rapes that occur on college campuses and why female college students who are victimized are so often treated unjustly in the aftermath by their colleges, the legal system, and culture generally.
But I’m more interested here in why rapes occur in the first place. Obviously rapists are the proximate causes of rape (is that obvious? Please let that be obvious). But what is it that leads a man to rape in the first place? And is it possible that we’ve adopted attitudes and beliefs about men, women, and sex, that help to create an environment where rape becomes not only probable but inevitable? I’m especially interested in what men think or could be thinking about this. I often like to focus on men in these kinds of conversations, because A) I am one and B) men are usually those proximate causes mentioned above. What is it about being a man or understanding what must constitute being a man that leads to tragedies like this? There’s always need aplenty for analyzing legal and cultural structures, examining school and police policies, discussing what societal institutions should be doing to better protect their patrons, etc. But I’m more interested here in what would lead men to become rapists, or more broadly what kind of logic would need to be in place in order for men (and often women) to think and behave in ways that are detrimental to protecting the vulnerable and capturing predators or would-be predators.