Why do men rape?

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We need nothing short of a paradigm shift in our values

I always thought that men who feel the urge to rape women or other men suffer from a severe mental disorder. It’s no less than that. 

Rape is an assault; the rapist encroaches upon a victim who is not willing to participate. It is a serious crime that deserves serious punishment.

At the same time, it is also true that men’s brains are programmed to seek sex much more than women’s brains do. 

Men think about sex more than women do. This fact has been established by science. 

But that doesn’t mean men can have sex whenever they want and whoever they want it with, and that too in the face of resistance from women. A brain-full of libidinal thoughts don’t give the men license to rape.

The reason I mention this is because I’m trying to find the answer to why men rape. The desire to have sex and attacking someone to have sex are two different states of mind. Men and women alike may desire to have sex with their partners, or someone who responds positively to their invitation.

There are some rapists who lack the physical ability to have sex and that may lead them to attack a victim. There are some who enjoy hurting the victim while having sexual intercourse. We have seen reports of killing and torture after completing the obnoxious act of rape. 

I believe this is the most dangerous form of affliction a victim can suffer.

In a country like ours, where sex, love-making and discussions around sex and love-making are taboo, we are bound to lack awareness regarding sex and love-making, sexual assaults, crimes, and consensual sex. 

The absence of sexuality education is a very poignant factor in our society.

We don’t educate our children on sexuality as a family, or even at school. Kindly note that sexuality education is not sex education. We in this country make this mistake all the time. 

Sexuality education is one’s comprehensive understanding about one’s health, well-being, as well as, dignity as a human. 

We don’t even know how to behave with a rape victim in this country. If you consider the process of police investigation in a rape case that involves interrogating and examining a victim, we see a sorry picture. 

I believe that law enforcement authorities are driven by male-driven psychology when they deal with rape victims. I believe this also shows a lack of social maturity. 

How the media handles a rape victim in our country is also questionable.

Going unreported

In this country, about 50% of rape incidents go unreported, and even the reported cases don’t, most of the time, see the light of justice. 

At the same time, we don’t have holistic knowledge on how to help traumatized victims after they experience assaults.

It is significant to note that a lot of times, authorities try to settle rape cases informally — outside the court of law. And rapists, if they are socially or politically influential, go scot-free.

If we consider the process as whole, it is clear that our society has created an environment for rape crimes to occur, and reoccur. In this society, men grow up thinking that they can assault women or girls and get away with it.

This is an important aspect to think about. 

Now of course, we hope for a society where men will not be sexual hawks. In a recent case of rape, our society erupted in protests. Everybody demanded punishment of the rapist. 

Some demanded that rapists should hang to death, some demanded that they should be flogged and lynched. I also issued a statement, saying that they should be publicly punished and disgraced.

But that is not going to solve anything. We may not be able to reduce sexual assault crimes by only enforcing the law. But if we strike at the root, we may be able to find out what actually drives men to rape women.

Our present approach to prevent sexual violence is not at all going in the right direction. I believe that we require a change in paradigm of our societal values.

Ekram Kabir is a story-teller. His other works can be found on ekramkabir.com.