Corrective rape: the real motive?

South Africa is talking about “corrective rape” – men raping lesbians, presumably with the belief this will “correct” their sexual orientation. It must be noted this is probably a worldwide phenomenon. It certainly goes on in the United States.

But I question the assumption that these men are seeking to “correct” a lesbian’s sexual orientation. Even assuming they’re too emotionally dead to recognize that using heterosexual acts as a form of torture is more likely to turn someone off to het sex than onto it, it just doesn’t track with what we know about sexual predators. Consider this description from the linked article about South Africa:

“I told the guy that no I’m a lesbian so I don’t date guys and then he said to me, ‘no I understand. I’ve got friends that are lesbians, that’s cool, I don’t have a problem with that.’”

Gaca says he was nice and she trusted him, and they left the bar to go to the home of one of his friends, and that is where his friendly exterior turned nasty.

“He said to me, ‘you know what? I hate lesbians and I’m about to show you that you are not a man, as you are treating yourself like a man,’” she told CNN.

“I tried to explain ‘I’m not a man. I never said I’m a man, I’m just a lesbian’. And he said, ‘I will show you that I am a man and I have more power than you.’”

The rapist’s words and actions suggest two intersecting concerns:

  1. That she is denying men the use of her body as a sexual object, and how dare this uppity woman feel entitled to do that.
  2. That she may be usurping male power in some mysterious way by having sex with women.

#2 doesn’t make a lot of sense, but psychological motives aren’t always fueled by accurate perceptions.

The rape is a punishment, not a correction. The rapists are punishing women for having the gall to think they don’t owe men the use of their bodies. Some may be homophobic as well (statistically, I’m sure many are), but I don’t think that’s the base motive. I think what they’re trying to achieve is a very personal demonstration of male entitlement. What they’re concerned about is women who flaunt male entitlement.

And people wonder why Rebecca Watson felt so uncomfortable. To unstable men, merely declaring that you are entitled to give sex out only as you choose is a declaration of war – and an infringement of their rights.

It’s extremely, extremely important for law enforcement to stop:

  • Taking what rapists say about their motives at face value. Rapists are unrepentent liars, and say all kinds of things to impress or get people off their backs.
  • Assuming motives for rape would make sense to non-rapists. Like the theory that rape is merely lust gotten out of hand. A non-rapist could never become so horny that he or she would force sex on someone who clearly didn’t want it, but rapists do this all the time. Rapist’s motives simply do not make sense to non-rapists – our brains don’t work the same way at all. Rapists perceive any resistance to their extreme entitlement as a major threat, and feel they must cause extreme pain and fear in the resistor to restore the balance. They honest to god think they’re administering justice, in their warped view.

Comments

  1. Jane Doe says

    “A non-rapist could never become so horny that he or she would force sex on someone who clearly didn’t want it”
    So true. I still remember the first time I almost had sex. It was a holiday flirt and we were in a secluded place, miles away from any other human being. We started kissing and touching and some point we were naked and he had his right at the gates of mine. I asked him whether he had a condom. He hadn’t. I said I’d rather not do it then. We didn’t do it, pleasured ourselves in other ways instead. The only thing he had to do to f*ck me was thrust one ich forward.
    I guess that’s consent 101.

  2. Patrick McGraw says

    And he said, ‘I will show you that I am a man and I have more power than you.’”

    Right there. That’s it.

  3. M.C says

    That she may be usurping male power in some mysterious way by having sex with women.

    It’s basically the same with transgender people: female-to-male trans*people usurper male power and male-to-female trans*people threaten male power by rejecting to wield it themselves.
    No matter who you are, if you’re not a het cis-gendered male, then you’re the enemy.

  4. Jon says

    “A non-rapist could never become so horny that he or she would force sex on someone who clearly didn’t want it, but rapists do this all the time.”

    Oh, so I’m a normal male after all. I am easily turned off. Ambient temperature, sounds, mental pictures, thoughts of work, etc. Even beach (grains of sand can hurt). My partner’s comfort, health. My own filthy unbathed body. A recent rash somewhere on my body. List goes on.

    And all my male friends are just like me. Normal. Some machismo (read Narcissistic) guys even call us “gay”. We’re not. We’re just normal folks making a normal living. (But we do abuse own body via sports and world exploration. Visceral! But that’s another story.)

    I’m half thinking to go into prostitution (as if it’s even legal). Make tons of money. Keep rapists off the streets. I agree that Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is the root cause of rape. We might as well make some spare cash since there’s no curing the root causes: parents who are themselves narcissistic. If only we can start to make robots more life-like.

    Rape seems here to stay in this world of narcissists. In China, given the 1-child-policy, a huge majority of kids grow up spoilt. There was recently a rich official’s son who slashed a girl many times (30-40?) and then remarked (sic, in Chinese): “Will you die if I touched you a bit?” (read “why did you act like it was wrong of me to touch you, like it would hurt you?”).

    The recent gang-rape in Munirka, India seems to be a different cause altogether, though. That led me to search the web for “mentality of rapists”, which led me here. Your site has great objective info. What do you guys do?

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