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:
- 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.
- 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.