This paper is going to discuss the male rapist from both their perspective and the clinical perspective. There are two typical types of rapists: admitters and deniers. Admitters tend to use excuses for their deviant behavior, while deniers use justification for rape. Either type of male rapist may or may not admit to using force, but through the societal stigma our society puts on women, both types of male rapists appear to have reasons for their actions, where they don’t have to be held accountable in their minds because it is the woman’s fault.
While they know that rape is a crime, they can’t seem to help themselves. Some may have other mental disorders or childhood experiences that aided in molding them into the type of person who rapes, but there is not enough data to pinpoint any predestined tendency for rape. I will discuss and as a person who was sexually assaulted give my viewpoint on this stigma that is in turn a horrible dilemma.
I hope to be able to discuss this very real topic without too much influence from personal experiences.
The rape of women has been going on since the dawn of time. What kinds of justifications or excuses do men who rape have to be conscience-free after raping a woman? What about if this becomes a habit? How can the male rapist be blind to the damage he is doing both to himself and the victim? This paper will show how there is a certain vocabulary and ideas about women that make it very easy to justify and excuse a male rapist from actually feeling wrong.
It will show how easy it is for the male rapist, whether admitted or denied, can find reasons that raping is not wrong and/or it is the victim’s fault. We will see how this allows the rapist to not be stigmatized in his mind.
Typically, according to our textbook, there are two types of the male rapist, the denier and the admitter. The denier uses justifications on how they are not rapists. In many ways, they do not think they did anything wrong. They feel women are the ones who make the male rapist (denier) do this through the provocation of some kind. The admitter, however, finds rape repulsive, but uses excuses, mainly that they do not have control over their bodies and thoughts; therefore they cannot help themselves. Many of these male rapists seem to have mental disorders that make them lack emotions, such as empathy, love, anger, etc.
For deniers (male rapists who don’t think they raped anyone) there is no true need for any excuses because, in their minds, society has given them justification for rape. The justification is the stigma attached to women. In the chapter about this in our readings, Adler and Adler (2016) stated, “When sex is viewed as a male entitlement, rape is no longer seen as criminal” (Constructions of Deviance: Social Power, Context, and Interaction, pg. 322). The reasoning for this view is the concept that women are sexual beings and therefore behave in certain ways to attract a man to want to have sex. Our society promotes stigmas on women who dress certain ways, who go to bars, and who travel alone late at night. Society tends to think these particular characteristics and lifestyles imply that these women are looser and somewhat are asking for rape to happen to them. Yet even then, the male rapist denier feels that a woman who says ‘no’ really means ‘yes’; that the women just want plausible deniability for the sake of society’s expectations.
Scully (1994) states about deniers, “…..while for deniers, hostile feelings and a belief in the appropriateness of violence toward women are more the issues” (Understanding Sexual Violence, pg.89). This type of male rapist appears to feel like it is his right to have sex with anyone he feels deserves it without thought or concern about it. This is further proven in the article found on ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (2015),
Some rapists implied that the victims brought the rape on themselves or wanted to be raped because they flirted with them; others convinced themselves that when she stopped resisting, it was because she enjoyed it (even if they threatened her with a weapon. Others cited the victim’s reputation for being sexually promiscuous, her revealing clothing, or willing to go somewhere alone with them as evidence that the victim was asking to be raped (para 6).
This supports the fact that deniers often blame the women in their justification for why they are not rapists.
For the admitted male rapist, however, there are different excuses used for their decision to rape someone. Adler, et al state, “Admitters expressed the belief that rape was morally wrong. But they explained themselves and their acts by appealing to forces beyond their control” (pg. 321). To understand how a man can knowingly do something they understand as repulsive and wrong, we need to understand the reason they can excuse their behavior. An article on theglobeandmail.com by Soh (2018) states, “A final thread among men who commit sexual violence is antisociality and indifference to the well-being of others. At first glance, many antisocial men are seen to be charismatic – and at worst, arrogantly confident – because of their adeptness at lying low and how fearlessly they override social conventions” (Warning Signs That a Man Might be Sexually Coercive, para 9). In other words, these men are confident which is very attractive to many women and they don’t see the signs until it is too late. A woman could simply smile at an admitter in passing and that could be all the excuse needed to follow her, and then rape her.
The admitted male rapist also can have a lack empathy. This is yet another emotional issue that an admitter may have struggled with throughout his lifetime. Csom.org states (Common Characteristics of Sex Offender, n.d.) talks about how the perpetrator is simply unable to put himself in his victim’s shoes and therefore cannot imagine what is happening from the other side of things. (para 24). Scully (1994) states about the admitter, “Two types of excuses predominate minor emotional problems and drunkenness or disinhibition, which evidence suggest s is also learned behavior” (pg. 163). There are three important points in the above quote: the emotional, the drunk, and learned behavior.
Life can be hard. There are many people both male and female that have minor emotional issues, yet they are productive members of society. Drinking and/or drugs can alter a person’s mind to behave in a way that perhaps, they would not behave when sober, but is that a good excuse to use knowing you are going to rape someone? Learned behavior is somewhat understandable, but I feel like it goes back to the emotional issues. Yet, studies have shown that these are the excuses that male rapists that are admitters use to justify their actions. They truly enjoy the violence and fear that they get from their victim.
I think that the male rapist that is an admitter is perhaps a little more honest than the denier because I think they know they are doing the wrong thing. However, there is no real excuse for rape from any perspective. I am more worried about the denier because that type of male rapist seems to have a real issue with women in general, specifically those that in their mind seem to be looser than others. The common thread for both seems to be some type of disassociation from their acts.
In general, Soh (2018) states, “Though our society hails “bad boys,” a man’s behavior in the bedroom is (perhaps unsurprisingly) not different from his behavior outside it” (para 10). I think it is important to note that “bad boys” come in all shapes and sizes and the persona someone puts out there does not necessarily mean that they behave that way in the bedroom, or other words, rape. The question then arises, is labeling men a certain way part of the rape culture?
I don’t believe labels can make or break you. Many people from all walks of life have to make decisions based on how society sees them. Some have great support groups and families and can break the mold. Some people have every opportunity to succeed, yet decide to turn toward deviant behaviors. At the end of the day a rapist rapes, no matter what justifications or excuses they may use. There doesn’t seem to be any medical proof of deviance to adequately justify or excuse the male rapist. They just seem to enjoy it.
I lost my virginity when I was raped at twelve years old by a boyfriend. Back then there was no such thing as date rape. I said yes to heavy petting, but said no when it came to intercourse. It took years for me to admit I was raped. It took years to understand that the damage was not in me but him. Is he a deviant? I wouldn’t know today. What I do know is that both types of male rapists seem to understand that they are wrong, yet they feel compelled to rape anyway. I feel as if they think they won’t get caught and so statistically, it is worth the risk. After all, with all the excuses and justifications, the male rapists – both admitters and deniers, don’t see the stigma within them.