Why Do Men Rape?
“A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy,” – A Rapist
A 14-year-old girl and her mother are raped by a group of eight men for three hours; a 16-year-old gang-rape victim sets herself on fire in Morocco after the rapists threatened to publish photographs of the ordeal; a 20-year-old girl is gang-raped in Haryana by the same five men who had raped her three years ago and were out on bail…I could go on and on about the rape cases that have made headlines in the past six months alone; and research shows 67-84% of rape cases are never even reported.
The rape of women by men has occurred throughout recorded history and across cultures. In India, brutal rapes and gang-rapes have become daily news. Each time we feel things cannot get any worse, men across this country, as if taking that up as a challenge, shock us with another brutal incident.
While we get angry, join protests, and demand that rapists be hanged to effectively fight this age-old evil, we need to spend more time understanding it so that we can fight the cause and not the symptom.
So why do men or groups of men rape?
1) Because they can
In a study done in South Africa, when rapists were asked about motivations, men indicated that rape most commonly stemmed from a sense of sexual entitlement. Professor Jacqueline Bhabha says, “Once the sense that women are less important in some way is endemic and accepted, as it is, once large sections of Indian society accept that women are there to service men, that men are justified in hitting their wives, then pervasive gender violence comes as no great surprise.”
2) Because she deserves it
A 2012 report by UNICEF found that 57% of Indian boys and 53% of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 think wife-beating is justified. A recent national family-health survey also reported that a sizable percentage of women blame themselves for beatings by their husbands. And if violence is okay, then what’s to stop them from sexual violence?
A research also showed that rape is often seen as a punishment directed against other women.
3) They were just having fun
In the South African study, after interviewing thousands of convicted rapists it was found that it was often an act of bored men (alone or in groups) seeking entertainment. At home, our leaders and top officials have time and again made rape sound like nothing more than a game. Take a look for yourself:
Ranjit Sinha, head of Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI): “If you can’t prevent rape, enjoy it.”
Om Prakash Chautala, former chief minister, Haryana: “Girls should be married at the age of 16, so that they have their husbands for their sexual needs, and they don’t need to go elsewhere. This way rapes will not occur.”