Rape is a criminal sexual offence that involves sexual intercourse or sexual penetration without the person’s consent. This offense involves any type of sexual penetration across both genders. Perpetrators of the offence may commit it through physical forceful penetration, coercion, or through abuse of authority and power therefore enabling them to carry out this devious act. Further, if the confrontation is not through physical forceful penetration, rape occurs if the perpetrator commits the crime against a person who cannot give valid consent, for example, in situations where the victim is unconscious, incapacitated or where the victim has intellectual disability. Sexual crimes occurto both genders, female-to-female and male-to-male encounter is not common. This does not rule out the fact that such confrontations are in existence, only that they go unreported.Female in most cases are the casualties and male are the offenders, therefore raising concern into the reasons resulting to the trend where men remain the offenders.To the survivors ofrape, the effects and impacts of the offence are long term and devastating, and they require great help in coping with the reality. The crime causes traumatization and leads to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder. Rape may result in pregnancy, infertility, gynecological disorder, and reproductive complications. On this note, there seems to be many causes of rape. People argue that women are responsible for rape because of their dressing; however, this is not true. Rape is a moral issue that originates from the mind of the perpetrators, leaving no room to point at dressing as the main cause of the offense. This paper argues that rape does not occur because of the manner in which women dress. It also seeks to rule out the myth that relates rape to the dressing code of women.
Relationship between Women Dressing and Rape
The myth that exists relating the way women dress to being raped is disturbing and unjustified. Generally, men exist as visual and assertive members of the human race while women are passive in nature (Malamuth& Spinner, 1980); however, this does not explain the relationship between rape and indecent dressing. If that were the case, then all men would be rapists. In the current world, everyone has the freedom to choose what they wear and where they go with their chosen outfit. Women have been victimized for a long time for indecent dressing, which is a term used to refer to tight clinging cloths, low cut tops, high slits, short skirts and deliberately applied makeups. Classifying this outfit as being indecent is a matter that lies on the beholders’ eye; moreover, the reason for such dressing too is a matter that has been evaded in arriving at this conclusion (Dripps, 1992).
Sexual desire originates from the mind and exercising self-control is important in evading being a rapist. Actually, penetration cannot occur unless there is an erection and a mind setup to commit the act (Dripps, 1992). Therefore, blaming rape on the women’s dressing is misplaced. Many instances have occurred in which women have interacted with men with only their pants on or even being naked and no instance of rape occurred. In the strip clubs for example, strip dancers entertain male customers who watch them dancing while they are naked, the male clients even touch these women. Some even dance with the naked women but do not rape them. The men exercise self-control, manage their lust, and crave for sex. Bouncers too who provide backup security in such joints watch the naked ladies daily, they interact with them in the dancing floor and outside but they do not rape the strippers. On the other hand, men with very little or no self-control cannot stand the site of a woman in short exposing cloth and end up translating it as a silent communication of ‘come and rape me’ (Malamuth& Spinner, 1980). Dressing whatsoever cannot be the basis upon which rape can be tolerated.
Rape is an action that is predetermined in most cases; the perpetrator developed the evil motive to commit the act over time and only waited for an opportune time to attack. This is not related to sexy dressing or the exposure of a woman’s body. In some situations, it becomes hard to explain when a sixty-year-old man defiles a five-year-old child. Regardless of whether the kid is naked or decently dressed, the victim has a mindset of committing the crime. Such a situation opens our eyes into the real act of rape and therefore nullifying the myth of dressing code being a catalyst to the crime.
During athletic competition and other major sporting activities such as swimming, wrestling, cycling, and volleyball, women athletes are usually dressed in pants and bras in full sight of their spectators and fans. The fans are composed of both men and women, in such situations, the fans are interested in watching the sporting activities. None of the athletes and sportswomen is raped for being in pants and bra. Therefore, it is not justified to relate rape to the indecent dressing of the victim. Rape is a result of a predetermined mindset and weak self-control (McCahill, Meyer &Fischman, 1979).
Decent dressing is neither a preventive nor a protective measure against rape; an evil-minded person will commit rape regardless of the woman’s dressing code. Many instances of rape have occurred with the victims being decently dressed. Likewise, many women have walked nearly naked along beaches and swimming pools. They have also interacted with men without being raped or being sexually harassed, therefore the notion that wearing of sexy clothes and outfits that exposes body parts is a rape risk is outrageous and unaccredited. Moreover, cases of rape have been reported in offices where decent dressing is a fundamental requirement. Women have been sexually assaulted in work places and some have been rape while decently dressed. Many women have been gang raped at their homes in the event of a robbery, some of whom are fished out from their hideouts. Consequently, during the event of war, women and girls have suffered the wrath of it, many have been raped both the militias and they military (LaFree, 1989). These people use sex a tool of war, taking advantage of the scared helpless women and girls. To this end, the myth that women are responsible for being raped because of the way they dress is untrue and need not to surface while the issue of rape is being discussed. The real culprits and the cause of their action is the issue that needs to be addressed.
The real culprits behind rape are the perpetrators and their sympathizers, these individuals who try to blame the victims and avoid addressing the real cause. Men who rape women have psychological problem that requires examination and help. All rape cases however distinct they may be, are committed to satisfy a particular psychological need. These psychological needs are distinct to every rape case and they may include; the need to revenge against a certain wrong doing, poor way of dealing with rejection, and the need to express superiority and show of power over the female sex (Dripps, 1992). The criminal history of the offenders and their background is also a concern, people with criminal backgrounds have poor social life, and they may have difficulties dating.As such, these people may relieve their frustrations by raping women in order to raise their self-esteem. Such cases arise due to ritual beliefs.
In whatever circumstances, the offender is to blame since he had a predetermined mindset. The law can also promote the vice by being lenient and giving less punitive punishment to the crime (Koss & Harvey, 1991).In cases where the crime is characterized by violent encounters, theymay result in physical injuries, permanent disability, or death (Kelly, 2013).More disturbing is that it may result in contracting of sexually transmitted Infection (STIs) and HIV/AIDS, which is heart breaking.In some cases, victims have to live with constant threat from the offender or his family therefore putting these victims into situations that expose them to recurring sexual assault. Finally, the paper identifies the people who should carry full responsibility and blame for this atrocious act.
Real Potential Causes of Rape
Rape as discussed in this paper refers to male to female penetration where male is the offender. Sexual desire is controlled by the mind,which implies that rape is also controlled from the mind; this is because for the penetration to occur there must be a sexual desire that is solely controlled by the mind (Kelly, 2013). For this reason, the main cause of rape is the desire for sexual gratification.This is where the offender has uncontrolled sexual desire leading to acquainted rape and date rape. This situation is predetermined to the offender while it comes as a surprise to the victim.In most cases, the perpetrator is well known to the victim and therefore this makes the situation more complicated. The offender lures the victim using cunning strategies or uses treatsto make the sexual advances.
Rape may also result from anger and the desire to revenge. This occurs where the offender has great anger towards women and uses rape as a tool to avengeanoffence committed by the victims’ close associates (Ellis, 1989).Further, the offender may be paranoid about females and therefore possess unjustified anger towards them. Furthermore, rape may be caused by the desire to exercise power and show authority on the female sex. In such situations, the need to show dominance and control is the driving force, in the event the female victim becomes intimidated and vulnerable (Kelly, 2013). This kind of situation occursto relationships and families in which the male members are possessed with male superiority complex.
Finally, rape may occur due to the sadistic nature of the offender. This is where the perpetrator commits the crime due to ritual beliefs; it usually results in the mutilation of the victim therefore causing serious physical injuries and even results to death. The offender in most cases is misguided by greed and therefore is willing to do anything to meet his desire (Field &Bienen, 1980).
Rape is categorized depending on various parameters, analyzing the situation in which the crime has occurred and the situation that occurred prior to the actual crime gives an in-depth analysis into the nature of the crime. Furthermore, analyzing the characteristic and the criminal records of both the offender and the victim gives better understanding into the crime.
Date rape also referred to as acquisition rape occurswith both the offender and the victim having full knowledge ofeach other’s identity. This rape is facilitated by use of drugs whereby the offender intoxicates his prey before committing the devious act (Koss & Harvey, 1991). In this kind of rape, the offender has a predetermined mind and therefore lures the victim who unknowingly finds herself on the receiving end. Sometimes, people who are trusted by the victim are the perpetrators.This kind of rape is very traumatizing because the victim often meets the offender.
Spousal rape is practiced in relationships. The male partners commit the crime due to the desire to exercise power and show authority over the female sex (Ellis, 1989). Perpetrators are usually possessed with male superiority complex; on the other hand, the victim suffers in silence in a bid to hold the familytogether. However, hatred is developed due to the feeling of being deprived of womanhood and may result in suicide or murder (Field & Bienen, 1980).
Gang rape on the other hand involves sexual penetration by more than one person (Boer, 1997). Most disturbing is that, it may occurin full sight of family members including children who at the time are helpless. In most cases, it occurs due to revenge or in other cases, the victim becomes a casualty of a violent robbery.
Rape against children is the most aggravating kind or rape since it defiles children and robs them of their innocence. Other forms of rape exist including war rape, which is committed during the act of war by the militias and the military (Koss & Harvey, 1991), Prison rape also exists in prisons and may involve people of same sexes. Last but not least, is serial rape; this kind of rape is continuous over time and is committed by people well known to the victim (Boer, 1997).
Rape is a traumatizing crime for the survivorsbecause the impacts of rape are long term, especially so when the perpetrators are well known to the victim. As noted in this paper, rape has other many causes, dressing not playing a major role. It is evidently clear that rape is a result of one’s mindset. Male perpetrators are fully responsible for this devious act and they are to blame in all circumstances. A woman’s dressing is a scapegoat used by individuals in trying to justify this act. Psychological issues such as revenge fuel rape, need to express power and superiority over female gender, encountering rejection and for ritual purposes. More research should be carried out to determine how upbringing, environment, and family history relate to rape. Therefore, this paper proves that dressing by women is not a reason for rape. Decency is relative and may not be defined by the standard of a particular culture.
Boer, D. P. (1997). Manual for the Sexual Violence Risk-20:Professional guidelines for assessing risk of sexual violence. British Columbia Institute Against Family Violence
Dripps, D. A. (1992). Beyond rape: An essay on the difference between the presence of force and the absence of consent. Columbia Law Review, RetrievedDecember 25, 2016 from https://www.jstor.org/stable/1123045
Ellis, L. (1989). Theories of rape: Inquiries into the causes of sexual aggression. Taylor & Francis.
Feild, H. S.& Bienen, L. B. (1980). Jurors and rape: A study in psychology and law. Lexington Books.
Kelly, L. (2013). Surviving sexual violence. John Wiley & Sons.
Koss, M. P.& Harvey, M. R. (1991). The rape victim: Clinical and community interventions. Sage Publications, Inc.
LaFree, G. (1989). Rape and criminal justice: The social construction of sexual assault. Wadsworth Pub Co.
Malamuth, N. M.& Spinner, B. (1980). A longitudinal content analysis of sexual violence in the best‐selling erotic magazines. Journal of Sex Research, 16(3), 226-237.
McCahill, T. W., Meyer, L. C.& Fischman, A. M. (1979). The aftermath of rape (p. 12). Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.