October 9, 2012
Crime, Sex and Gender
Is rape about sex or about power and domination?
This lecture - two different views:
1. For sexual desire - sexual gratification.
2. For domination - men's power and domination over women.
It's about rape - not sexual violence (many meanings - broader than rape) - lecture
focuses on heterosexual rape.
Rape is not sexually motivated
Susan Brownmiller - Rape is not about sexual gratification, motivated by men's
hostility toward women and in attempt to control women.
Controversial statement (quotation) - this is something men conciously do, and men
as a group are implicated by it against all women. Statement is associated with
Rape is sexually motivated
Articulated by 2 evolutionary scholars.
Their argument in their book - they say Brownmiller is wrong - rape is fundamentally a
sexually motivated act, not to dominate women but to have as much sex as possible -
evolutionary explanation - men want promiscious, impersonal sex.
Questions for this lecture
Why do some people argue that rape is motivated by sexual desire?
Why do some argue it is motivated by domination / control of women?
Prior to Brownmiller's book research on rape was dominated by pyschologists and
pyschiartirts, the focus was on rape - in terms of male/female rape - they had a
narrow perspective on what sexual violence was. Prior to 1970 most work on this
topic assumed most rape was "stranger" rape - so theoretical explanations were
developed around this idea. Stranger attacking unknown woman and running off for
example. They didn't look at things like date rape or rape in marriage - rape in
marriage oxymoron in this time.
Perspectives on rape prior to the second-wave women's movement
Focused on stranger rape because of what we knew about it - police statistic - stranger rapes were most likely to be reported. Women more likely to report it when
it fit in this category of "stranger rape". This is why scholars focused on it and why
people think of this idea of rape when they hear the word rape.
The men who were engaged in it were argued to be sexually deviant/abnormal
sexuality - rapists fundamentally different from normal men. Different theories in
pyschology - but basically - male rapists were a different kind of male.
Female victims were seen as normal females by many of these perspectives - but
normal female sexuality as this time was almost linked to masicism - idea that women
fundamentally wanted to be raped/subdued - they were seen as subconsiously
desiring to be raped and so they put themselves in these situations on purpose. Idea
that women had enjoyment out of being raped - still thought sometimes today.
The enduring popularity of rape myths and rape jokes
Clayton Williams - example of enduring contemporary view of women enjoying rape -
or can enjoy rape if they just let themselves.
Amir: Originator of this perspective - went over all calls to police by women who
claimed to be sexually assaulted - when you look at it in detail you see that stranger
rape is not predominated - women usually call about people they know raping them.
Stranger rape are only the ones that get convicted. Challenged the view that most
rapist were sexual deviants - only that men who raped misread the ques women gave
them about their sexuality - misinterpretation.
Argued that the victim is partially responsible because the victim is not making it
clear that they do not want sex.
Blamed it about people's inability to communicate openly about their sexual desires
because of how community viewed talking about sexual desires.
Not alot of focus on rape/sexual assault by actual criminologists.
Susan Brownmiller's work needs to be understood in this ^^ context (scholars before
her) - In the course of being in the civil-rights movement she became very
disenchanted by these movements because they were fundamentally sexist - male
dominated - women not paid attention to when raising gender inequality - as a
consequence of feeling like gender was not taken seriously that motivated
Brownmiller to do her work.
Stokely Carmichael, American civil rights
Brownmiller and other women pissed by his statement - treated like sexual objects. Susan Brownmiller is involved in many radical feminist movements during the 1960s
and 1970s, one radical feminist conference in 1978, after she listened to the people in
this she wrote her book 4 years later, an immediate bestseller and highly
controversial. Because it implicated all men in the oppression of all women - formed a
strong argument about dominance and power not a crime of lust.
Brownmiller in Against Our Will
Believed rape was influential conciously and subconciously in every male-female
Last statement: As soon as men discovered that they could rape and women were
afraid of this - suddenly gave men a source of power - didn't even need to act our
rape just needed the fear of it. So essentially in prehominid times when men realised
this - women became dependant on men for protection. Her argument was that even
men who didn't rape benefitted from it because made women dependant on them.
Rape is - men want to have more sex then women want to have this makes them
angry and rape to punish them because theyre angry at them, it's learned behaviour
not biological - learn from other men and from culture - rape jokes are part of this
culture that teach men that under certain circumstances rape is ok, rejected
pyschoanalytic theories - it's a social problem - caused by structured gender
inequalities not individual pathologies - rejected the victimologist approach to that
women who didn't say no properly were a little bit to blame.
She rejected pyschological theories that said - insecure men who think theyre
unattractive or don't know how to get women.
Evidence cited in support of Brownmiller's or other feminists' arguments
Ubiquity of rape - Rape has existed in every society, if it was a consequence of
individual pathology we wouldn't see it in every society.
Rapists' attitudes towards women - Historical evidence suggest that men who rape
are not abnormal or sexually deprived - we see aristocrats, clergy, all classes of men
raping women - rapists are normal men from all walks of life. For example: research
surveys show that a 1/3 of college men would rape women if they would never be
Rapists' use of violence - more violence used then needed to commit the sexual act -
if it was just about sex why would they murder after, or sexually mutiliate them in
ways that aren't necessary. Many rapists are sexually aroused by seeing their victims