Stop Rape: Ensure Justice
Monira Nazmi Jahan:
Disgracefully, for many years, “Rape” has been considered as a property crime. Men treated women as a property and being aggressors, they use their genital as a weapon against women to suppress them. Until and unless men stop treating women only as a sexual object, this heinous crime cannot be controlled. According to the data given by Ain-O-Salish Kendra, from January 2019 to December 2019, total 1413 women and children were subjected to rape.
The word “rape” literally means forcible seizure and the simplest definition of rape is having sexual intercourse with a woman/child without her consent. Therefore, rape can be said to be forceful ravishment of a woman or child without her consent. As stated by Cesare Beccaria the father of modern criminology and Jeremy Bentham, people commit crimes after weighting the pain and pleasure. The punishment of rape is life imprisonment, but still the ratio of crime is increasing drastically because punishments are not ensured promptly.
The question that first comes in our mind is what are the societal factors that drive a man to commit sexual assault? To give an answer to this question an article of Larry Baron and Murray A. Straus can be referred. According to them, there are four variables of rape which constitutes micro-sociological theories of rape, those are; (1) gender inequality; (2) circulation of pornography; (3) culturally legitimate violence; and (4) social disorganization. In gender inequality, rape functions as a mechanism of social control in patriarchal societies. Feminists argue that rape and the fear of rape enable men to assert their power over women and maintain the existing system of gender stratification. The society considered women as only reproductive system and societal norms associated with expressions of masculinity, such as dominance and aggression, encourage men to sexually exploit women.
Under the theory of pornography some feminists theorize that pornography causes men to rape women. As sexism and male dominance are depicted and celebrated in pornography, hence, such images of women as objects of sexual exploitation tend to promote and legitimate male sexual violence. Moreover, pornography sexually objectifies women, which entails the fragmentation of a woman’s body and eroticization of her body parts. Also, pornography dehumanizes and degrades women, glamorizes violence, and legitimates sexism. The sad part is pornography circulated a message that, women enjoy being coerced, brutalized, and raped. According to social disorganization and cultural support for violence-migration, marital disruption, divorce and socially accepted violence are causes of rape. When the society practices violence, for example; corporal punishment in schools, mass media violence, and governmental use of violence-were to be generalized then offences such as rape increases.
According to the Greek Philosopher Aristotle, psychological depravity in a person due to his physical defects and incapacities also play a vital role on criminality. Thus persons who faces disgust and ridicule because of their physical deformities are tend to commit more crimes frequently. Likewise, persons with ugly look who suffers from inferiority complex indulge in sexual offences due to hatred and indifference. Consequently, they generates revengeful attitudes towards women to achieve what they want which they could not otherwise get through legitimate means. Besides physical defects, unsuccessful marital life or loss of partner causes frustration, anger and emotional disturbance that eventually culminate into delinquency. Moreover, Lindsmith observed that, alcohol and drug addictions are also causes of criminality. Drug addiction raises the urge of sexual gratification. Therefore, several rapists commit rapes due to alcoholism and addiction.
In 1979, Nicholas Groth published “Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender”, where he identified rape as an aggressive act, which constitutes “a discharge of anger; it becomes evident that the rape is the way the offender expresses and discharges a mood state of intense anger, frustration, resentment, and rage”. Groth first presented the idea that rape has three main components: power, anger and sexuality, resulting in four rapist types.
In anger rape, sexuality becomes a hostile act. Here the rapist uses rape to degrade or humiliate women, expresses much profanity, attacks often prompted by some marital conflict, occupational or financial problem. In power rape, sexuality is an expression of conquest, established masculine identity, and also likely kidnap the victim for repeated assaults over an extended period of time. In sadistic rape, there is a fusion between violence and sex wherein anger and power become eroticized. The sadistic rapist often uses torture or bondage to experience sexual arousal over the victim’s suffering, frequently targets prostitutes or women who symbolize something he wants to destroy or punish. The opportunistic rapists often rape and meet nonsexual needs. Essentially, they are adventure-seeking, impulsive, and recreational offenders.
Another classic characterization of rapists is the contrast between unselfish and selfish rapists. The unselfish rapist often exhibit verbal, sexual, or physical behavior all in a way that indicates concern for the victim. They usually do so to convince the victim to cooperate. On the other hand, the selfish rapist does not desire the victim to become involved at all. This type of rapist is derogatory toward the victim. They will use the victim’s body the same way as one uses a prop, a doll or a mannequin. Conversation between the rapist and the offender throughout the event will be consistently threatening and sexual in nature.
In conclusion, laws are there to punish the offender; however, laws alone cannot control this inhumane crime. Society at a large should change their outlook towards women. The conception that rape tarnishes the reputation of women should be changed. Media should not portray anything that objectifies women as a sexual object. Using of drugs should be strictly prohibited and punished. It is high time that the taboo of rape myth should be broken. Different agencies of society should work together to uproot the crime from every corner of the country. Importantly, theories and concepts of criminology and victimology should reflect in our penal laws.
The writer is a Senior Lecturer, Department of Law, East West University, Bangladesh