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Davis, California

Monday, May 27, 2024

Rape? Yes, I do want to talk about it: Stopping the rapists

It is fact that one in six females will get raped at some point during their lifetime. And every 107 seconds, another rape occurs in America. So I don’t know about you, but reading those statistics motivates me to pretty much do whatever I can to be one of the OTHER 5 people who won’t be assaulted.

And naturally, I’ll do so by observing that one girl who did get raped and attempt to be the exact opposite of her. If she dresses slutty, I’m going to dress like a nun. If she takes vodka shots, I’m going to hide from alcohol. And if she gets raped, I’m just going to have to NOT get raped. Phew – dodged that bullet. It is only human nature to think this way. Nobody wants something terrible to happen to them. Nobody likes random chances. And everybody wants to feel like they have SOME control over their fate, which is why it is so much easier to blame victims for sexual assault.  It is so much easier to live in a world where things happen for a reason. Because if we don’t – how do we powerlessly accept the thought that we could literally be raped at any 107 second interval?

The answer to that question is: we shouldn’t have to live with that thought. We shouldn’t have to live in terror, knowing that we could be completely objectified and traumatized today,tomorrow or next Tuesday. But we do. And we should not have to live in terror because females are just majestic tempting creatures, but we do because of one simple fact: rape is going to happen if rapists exist.

So the only real solution, then, is to just get rid of all the rapists out there. Let’s just round them all up, put them in a box and “mistakenly” chuck that box into the ocean. Sound good? I’d probably get extreme satisfaction in doing so. But unfortunately, the “I’m a rapist” club hasn’t exactly made T-shirts yet. Rapists are a little harder to find than that – I mean hell, they don’t always know they’re rapists. They don’t wake up every morning with the total awareness and acceptance that they ruin lives. No. It’s way more complicated than that.

A rapist is not just some idiot who “accidentally” has sex with people who aren’t super down for it. A rapist is a murderer who uses sex as a weapon. And just like a murderer, a rapist’s entire character can be defined by even just one crime committed. When you are raped, you are stripped of your humanity – of the life inside of you. A rapist may not actually kill you, but they kill such a huge part of you. And it takes somebody severely and fundamentally messed up to kill.

Rapists’ problems lie in the core of their mind and soul, and often form because: 1) They have been abused at some point in their lives and want to regain a sense of control and 2) They have been raised with a distorted understanding of empathy. They have learned a sense of entitlement so powerful to the point of genuine indifference to other’s sufferings.

So have all rapists been raped? Not exactly. In fact, in a study of 114 convicted rapists, 91%  denied experiencing childhood sexual abuse. However abuse takes place even in the smallest ways. It could be the slightest mistreatment, either physical, verbal or sexual that can make someone feel powerless. It can transform somebody’s entire life purpose. It can make someone struggle their whole life to regain a sense of power. And, unfortunately, some aim to do that in the most horrifying way – through rape.

Secondly, rapists have developed a belief system that justifies their own behavior.  Think about it – kids aren’t born with empathy or compassion for others. Quite frankly, children are selfish and entitled, and only learn not to be through years of conditioning from their parents. Children must learn to care for others. They must learn to respect women just like they must learn not to yank a toy out of another kid’s hands. Because if they never learn those things then we wind up with rapists behaving as two-year-olds with who refuse to accept that sometimes they just CAN’T have that super shiny fire truck. Sometimes the answer is just NO.

Additionally, people are more likely to become rapists if they grow up in households or societies with an authoritative male figure and subservient female figure. Rapists have often grown up around people who subconsciously perpetuate the idea that women are inferior and therefore undeserving of respect. This teaches people to separate their understanding of women with their understanding of a human being. And for a rapist (and our misogynistic society), it’s a hell of a lot easier to justify raping somebody who isn’t actually a person.

We must understand what makes somebody a rapist so we can understand how to stop these people from existing. We must teach our friends, our neighbors, our kids and our two-year-old cousins to be decent human beings. Because only then can we remove rapists from the equation. Maybe once we do that, there won’t even be an equation at all. And as far as I’m concerned, nobody likes math that much anyway.

Like her bluntness? Contact Maddy Pettit at mepettit@ucdavis.edu



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