Useful Ideas to Analyze Rape (edited)

February 16, 2013

Well, after this week’s pioneering attempt 😀 for us to analyze/analyse rape in an adult education classroom, I’d like to share a few ideas — for in feminism there has been in-depth analysis for quite a few decades now.  After reading these ideas, do you think it would be easier to come up with ideas on how each of us can contribute to striving to stop rape?

RAPE HAPPENS EXTENSIVELY IN PATRIARCHAL SOCIETIES and it is related to LIMITING WOMEN’S FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT — patriarchal societies accept as “natural” that women’s freedom of movement should be limited instead of tackling why they can’t and educate men to change that. The underlying ideology here also shows a belief that it is “natural” there exist men who rape (in “peace situations”, mostly because women provoke, when they comply with what patriarchal values establish as sexy or pretty; at war, because they need to “fight the enemy humilliating Him by raping His women”).

RAPE IS GENDER VIOLENCE, this is, a particular form of violence that “men” use against “women” and men they feel don’t “deserve” the honor of being a man. (Can there be other reasons why a man would get raped by… other men?, women?, a person?)

RAPE IS UNRELATED TO SEX (to having sex). It is a form of torture.

RAPING IS NOT A BIOLOGICAL NEED — It’s cultural. Women, for instance, do have sexual needs and they don’t rape. A lot of men also have sexual needs and they don’t rape. Rape has nothing to do with sexual needs.

WE NEED TO PROTEST THE MARKET SYSTEM THAT CONNECTS RAPE TO SEXUAL INTERCOURSE because rape is not about pleasure but about torture and power-over: this happens extensively in the underworld of prostitution, pornography, advertisements, movies and TV series, teens magazines (consider all the market addressing little and older girls), with their pop icons, etc.

WE SHOULD MAKE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT WE FEEL, HOW WE VIEW RAPE SURVIVORS because they are victims of one of the most horrible crimes in humanity and should be listened to, treated with respect, and supported. We should also stop this silence around rape, because it traps these victims in a world of isolation and loneliness.

WE SHOULD LEARN FROM FEMINIST ANALYSES AND STOP SUSPECTING ANALYSES BY WOMEN WHO USE THEIR MINDS TO TRANSFORM INJUSTICE IN OUR SOCIETIES. We should stop obeying the patriarchal dogma that Women are Evil/Dangerous/Incapable of human intelligence. Also, intellectual activity cannot develop healthily without freedom of thought, without an openess to listen, without dialog/dialogue. We can learn from women, not only when they are transmitting patriarchal ideas.


Thanks to the conversation we’re having in the comments posted here, I’m including another useful point:

WHEN YOU DISCUSS RAPE, be aware of this: are you bringing up topics that divert our attention from focusing on the proposoed analysis of why men rape women, of why it is widespread on this planet that men rape women — and not that ANY person rapes ANY person? Check if you have had enough of analyzing the most widespread gender problems, problems affecting most people and you can really move on to focusing on less widespread but connected problems.

Not in order to give them less importance, of course, but to be able to develop a rational analysis. For instance, it is terrible men rape men, too, but if we are speaking about an invisible widespread problem of men raping women, can we speak about this first? Then, we can analyse more things! It is very common when you bring this issue up that people react mentioning exceptions like: men raped by men, women raping men (??), women helping men to rape (but not men helping men to rape, which is one of the most widespread and terrifying realities women face in the world!)…


  1. Men are also raped by other men. Women maybe more likely to be raped but men also are raped so is it fair to say that it is gender violence??? Recently listened to a documentary about men being raped in Uganda and other LDCs and I was a bit surprised by the stats. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.

    • Proportion. There exist psychopaths, but psychopaths are not a social problem in most societies. There are women who are cruel, but this is not a social problem. Men rape women and women don’t rape men, and this is invisible, we can’t see it.

      Gender violence is a social problem patriarchal societies have created and developed for centuries: women have been raped for centuries and have fought rape for centuries, and we have no information about this. Just that religious leaders and other power holders have justified it in different ways, always making victims appear as evil.

      In the text above, the idea of why men rape other men — which is usually in the context of “teaching them a lesson” for “not being able to be true men” — is also mentioned. Please, read it again and mull it over! Actually, the men who rape men are not generally homosexual. And of course, rape is as unconnected to sexual intercourse as rape coming from gender violence (= the violence of men against women, on the planet, this social problem).

      I would like to recommend being cautious when we unconsciously try to destroy the legitimacy of a struggle against a problem with examples of other problems in society. Why is it that when women mention gender violence people start to address other kinds of violence? Can’t we focus in analyzing each?

      Thanks for posting! Kind regards!

      • Hi Michelle, I am not disputing that gender violence doesn’t occur. I was interested in how rape since it is used both against women and men fits into the category of gender violence. You quoted from the text above. Is this the only reason men rape men because these men are not true men? Can these men also rape other men as a demonstration of power not necessarily because they think these men are not true men? Thanks for answering.

      • Hi again!
        (Well, my second comment was separate from my reply to your post, OK? It’s a general thought, so to say. But it’s true that I’m using it to give a deeper idea of how deep the notion “gender violence” is.)
        About your question, I believe I already answered. I think that if you keep my replies in mind, the realization will be a process, because we all know about this — how the more violence we get, the more we hate ourselves, and doubt ourselves, instead of coming to the logical conclusion: that we are getting a cruellest amount of violence, in the shape of all kinds of violence, including considering women are not capable or rational thought. Complex questions require going over an over the ideas we think are faulty. Most of the times we discover we had a prejudice that was obstaculizing our full understanding. This operates exactly as when we try to word explanations, of course! 🙂

        My explanation about why men rape men above is a gender explanation and therefore it cannot include all the case of rape, but it’s a valid generalization, too, therefore it is useful to understand how the gender violence (of males towards females) can also affect certain men (rape survivors). I feel you don’t fully understand what I mean — it might also be I don’t express myself well — when you say it’s wrong to say “rape happens both to men and women”, because you are denying (unconsciously or culturally) in this way the severeness of male violence against women on the planet. It’s not comparable — the amount of people who are subject to male violence just because they are “women.” Saying that “both” get raped is a misleading idea in the analysis. I also mentioned another resource to avoid these traps to put ourselves, to consistently and unconsciously defend the state of the human world, of the prevailing social system.

        Answering your question, of course. But there are different levels of analysis and we divert our attention of a topic when we focus in one of the points of that topic, and not one that explains why there is widespread violence against women by men in a world where women are mostly locked in homes, superexploited as slaves, and taking care of people.

        Why men raping men can be explained within, can be included in the analysis framework of gender violence, is because it relates to the patriarchal dogmas on who “deserves” violence. I mentioned psychopaths as examples of a kind of violence that may be explained individually as a result of mental illness — though we feminists wonder about why it is so common that the images of psycopaths’ crimes are so mysogynist, sheer gender violence (and how desperately movie directors need to use them, those naked raped chopped up bodies of women). Actually, mental disorders can be expressed culturally, too. With this I mean, perhaps if we did not live in such an unfair and violent social system, perhaps rape would exist, but if it did, it would be “performed” by any human being against any human being. It is like the question of “Is it possible we developed a sexual attention system by professional sex workers (with a payroll and labor rights)?” Perhaps, but prostitution is not about that. Prevailing prostitution and Porn in the world today are based on the mysogynist notions of the patriarchal ideology (in any case, we should protect prostitutes and make sure they are there because they chose to be there, something that is just the case in an insignificant percentage of the world of prostition on the planet), which need to impose (educate?) their notions of what human beings are — a very limited and mentally-unintelligent idea because it conceives the most important question to form human groups, the fundamental question, is GENITALs. And we human beings have human minds and all kinds of bodies and ideas.

        coffee time! 🙂

  2. Why can’t we acknowledge we have a problem of gender violence on the planet? Because this is directly related to our patriarchal social system and we all defende it, unless we learn to develop our human mind beyond what we are constantly taught: the gender lesson.

    Have we noticed that feminist struggles always include many other oppressions, care about other oppressions, and how specialized other kinds of struggles are? Why should this be so?

  3. OK, so I’m including another point in the post above, something like: Try to be alert when you analyze rape when you are focusing on specific problems and when you are focusing on the general problem.

  4. Reblogged this on culturaylibertad and commented:
    Very interesting!!!

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