The Nirbhaya case, the rape of a 3-year-old, the brutal Arab rape game of Taharrush, the countless rape cases that make it to the newspapers, and the ones that go unreported; all of them leave us wondering:
"What were they even thinking? What goes in the minds of rapists?Why do they rape?"
Rape, like any other crime, might have varied and sometimes even unknown reasons. The crime of passion clause which is mostly used in assault and murder cases, arose because the court took into account, human feelings, and emotions. Can't rape be said to fall under this clause? I'm not defending rapists, or saying that they might have their reasons to justify what they did. No. Never. Rape is a serious crime, and in no circumstance, should be tolerated. But what we often forget is that like every other crime, it may have different facets.
As the writer and activist, Wendy McElroy points out,
She further adds on in her lecture on the Fallacy Of The Rape Culture, that rape is not merely caused by cultural factors but by the conscious decision of a small fraction of a community to commit a violent crime.
Almost 3 years ago, one Redittor asked this question:
Reddit's had a few threads about sexual assault victims, but are there any redditors from the other side of the story? What were your motivations? Do you regret it?
The replies followed by people giving accounts of having had raped someone, sometime in their life. They gave different reasons for their actions. You'll probably hate every one of it, because they recount doing it, but seldom the horror of the crime.
Here's what they said:
Because he didn't know on which signal to act on.
She ran to my bed and didn't want me to touch her. I didn't understand what had happened. This hyper sexual person who had offered to give me head suddenly didn't want to touch me.
When he did not understand that her 'no' meant a firm 'no'.
I was a freshman and hooking up with this girl who got naked in bed with me, then said no. I think she just wanted to do oral. I was extremely horny and already close to doing it, so I ignored her and did it. She realized what was happening and tried to clamp her legs shut, but it was too late and I was much stronger than her.
Because he thought she was too sexual.
Sue had always been quite flirty, she was a cop's daughter and I feel that lead to her being a bit rebellious. I remember instances from years ago (possibly 8th grade or freshman year) where she would make jokes about different bras or thongs she was wearing, and was always freely talking about sexual desires and experiences. She just had this unusually sexual way of carrying herself, I don't know if anyone knows what I'm talking about, but she'd kind of leave her mouth hanging open/bend over quite a bit/almost unreal-porn star like. Remember though, this was all happening in my high school library during study hall. Not a whole let ever happened more than some dry groping. I wanted to take it further though, she had really begun to turn me on...
Because she MUST want to do an older guy.
I can't remember how it happened, but me and the girl (she was maybe 17) ended up play wrestling with me pinning her down. We were all laughing, but we when made eye contact...it was "that" look we exchanged. The.."I'd fuck you" look. Now, I remember exactly what I was thinking at the time. This girl gave me "the look" earlier, she invited me into her bed. What teenage girl would pass up the oppertunity to be with a 22 year old guy? She MUST want it. I tried again, and slid my hands over her body.
Because he didn't want to regret not doing anything.
Ended up happening again after a party. She was a good friend. I was drunk and super horny. I looked at her and knew I could never be with her. She had already hooked up with my friend. It was that feeling of never being able to do something, or have something. I looked at her and just saw something I would regret not trying for. So I thought if I could feel her I would know what it was to be with her. I grabbed her boob, over the shirt. I touched her lip and she moved her head. I stop dead thinking I woke her up, but she relaxed again. I started going upstairs but felt a sudden urge to lift her skirt. I ran my hand across her ass and between her legs. I was so drunk I turned on the light to get a better look, then quickly realized that it would wake her up and turned the light off.
Because of the 'I'm a male and I have to fuck' argument.
Most girls don't really understand how horny guys are, how much stronger guys are, how guys will rationalize what they do. I see feminists and women on the Internet saying that no means no and women should be able to get as drunk as they want and not be sexually assaulted, and I couldn't agree me. But the reality of the situation is that women have to be careful because guys are one way when they're hanging out and another way when they're horny or worse drunk and horny. That doesn't make what happened okay, but it is what it is.
He regrets what happened, and says that he did because:
...It was then I looked at her face. She was petrified. I at that point pulled myself together, rolled off her and apologized. My hormones were RAGING. I asked her why she didn't want to. I told her what I thought above. She started to cry.
Many shared how they felt bad about it afterwards, and how they were depressed for a long time because of what had happened.
I have never in my life felt as shitty and depressed as when she told me that she felt what happened was rape. The depression made me have to drop out of school and go live back home. My parents thought I was gonna try to kill myself so I started taking medication and going to therapy and it actually helped a little. I'm over my depression now but I never, and will never, feel as low as I did because of that night.
I still think about it sometimes, and I feel terrible. It took a very long time for me to get over her. Dated another girl immediately after for many months, wishing it was this first girl the whole time. Then I met someone who really helped me get past her. I've never done anything like that ever again, and never will. I just wish I hadn't learned that lesson in that way, and that she had to suffer for it.
The dialogue that ensued on Reddit might not have been an ideal one. But it was the first step towards a dialogue on rape and rapists. In order to understand what goes in the mind of rapists, to even imagine doing away with rape, conversation is key. A discussion that listens to both the parties - the victim and the perpetrator. If we keep pushing for stringent punishments for rape, but fail to address the minds of the people who rape, there is going to be no reprieve. The punishment for rape will merely frighten the perpetrator, but it will not deter him from committing the crime.