Defining Rapists as Insane

1. In a survey of male college students, 15 percent said they might commit rape if there was no chance of getting caught. (from "Men Demystified" by Melissa Goodman in _Glamour_ [date missing] She lists a couple of dozen sources for the article, but I can't tell which one this tidbit was supposed to have come from.

2. Dr. Joyce Brothers, "Date Rape", _St. Louis Post-Dispatch Parade_ (Sunday magazine), Sept. 27, 1987, pp. 1, 4-6

In a landmark survey of 7000 students at 35 colleges and universities across the country, financed by the National Institute of Mental Health, Mary P. Koss of Kent State University discovered some startling facts:

* One woman student in eight had been raped, according to the legal definition, in the year previous to the survey. Rapes since the age of 14 raised the number to 25 percent.

* Ninety percent of the women knew their assailants, and 47 percent of the rapes were by first dates or romantic acquaintances.

* More than 90 percent of the women did not report the rape.

*One out of 12 men admitted to having fulfilled the prevailing definition of rape or attempted rape, yet none identified himself as a rapist.

Subsequent studies at individual colleges have confirmed these figures. They indicate that date rape occurs all over the country, in every socioeconomic group and at every age. The main victims, however, are women between 15 and 24. . . .

Gloria Fischer, a psychologist, surveyed more than 400 students at Washington State University and found that 5 percent of the women and 19 percent of the men did not define forcible sex or the man's coercion as unacceptable behavior. Rather, they felt that, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, it might be acceptable for a man to force sex on his companion. These included if the couple had been dating for a long time, if she had let him fondle her, if she wasn't a virgin or if she had "led him on". . . .

Three Texas psychologists probed the attitudes of 268 college men aged 19. The researchers found that the men fell into two groups: those who held traditional views of sex roles and those who didn't. The traditionalists thought that men, not women, should ask for dates, pay for dates, make decisions about dating activity and initiate any intimate behavior. The nontraditionalists believed in equality between the sexes.

The men were presented with different scenarios. In some, the woman asked the man out or bore all the expenses of the evening. In others, the couple spent the evening alone in the man's apartment or went to a movie. The college men were asked to indicate in which of these dating situations the man would be justified in forcing his attention [notice the euphemism] on the woman against her will.

The good news is that 80 percent of the men said that "rape" was never justified - under any circumstance. The bad news is that 20 percent felt that, in some instances, it was. Most of these men held traditional views of sex roles. They believed that a woman was leading a man on if she asked him for a date, went with him to hjis apartment or allowed him to pay for all the expenses. Most traditionalists, and even some nontraditionalists, believed that this implied a sexual invitation, which the woman had no right to withdraw later on.

From Robert Emond:

The study was done by Malamuth of Univ. of Manitoba Harber and Feshbach of UCLA, in the _Journal of Research in Personality_ 14 pg 121-137 1980. A study of UCLA undergraduates of both sexes response to rape. A rape story was read by the subjects, who then answered questions. In the story a male undergrad asks a female undergrad if she wants a ride to her dorm. She says no, he thinks she is being, "an arrogant bitch" he then forces her into the car and rapes her.

36% of the men self-reported sexual arousal while reading the story. 37% identified with the rapist. 26% said the rapist was justified (presumably because of the perceived insult). 38% said the victim enjoyed being raped, while 47% of the women said the woman enjoyed being raped (I am shocked by this). 8% of the men said the victim could have stopped the rape, while 57% of the women thought she could have stopped it. 36% of the men thought *all women* would enjoy victimization, while 32% of the women thought *all women* would enjoy victimization.

The worst part is 49% of the men said that the believe that other men would rape if they could get away with it. Even more horrendous on a scale of 1-5, 1 being most likely, when asked if *THEY* personally would rape if the could get away with it 51% fell between 1 and 2, and 21% fell on 3.

They conclude:

"Females as well as males, however, seemed to believe some myths about rape. For example, subjects believed that over 25% of the female population would derive some pleasure from being victimized. For female subjects this finding is particularly interesting in light of their very clear assertion that they personally would not under any circumstances derive pleasure from such vicitminization.

With respect to the male population's potential involvement in rape even higher percentages were indicated. Subjects believed that close to half the male population would rape if they were assured that they would not be caught and punished. With respect to their own potential involvement, males do report, quite surprisingly, similar opinions. That is , over half of the sample do not rule out the possibility that they would engage in sexual assault if they could not be caught. These findings may be interpreted as providing some support for the contention that rape is an extension of normal attitudes and socialization practices in our society rather than totally the product of a sick and aberrant mind. If within the normal educated population there is a sizeable proportion of males who believe that they might be inclined to rape if they would not be punished and if both males and females perceive half the population to be so inclined, then it is quite apparent that people generally do not view rape as potentially committed by deviants only."

Go Back to Shy David's Sexual Assault Page.