Rape - A Community Problem

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Rape - A Community Problem

This paper will focus on the social and cultural conditions that

intensify or perpetuate rape. The causes and reasons for rape are deeply

entrenched in our social structure. We can explore some of the motivations and

circumstances which lead men to rape. We have learned that some men rape out of

anger and a need to overpower, dominate, and humiliate. We can also look at some

of the historical attitudes from which today's beliefs and stereotypes have

evolved. However, we must look beyond both rapists' motivations and history if

we are to truly understand the act of rape.

Why does rape exist and what causes it? What is it about our society

that makes rape one of the fastest growing violent crimes in this country? One

way we have tried to deal with this problem is through rape prevention. These

techniques are very important in decreasing the vulnerability of individuals,

but in order to eliminate the occurrence of rape from our society, we must first

examine its causes more deeply so that we can take collective action. We must

understand the sociology of rape in order to effectively work towards the

elimination of it.

Despite the necessity for rape prevention, it must focus on eliminating

the conditions in society which make women easy targets for rape. Victim

control teaches women to avoid rape, but doesn't reduce the threat of rape.

Furthermore, rape cannot always be avoided, no matter what precautions the woman

takes. It also puts part of the responsibility and blame for rape on the victim.

Rapist control confuses prosecutions with prevention. There is little evidence

that punishment serves as a deterrent. Besides, very few rapist are ever


From very early ages, men and women are conditioned to accept different

roles. Women are raised to be passive and men are raised to be aggressive. We

are conditioned to accept certain attitudes, values and behaviors. Our

conditioning is continuously and relentlessly encouraged and reinforced by the

popular media, cultural attitudes and the educational system. The media is a

major contributor to gender-based attitudes and values. The media provides women

with a complete list of behaviors that precipitate rape. Social training about

what is proper, as well as what is powerful and macho, teaches women to be

victims and men to be aggressors.

The high incidence of rape in this country is a result of the power

imbalance between men and women. Women are expected to assume a subordinate

relationship to men. Consequently, rape can be seen as a logical extension of

the typical interactions between women and men. Women's vulnerability to rape

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