“All men are rapists.” So said a character, a radical feminist, in Marilyn French’s 1977 book, The Women’s Room.
Though many have denied that it was Ms. French’s sentiment, just her character’s, none can deny that many real radical feminists have not only repeated the statement in all seriousness but have elaborated it, even to the extent of claiming that “all heterosexual intercourse is rape.”
This last statement is often falsely attributed to Catherine MacKinnon or Andrea Dworkin, both of whom have denied using those exact words. But I have heard less prominent feminists, including professors in women’s studies courses, repeating and expounding on those statements.
This has given rise to a model of western culture as “a culture of rape” with radical feminists asserting that the patriarchal Judeo-Christian culture has been especially supportive of rape and rapists. They cite cases of female rape victims being re-victimized on the witness stand; of the eroticizing of rape in literature, the visual arts, and the mass media; and, more recently, the increasing popularity of jokes about rape.
They support their characterization of America as a rape culture with statistics. One out of six American women, 17 percent, have been victims of rape or attempted rape. When men are asked, on an anonymous questionnaire, if they have engaged in various activities, six percent admit to having done things that fit the definition of rape. That says that there are more than nine million rapists in the United States.
There seem to be a lot of men raping women in America.
But I look at the other side of those same statistics. Five out of six women have never experienced any attempt to rape them. Nineteen out of twenty men have never tried to rape anyone. There’s an awful lot of men not raping a lot of women.
Even in Islamic cultures, which explicitly give women different, and arguably lesser, rights than men, and in which rape is seldom successfully prosecuted in courts, rape is uncommon. Contrary to the impression sometimes given in Western media, the vast majority of muslim women never experience rape and the vast majority of muslim men never rape anyone.
If you’re an average woman, no one has ever tried to rape you; and, if you’re an average man, you’ve never tried to rape anyone.
If you’re one of the unfortunate seventeen percent of women who have had to endure an attempted or actual rape, then my heart goes out to you. But, you know something? So do the hearts of most men.
In our so-called “culture of rape”, the penalties for rapists are severe. The exact penalty depends on the state because different states have different laws. And it depends on the method of rape, the age of the victim, and various special circumstances. In most of America, a man can be sentenced to life in prison for a single act of forceable rape.
In principle, if the rape is a federal crime, a seventeen-year-old man who has consensual intercourse with a seventeen-year-old woman may be sentenced to fifteen years in a federal penitentiary. Under the law, the woman is not mentally or emotionally capable of giving her consent but the man is capable of intending to rape her. Similar logic may be found in the laws of many states.
Radical feminists might point to that as an example of a paternal legal system giving men more personal responsibility than women.
Where penalties are severe, it is incumbent on the legal system to work especially hard to ensure that innocent people are not falsely convicted. Despite this need, the so-called “patriarchal legal system” has passed special laws to protect rape victims from cross-examination about their sexual histories and to protect their identities.
Does this sound like the patriarchal legal system tolerates rape? Not to the thousands of convicted rapists who are serving time in American penitentiaries. Especially when rapists serve harder time than other prisoners. Even convicts will not tolerate a rapist among them.
And what about the depiction of rape in the mass media? Murder is depicted far more often than rape. Even driving cars beyond the speed limit is depicted more often than rape. And far more women are killed in automobile accidents than by rapists. Why don’t feminists decry the American “culture of dangerous driving” as loudly as the “culture of rape”?
Maybe because it doesn’t sound as sexy.
While many people, men and women, may fantasize about rape as erotic, in the same way that they may fantasize about committing murder to avenge a wrong as satisfying or quitting their job to become a professional golfer as fulfilling, they don’t do it in the real world.
Not only are ninety-five percent of the men in America not rapists, they do not tolerate rape and they support police and courts that capture, convict, and incarcerate rapists. They always have, even before women were given the vote or elected to government office.
This makes perfect biological sense. If a man takes the trouble to woo and seduce a woman, and is willing to make a long-term commitment to raising children that she bears, he will not tolerate the biological cheater who tries to impregnate his woman by raping her. Nor will he tolerate a man who rapes his potential future mates or his daughters or other female relatives.
From an evolutionary perspective, the non-raping male has more to lose than the raped woman. The offspring of a rape carries fifty percent of the woman’s genes but none of her cuckolded mate. Her most significant biological loss is the potential loss of her mate who may not stay to care for the child produced by the rape.
Biology predicts that the more a culture makes women vulnerable – by being in the workforce, by travelling alone, by being out at night, etc. – the more severely it will pursue, prosecute, and imprison men who commit rape.
Despite what the radical feminists claim, Western industrialized societies have created the strongest “culture of rape intolerance” in history.
Western men like it that way.
And those jokes about rape? They’re not as common as claimed. It’s a lot easier to find editorials decrying them than the actual jokes themselves. The few that I have been able to find belittle the rapist, depicting him as a foolish and sexually ineffective man. That’s no surprise. Jokes about any minority are usually told at the expense of that minority.