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Rape and Self-Control

Ville Kokko

Posted on June 3, 2018 16:58

2 users

There's this idea that a man can lose self-control and rape a woman. What if we taught the same thing about other crimes?

Several years ago, I was involved in an online discussion where one participant defended the Islamic hijab on the basis that if women are not covered up, men will be unable to resist the temptation to rape them. I was young and unprepared for that conversation. This is what I wish I had told her – and it also applies to people with similar ideas in the West.

Suppose a man is dining with his friends. He's very hungry and he'd like one more of the delicious cookies, but the last one is on the plate of the person sitting next to him. Will he grab it and stuff it in his mouth?

Suppose a man just heard his co-worker made a stupid mistake that will mean lots of extra work for him as well, and he's angry. Will he punch his co-worker? Or strangle him?

Suppose a man really wants a new widescreen television, but he can't afford one. Now, he's walking past a store window and sees the television set of his dreams. Will he break the window and run away with the TV?

If not, why not?

Suppose a man sees a beautiful woman and feels lust for her. Will he rape her?

Maybe the man won't steal the cookie because he knows that it would be a lousy way to treat his friend, and also because he knows everyone will think ill of him.

Maybe the man won't physically attack his co-worker because he knows that his anger over a mistake doesn't justify physical violence – and that he'd be held accountable both by other people and the law.

Maybe the man won't steal the television because he knows stealing is wrong and because he knows he would get caught and go to jail.

And maybe...

Maybe the man won't rape the woman because he knows it's a horrible, traumatizing act of violence, and also because he would be reviled by everyone for it and punished by the law.

Or maybe the man will rape the woman because he thinks it would be her fault, not his; because all the talk he has heard about rape has focused on something other than in what way it harms the victim so he doesn't even understand that; because he's been told men such as himself don't have free choice in such situations anyway; and because he knows she will be accused and questioned, not him.

In most situations, a person who's so unable to control their impulses as to commit violent or otherwise wrong actions just because of being tempted would be considered deficient, a brute. We usually make it clear to people that they are responsible for what they do, and that's enough to rein in most antisocial impulses. If you want to make an exception for a particular violent act and make it clear that men won't be held responsible for it, you're making a choice. It's "won't control himself," not "can't".

Ville Kokko

Posted on June 3, 2018 16:58

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Source: Daily Mail

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