1. Jane Goodall
spent 30 years in the wilds of Africa observing chimpanzee behavior.
In those 30 years, how many rapes did Goodall see among the chimpanzees?
(a) More than
a hundred rapes,
(b) An occasional rape,
(c) No rapes.
30 years observations, Jane Goodall never saw one rape among
the chimpanzees, our closest primate cousins. Though it's not
possible to draw firm conclusions about human behavior from
animals, Goodall's findings, and many other recent studies,
get us questioning the old myths we have about rape. One of
the most persistent myths about rape is that male biology and
primitive male sex urges drive men to rape. But current information
indicates that rape is more a learned act of sexual violence
that comes out of social beliefs that men have a right to dominate
and control women. The fact that rape is learned means that
we can work to change the underlying beliefs and eliminate rape
from our communities.
When was the first national study done on rape in the United States?
first national study on rape, called "Rape in America", was
done in 1992 by the U.S. Department of Justice. The fact that
as a nation we went to the moon and explored deep into the structure
of molecules before we ever seriously asked questions about
rape shows how strong is our society's urge to ignore the subject
of rape, to ignore the victims, and to ignore the search for
solutions to stop rape. One reason there is such a strong tendency
to avoid looking at the realities of rape is because these realities
clearly expose the very violent means by which many men dominate
and terrorize women. Although more people are now willing to
talk about rape, we all still have to keep pushing our communities
to stay focused on the important work of analyzing and stopping
What percent of rapists are male?
of rapists are male. Though boys and men are sometimes victims
of rape, even in these cases the rapists are almost always male.
Some people believe that the reason most all rapists are male
is because woman aren't physically capable of rape. But if you
think about it, women are equally capable as men of using a
weapon to order another person to have sex against their will.
Yet it's extremely rare for women to do so. One reason most
all rapists are male is because in male dominated societies
males are taught in many ways that they are entitled to dominate
women. Females aren't taught they are entitled to dominate men.
True or False. Constantly bringing up the male versus female aspect
of rape is not a good way to talk about rape because it just angers
all the men who don't rape.
The male versus female aspect of rape needs to be at the center
of discussions about rape because it is sexism and the inequalities
between males and females that drive rape. In the same way,
it would have been impossible to stop the lynching of black
people without talking about racism and white people's domination
of blacks. Men and boys who don't rape have a very heroic role
to play in eradicating rape in our society. They need to join
with women in the fight for women's equality. But first they
must get over their anger about discussing the facts of male
domination of females. There are many men and boys who have
done that, and they are making an important difference.
What is meant when it's said that all women and girls are victims
of rape even though some women and girls have never been raped.
rape of one woman is a degradation, terror, and limitation to
all women. It's similar to the group fear and oppression that
terrorized all black people as a result of some black people
being lynched. Most women and girls limit their behavior because
of the existence of rape. Most women and girls live in fear
of rape. Men, in general, do not. That's how rape functions
as a powerful means by which the whole female population is
held in a subordinate position to the whole male population,
even though many men don't rape, and many women are never victims
Name three things that can be done to prevent rape.
interesting thing about the answers people give to this question
is that most responses will be an admonition to females about
how females should alter their behavior to prevent rape. People
will answer things like, "Never go out alone at night." "Stay
alert." "Don't linger on the streets." "Don't tease guys sexually."
"Always lock your windows and doors." "Always park where there
is good lighting." "Always communicate clearly and assertively
that you don't want sex." "Carry a whistle."
few of the answers will pertain to how male behavior should
be changed despite some very obvious facts: Rape won't stop
until male behavior changes. Restricting girls' freedom is unfair.
Restricting girls' freedom never has and never will stop rape.
Almost every one of the suggestions above are based on false
assumptions about rape, and, in reality, do very little to protect
girls from rape. Finally, constantly telling girls what they
should do to prevent rape sends the harmful message that females,
and not males, are responsible if they get raped.
So try that question again. Name three things that can be done
to prevent rape.
are many, many things that can be done to prevent rape. Here
Protest all degrading and discriminatory treatment of women
B. Make sure there is equality between boys and girls
in the home and school. If, for example, girls have to do more
housework than boys, it sends a message that girls are supposed
to serve boys, and as the boys get older they think girls should
serve them sexually too. Girls and boys must be treated equally.
C. Integrate male dominated institutions at the top.
When women hold half the power, rape and rapists will no longer
8. In the United
States, families set a teenage girl's curfew on an average of
two hours earlier than a teenage boy's curfew. Why is this so?
reason most often given for setting a teenage girl's curfew
on the average of two hours earlier than a teenage boy's curfew
is to protect girls from sexual assault. In fact, just a generation
ago, if a rapist was known to be loose, it was common for cities
to put out a citywide order for all females to be in their homes
city wide curfews of a generation ago and the earlier average
curfews for girls today are just one of many examples of how
restrictions are imposed on females' freedom because of rape,
instead of imposing restrictions on males' freedom. Restricting
girls' freedom more than boys' freedom is unfair and harmful
to girls. It sends the message to both boys and girls that boys
can do what they want and girls have to pay the price. This
message doesn't prevent rape. In fact, it's one of the attitudes
which perpetuates rape. Besides, it doesn't even make sense
that girls should be at home earlier than boys. When you think
about it, there are a number of late night dangers that affect
boys much more frequently than girls, like deadly car crashes.
9. Can you think
of a word that is used to describe males that has the equivalent
meaning of the words "whore" or "slut" as used to describe females?
words "whore" and "slut" are very degrading terms used for females
who don't keep a tight control on their sexuality. There are
no equivalent degrading terms for identical sexual behavior
by males. The constant trashing of women's and girls' sexuality
with words like "whore", "slut", and "bitch", is not only immediately
degrading to the individual, it also contributes to a climate
which fosters rape. When free expression of female sexuality
is defined as trash, and free expression of male sexuality is
defined as good, then it's much easier for men and boys to rationalize
doing whatever they want sexually to women and girls.
10. If a fourteen
year old is being very sexy and flirtatious with an adult, and
feels love for the adult, why is it a crime for the adult to have
sex with the teenager?
adult cannot have sex with a youngster for much the same reason
that its against the law for an adult to make a contract with
a youngster. There is no way a youngster can set limits on an
adult, can foresee the consequences, or protect themselves in
the relationship. As such, any adult that has sex with a fourteen
year old is automatically in a criminal and abusive relationship
with the child.
11. Which is more
damaging to the victim, a rape committed by a stranger or a rape
committed by someone known to the victim? And why?
out of six forcible rapes in the U.S. are committed by someone
known to the victim, like a husband, father, brother, neighbor,
teacher, uncle, or boyfriend. Even today, many people don't
think that rapes committed by someone you know are as serious
as those committed by a stranger. Though it's impossible to
say which rape is more damaging, being raped by someone you
know can be a more intense betrayal of the victim, and can cause
the victim to lose fundamental trust in those around her, and
to lose trust in herself. One of the reasons rape by someone
known to the victim is often not taken as seriously as rape
by a stranger is because of the lingering view of women as the
property of the men in her life. In fact, when a woman is raped
by a stranger, some husbands and fathers still react like they
are the victim, because some other man took their property.
12. True or False.
Police and other authorities take rape very seriously.
and False. Some police and authorities take rape very seriously,
but way too many continue to protect rapists and ignore the
victims and the crime. Just last year 2000: In New York City,
TV news video showed police ignoring women's pleas for help
when the sexual assaults were occurring right in front of the
officers' eyes. In Philadelphia, journalists discovered, and
Philadelphia Police finally admitted, that the department had
recently dumped upwards of four thousand rape cases. In northern
California, the press revealed that Catholic bishops for decades
have covered up priests' sexual assaults of children and parishioners
in their care. Though there have been some improvements in the
last ten years, officials of male dominated institutions, like
police, district attorneys, school principals, church leaders,
and company managers, continue to have a strong tendency to
protect the rapist and sacrifice the victim. This is one of
the main reasons rape continues to exist.
13. True or False.
Rape is a very easy accusation to make, and a very difficult crime
This is a very old and very frequently repeated myth about rape.
According to the FBI, less than 2% of rape reports are false,
about the same low percentage as with most other crimes. The
myth that rape is an easy accusation to make serves to wrongly
undermine women's credibility and the need for women to talk
about their experience with rape.
is also not a difficult crime to prove. In the first place,
there's usually no who-done-it since the victim usually always
knows the perpetrator. In the second place, because the victim
and perpetrator usually know each other well, there a number
of investigative techniques available to detectives which take
advantage of that relationship.Too many police and district
attorneys continue to tell the public that rape is a difficult
crime to prove in order to make excuses for not prosecuting
14. What percent
of rape victims do not report to police?
the U.S., 84% of forcible rape victims do not report the crime
to police. Rape is the most under-reported serious crime in
the nation. And even when rape is reported, it has a lower conviction
rate than robbery. Most rape victims don't report the rape because
they fear that they will be blamed for the rape, that the rape
won't be taken seriously, or that she will be stigmatized by
the rape. Unfortunately, unless a rape victim gets good support
from friends and proper response from authorities, it's still
true that many rape victims will be ostracized, blamed, and
treated with disregard.
15. If a friend
comes to you and says she or he has been raped, what should you
do to help?
you are a youngster, rape is too serious and complex for you
or your friend to handle on your own. So the best thing you
can do is tell your friend that rape is very serious, and and
then encourage your friend that she or he needs to tell an adult
who can help. If your friend won't tell an adult, you should
tell. At the same time, try not to tell all the other kids.
you are an adult, believe your friend. Help her find help. And
if she wants, always accompany your friend, or find other helpful
people who can accompany your friend, whenever she goes to authorities,
employers, school officials, union officials, family members
etc. to deal with the rape. Just your physical presence will
greatly reduce the risk that your friend will be treated badly.
It will also give her the comfort and support she needs.