Fran Luck responds to Women Under Siege post on cause of rape

I agree with your premise: that we cannot stop rape until we understand its cause(s). And you are right on track when you assert that attention is routinely paid to the victim, not the rapist. But then, in my opinion, you veer sadly off-track when you attribute rape to “society that falters” and also to such causes as “feelings of inferiority” or a “crushing sense of powerlessness.” While such factors no doubt can be contributive, the fact remains that rapists span all economic and hardship categories. Rich men rape as well as poor men. For instance, one of the loci of rape (date rape) is the fraternity house–often associated with an Ivy League school. Bosses rape their employees. In the American South, pre-Civil War, slavemasters raped their slaves. Rape seems to be a crime of opportunity, just as likely to be fueled by a sense of entitlement as by a sense of powerlessness. What rapists in group therapy (in prisons, etc.) have admitted, is that their belief system about women was a critical factor underlying their willingness to rape–in other words, what feminists have labeled “male supremacy.” A culture based on male supremacy normalizes male entitlement to female bodies and provides men with rationalizations for rape, i.e., “the bitch really wanted it,” “Why would she dress that way if she wasn’t looking for it?” etc. If we really want to get down to the bedrock of rape, we must aim big–we must go after male supremacy itself, in all of its manifestations, whether they be men getting paid more than women for the same work; inequalities in training and promotion; insulting stereotypes about women in the media; lack of representation of women in political leadership–and all of the many expressions of male supremacy that continue, inspite of some amount of progress, to exist in our cutlure. LInk to Women Under Siege article by Cara Hoffman at


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