Articles on Causes of Sexual Violence and How to Control It
There are many different theories explaining the causes of sexual violence. The theories that will be discussed in this article include military conquest, socioeconomic, anger, power, sadism, traits, ethical standards, laws, and evolutionary pressures that lend some explanation to the causes of sexual violence (such as rape, molestation, sexual harassment, stalking, incest, etc... Please note, most of the research on the causes of sexual violence has only been done on male offenders (and has largely ignored female perpetrated sexual violence) and is in no way fully developed.
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Some news gone viral has once again brought to force the issue of what causes rapes. Is the size of a woman’s dress an invitation to all and sundry to rape her? Available data reveal that in Nigeria, on an average 106 rapes are reported every day, out of which 40 per cent of the victims are minors. It is even more shocking that in nearly 95 per cent of the cases, rapes are committed by none other than the relatives and family members, or people known to the victims. Rapes are a universal occurrence, they are not restricted to any particular country, region, race, caste or class. They happen as much among the poor, rural, illiterates as among the rich, urban and the so-called elites.
Rapists have all sorts of excuses and justifications for their acts. The reasons quoted are so diverse that it is nearly herculean to generalize. Rapes are committed by religious leaders, teachers, guardians, father, brother, relatives, neighbors, friends, acquaintances or even strangers. In this patriarchal and gendered world, rape is a stigmatized crime wherein aspersions are cast on the victim instead of the accused. This emboldens menfolk who bank heavily on a woman’s silence to preserve her honor. It is also very easy to put the blame on the woman for bringing out the beast in a man. There is a justification that she should be punished for arousing him. After all if there were no women, who would men rape? So maybe it is the very existence of woman that needs to be blamed for turning our holier-than-thou men into rapists.
One important issue raised time and again is related to the size of a woman’s dress. Do the dresses provoke? Are women clad in sarees and burqas not raped? We have instances where men sexually abuse animals. Should we clothe animals too? Another oft-cited reason is makeup. Rapists allege that women apply heavy makeup especially lipstick to lure men. How do you explain rape on minors, infants, old and aged women, women suffering from unsoundness of mind, women in comma or those hospitalized with severe ailments? What could they have done to catch a rapist’s fancy? Earlier men kept sex slaves, now they hire escort girls. Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession. Sugar daddies- ‘I sponsor you’ is a common western concept fast gaining in popularity in our sub-continent. Wife swapping is a notorious fact. People rape their daughters, sisters and sometimes even mothers. What causes such extreme depravity? The pathology is an obsession for sex.
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Different rapists commit rape for different reasons, and any one rapist may rape for different reasons at different times (Muehlenhard, Danoff-Burg, and Powch 1996). Thus, no one theory can explain all rapes. However, many cultural factors seem to contribute to rape.
Traditional gender roles prescribing female submission and male dominance are linked to rape. In Australia, Germany, and Japan, rates of violent sexual offenses were related to national levels of dominant masculinity (Neapolitan 1997). Studies in several countries have suggested that rigid gender roles and promotion of an ideology of male toughness are related to violence against women (Heise et al. 1994; Sunday 1981).
Characteristics of the culture and gender role socialization, however, do not explain why most men do not rape, why some women rape men, or why rape occurs in gay and lesbian relationships in which both people have experienced similar gender role socialization. Individual differences are also important.
Some people hold beliefs justifying rape more strongly than others. Men who rape tend to believe more strongly in myths about rape, and they are more likely to engage in fantasies about coercive sex (Drieschner and Lange 1999). Compared with other men, rapists drink more heavily, begin having sexual experiences earlier, and are more likely to have been physically or sexually abused as children (Berkowitz 1992; Ullman; Karabatsos; and Koss 1990).
There are four major reasons men resort to raping women.
Lax rape laws in Nigeria
It’s one of the main reasons why rapists in Nigeria are so free. The laxity of laws against rapist can be a real problem for the safety of women. The Nigerian laws lack of implementation. They are only available on the paper. At the same time, there is always a problem with social inequality within the country. On the paper, the citizens of Nigeria are equal with each other. Nevertheless, people may come from different social backgrounds and if a rapist has money and influence, justice will not be served. Therefore, as long as justice will not be provided for everyone, there is no stop factor for rapists. It’s necessary to resolve the problem with law implementation in Nigeria. When people know that there will be justice for their actions, the level of crimes will decline drastically.
Even if women protest from the idea that their dressing is one of the reasons for rape, the statistics show that it’s true. The modern way of dressing provides the exposure of various erogenous zones on the body of women. It can provoke sexual harassment in male. Also, some studies show that men see women with less closing on their body as an indicator for frivolous style of behavior. Therefore, these kind of women are considered to be more approachable for intimate intercourse. The deviant males consider less clothed women as a signal for intimate activity. The problem is quite simple, they have less control over themselves and they can’t help their urge.
Culture of silence
Silence is one of the worst causes of rape in Nigeria. It’s true that a lot of families in Nigeria would prefer to cover the crime, even against the will of the victim as they are afraid that the woman will not get married because of that. Any rape can be considered as bringing dishonor to the woman in Nigeria. Moreover, it might be considered that this dishonor was brought on by themselves. Therefore, women in Nigeria prefer to hide, rather than get justice. Also, according to some shocking myths, HIV infected men may believe that intimate intercourse with a virgin girl may lead to the cure from HIV.
Alcohol and Drugs
It’s true that most causes of rape in Nigeria are possible due to the problems with alcohol and drugs in Nigeria. Unemployed youth try to find succor in alcohol and drugs. This situation leads to the increase of violence among youth. Is it possible to save the youth from alcohol? There are thousands of different methods to do that, but unemployment is still very high in the country. With no jobs, the youth will opt will most likely opt for crime. How can Nigerian solve the problem of rape? There are many different methods to do that from the side of the government. Their protection depends from themselves also. Parents of Nigeria must understand that security of their children completely relied on them. Ladies must be more sensitive and careful. Also, the Nigerian judiciary must ensure that punishments of rapists must be swift and sever, in order to discourage such acts among others.
Strategies to Help Avoid Sexual Assault and Rape
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Awareness and assertive behavior may be your best defense against becoming an “easy target.”
Hold your head up; walk confidently, directly and at a steady pace. If you feel you are in danger of being attacked, try to escape the situation by running away from it if you can.
Try in any way you can to attract attention to yourself. Screaming “Call 911” or “Fire” is a good way to accomplish this.
If you are being followed, head for a well-lit area where you think there will be other people who may be able to help you.
Stay alert and aware. Know where the exits are if you are in a building. In crowded places such as nightclubs, always let someone know where you will be. Do not go to isolated places in a building, if you must go, take a friend. Always turn around and look at whoever may be behind you.
If you walk or jog for exercise, try to vary your route and time on the street. To be predictable is risky.
Take a self-defense course.
Trust your “gut instincts.” If a person, place or situation makes you uneasy, leave or change it immediately.
Use the emergency call boxes on campus. If you are on campus and do not have access to a phone, locate the “emergency call box” on campus to contact University Police whenever you feel unsafe.
If you are in an emergency situation and have access to a telephone, contact University Police at 4911 or local law enforcement at 911.
Report any suspicious activity or persons on campus and/or off campus to the proper authorities immediately. Report any situation that is unsafe such as insufficient lighting, high bushes, broken locks and propped doors.
Safety Tips – In Your Car
Always make sure you lock your car doors, whether or not you are in the car. Always check the floor and rear seat before getting into your car.
When returning to your car, make sure your keys are in your hand, ready for use in unlocking the door and turning on the ignition. They can also be used as a weapon, should that become necessary.
If you suspect that you are being followed while driving, keep on going — do not stop and pullover until you get to some place that is well lit and where there are other people to assist you. If possible, drive to the nearest police station to let them know you are being followed.
Avoid parking lots and garages that are poorly lit. Do not walk to and from your parked car alone if it is at night. Ask a group to walk together to the cars.
If your car should break down, raise the hood and remain in the car with the doors locked until the police arrive. If you have a cell phone, call someone for help or call 911. If someone should stop and offer to assist you, roll down the window just enough to tell them they can call the police for you.
Safety Tips – At Home
Have good locks (dead bolts are best) installed on all doors and be sure to use them. Make sure all windows are locked and well secured.
Be sure you know whom you are opening your door to. If a sales or repair person is legitimate, they will not mind your asking to see identification and confirming their identity with the company they represent.
Residence hall staff and/or university employees will not mind identifying themselves when they knock on your door.
If a stranger comes to your door requesting assistance (e.g. to make a phone call, car trouble, etc) offer to call the necessary people for him/her. Do not make yourself vulnerable by opening your door to a stranger, especially if you live by yourself or are at home alone.
For women who live by themselves in a house or apartment, never advertise the fact by listing your full name in the phone book or on a mailbox. Use instead your first two initials, or even add another name.
Be cautious about revealing any personal information over the telephone and/or Internet.
Draw your curtains or blinds shut at night so people on the outside cannot determine who is in the residence.
Do not hide a spare key in obvious places such as under the mat, in a potted plant, in a fake rock or on the doorsill, etc. Residence hall students should keep their room keys in their possession at all times. Do not leave door keys hanging in locks or laying out in plain view of others. Always lock your doors after you enter your residence hall room/house/apartment and also when you leave.