If I hear one more person say that rape is about power and not about sex I am going to scream. Anyone who continues to make this statement is either lame-brained or stupid. To say that rape is not about sex is both illogical and defies common sense. Case in point.
Right now a trial is taking place in Oklahoma City about the Oklahoma policeman accused of raping at least 13 women, many of them African American. The question being asked is why the media has so little interest in this case. The speculation suggests that poor, especially African American women, are “not rape-able.” Then there is the nonsensical statement that what the officer was doing was abuse of power and not rape. Nonsense! If rape is about power only then why don’t more men strong-arm women and take their shoes, or remove their nail polish, and not have some form of sex with them? If rape is about power and not sex then explain the CNN special called “The Hunting Ground” about rape and sexual assault on college campuses. If these assaults are not about rape why aren’t these fellow male college students demanding that the women turn over their college algebra books, instead of forcing themselves on them and having some form of sex? And yes, a man can also be raped. At least one of the victims in the “Hunting Ground” special was a man who was the victim of force and sexual assault. If rape is not about sex then why do we have “sex offender” registration for people who commit sexually assaults instead of labeling them “power abusers?”
People watching the Oklahoma case from the courtroom are reporting some interesting tactics being used by the policeman’s lawyers. Typically they are using the “blame the victim” defense; namely that the women were either too high on something, or otherwise totally unbelievable because of some type of criminal background, or race and class. I understand that while the policeman is dressed in a nice suit for the jury to evaluate him, several accusers have been brought into the courtroom in jail house orange jumpsuits and handcuffed to give their testimony. According to the witnesses the officer pulled them over then engaged in assorted types of “physically rough” sex using his “thang” as a weapon of some sort. Because of his badge and authority, too many folks are saying that the officer didn’t commit rape but that he abused his authority. I say bunk. He did as too many men do, and have done, use their physical power to satisfy sexual urges by engaging in some type of sex with their victims. So it is totally nonsense to say that rape is about power and not about sex. It is about both. It’s about men who use their power, either physically of by stealth, such as by using date-rape drugs, to gain power and control over a woman’s body so that she cannot fight back. If rape is about power and not sex, then why are sexual acts committed in every rape or sexual assault? Why is Bill Cosby now being accused of having raped some 30-odd, mostly white women? Why is he not being accused of some type of “power and control” offense? If rape is not about sex then why are women often accused of “asking for it” by “enticing” men by wearing revealing, skimpy clothes, or getting drunk or walking alone at home at night? What is the “it” that women are asking for—isn’t it sex?
I have no idea what purpose is being served by claiming that rape is about power and not sex. Does this type of illogical thinking contribute to a man’s sense of entitlement—to sex—under the guise of “misuse” of his physical power? Who started this distinction without logic anyway—some male psychotherapist who listened to some rapist justifying his lack of impulse control—so he just “took it” by force? In trying to unravel a rapist’s motivation have psychotherapists done women a tremendous disservice by focusing on “power” rather than the end result of often brutal sexual assault that traumatize women for life? What difference does it make if the motivation is to exert control when rapists don’t accept the end result? When lack of impulse control coupled with the ability to physically overpower results in rape, why focus on “it’s about power and not rape?” The end result is the same thing—the sexual assault of a woman. Why don’t we just call it for what it does to women? Rape is the physical violation of a woman’s body by a man who has forced himself on her because of superior strength—or as a result of some method of incapacitating a woman. Either way, what the man does as a result of the “abuse” of his strength is to obtain some type of sexual gratification. Let’s call rape what it is—obtaining sex by force. It’s about sex—stupid!!
Copyright 2015 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.