A research-based study which argues that rape is sociocultural in origin rather than a psychopathologically driven act. Based on nearly 800 hours of interviews with over 100 convicted rapists, this book deals directly with the men who have committed rape, and what they have to say about it.
Research on rape - the crime most feared by women, according to opinion polls - has typically focused on the victims rather than on the perpetrators of the crime. This approach has helped to support the prevailing "disease" model of rape, which argues that sexual violence is a psychopathologically isolated, idiosyncratic act limited to a few "sick" men. In understanding sexual violence, Diana Scully presents a direct challenge to this view, arguing instead that sexual violence is sociocultural in origin - that, like any other behaviour, men learn to rape. Based on nearly 800 hours of face-to-face interviews with over 100 convicted rapists, this book deals directly with men who have committed rape and what they have to say about what they have done. Understanding sexual violence begins with an inside look at Scully's experiences in conducting the research for this study. She then describes the goals that these men learned to achieve through sexually violent means, examining structural supports for rape in sexually violent cultures and dispelling a number of myths about sexual violence - for example, that childhood abuse, alcohol, and drugs are direct causes of rape. Scully also argues that the currently held view of rape as a crime of violence, not of sex, is simply wrong - for some men, rape is sex, and indeed, sex is rape. Finally, Scully concludes with a discussion of what the rapists themselves had to say about rape avoidance.
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Part 1 A glimpse inside: androcentric bias in the sciences; the need for feminist research on men's world; are convicted rapists the best targets?; lasting impressions - a women's view of life inside men's prisons; in the company of rapists; the interview, a social encounter; protecting the rights of participants; do convicts "con"?; trials and tribulations of prison research. Part 2 Rape is the problem: rape as women's problem; the medicalizaton of rape; is rape a disease?; blaming the victim; why isn't rape men's problem?; culture's contribution; "the all American crime"; the boy next door; pornography and the normalization of rape; rape as learned and rewarding behaviour. Part 3 Profile of convicted rapists: history and background - childhood and parental relationships, family violence and child abuse, sexual experiences and relationships with women, psychiatric history and alcohol/drug use, careers in crime; attitudes and beliefs - women on a pedestal, men who rape and masculinity, myths, stereotypes and definitions of rape; summary profile of convicted rapists. Part 4 Nothing is rape - justifying sexual violence: learning to rape; denying rape - women as seductresses, women mean "yes" when they say "no", women eventually "relax and enjoy it", nice girls don't get raped, only a minor wrongdoing, macho man image; imperceptiveness and distorted self image; "just something I wanted to do"; justifying rape. Part 5 No one is a rapist - excusing sexual violence: admitting rape - the role of alcohol and drugs in sexual violence, the sick role, nice guy, "a dangerous and vicious animal"; "dirty and degraded"; excusing sexual violence. Part 6 Rape - a low risk, high reward crime: what men gain from sexual violence - revenge and punishment, an added bonus, sexual access, impersonal sex, rape fantasy and pornography, recreation and adventure, feeling good; rape - some men's pleasure. Part 7 Isn't rape men's problem?: cultural origins of the motivation to rape; types of men who rape; "pedestal" values and other dangerous attitudes; patriarchy and the inevitability of sexual violence. Part 8 Afterword - defending against rape: fear of rape; what would a rapist do? - stranger rapes, group rapes, acquaintance rapes; defending against rape.
Understanding Sexual Violence by Diana Scully
Perspectives on Gender
Used - Well Read
Taylor & Francis Ltd
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