Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Anatomy of a Rapist: Lancet study looks at the demographic indicators of men who rape.

He has a penchant for significant bed hopping, he solicits prostitutes, and has a history of violence. He maybe was abused himself as a child. He belongs to a gang or other group. He feels a need to prove himself as a man, by very ungentlemanly behaviour, yes, ladies and gentlemen, this seems to be the anatomy of a rapist.

This article
I will firstly note summaries of the Lancet articles with quotes of contributing doctors, then give a cautionary note, and finally note the factors related to partner and non-partner rape. The study claims that about 25% of men in Asia Pacific have had sex with a woman against her will. How accurate the claim is is uncertain given the lack of data largely on the subject.


Euornews expresses that 'According to [Rachel] Jewkes’ study in The Lancet, men who had paid for sex, had a significant number of sexual partners, or had a history of physical violence were more prone to committing rape. The study also discovered that men who had suffered childhood abuse were more likely to commit rape. Jewkes spoke of the importance of promoting a culture of prevention where rape is concerned:

“In view of the high prevalence of rape worldwide, our findings clearly show that prevention strategies need to show increased focus on the structural and social risk factors for rape. We now need to move towards a culture of preventing the perpetration of rape from ever occurring, rather than relying on prevention through responses,” she said.'

See the article in Lancet:


Another study appearing in lancet said, as relayed by EuroNews:

'A second study   looked specifically for unique patterns of behaviour between the different types of IPV, including physical abuse, sexual violence, emotional abuse (insults or verbal threats) and economic abuse (throwing a partner out of the house, or prohibiting them from working). Study leader Dr Emma Fulu of Partners for Prevention, discussed the ‘surprising’ nature of the results:

“Surprisingly, our results show that although some overlap exists, physical and sexual violence do not always appear to be committed together, or for the same reasons, in different regions,” she said. “This is likely to have profound implications for the way that interventions to prevent IPV are designed and carried out, because until now, it has very often been assumed that physical and sexual violence are part of the same pattern of behaviour, whereas our results show that isn’t necessarily the case.”

In total, 46 percent of men reported committing IPV. The highest results – 80 percent – were seen in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

Both reports were funded by several United Nations agencies as part of the UN’s ‘Multi-country Cross-sectional Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific’.'

See the article in Lancet:


Some caution: The doctor quoted on the first study tends to be quite a left wing feminist. She has made similar shocking claims of percentages, in the past relating to rape in South Africa, which have not been disproved but have been questioned.

The studies also tend to be funded and represented by a more left wing view, which could explain the bias against heterosexual males so far as masculinity is seen as a problem, rather than pointing out behaviour which I would say: displays a low self esteem and disconnected desire by some men who don't feel truly masculine in and of their selves: to be 'masculine'. If anything, the lack of true masculinity in the strange behaviour of the rapists, the lack of true manliness as would however be found in real gentlemen is a possible cause of the foolishness of the rapists, which I would identify as significant, from the data. Rape is wrong and horrendous, but it is not masculinity or traditional norms which are responsible for rape, but rather a misunderstanding of what it is to be a man. Real adult men don't rape or act in an inappropriate or violent manner. I tend to think that making manhood separate from simply being male, could be a large cause of this terrible scourge upon humankind. Often rape tends to relate to male proving rituals, or punishment rituals against women. Rather, men should seek to prove they are gentlemen, cultured, and respectful, if you ask me. As the study will note below, most of the rapist men think they are entitled to rape a woman, yet a real man, or gentleman would rather feel the need to protect a woman, respect her and be a gentleman: certainly a real man would not rape or abuse a woman. A strong person has no great need for violence or need to feel entitled to harm others. It is a lack of masculinity and not its presence which sees weak men feel they want to rape. The authors should be less quick to point to male culture as a problem, and more swift in utilising the good in male culture to fight rape. Men want to be noble, and good, and honourable. Shaming men over the deplorable acts of some monsters is counter-productive, shame the perpetrators of these acts, not masculinity.

Many of the findings none the less are fascinating. They also tend to be similar to previous thought by the first doctor quoted.

Other studies have linked pornography, violent upbringing, sexual abuse of rapists when they were younger, and other factors to rape. In Forensic Medicine class (which I have completed successfully with a good pass as a law elective), a pathologist with the Forensic Service once told me and the other students who took the subject, that 1/4 South African boys and 1/3 young girls, suffer sexual abuse in childhood.

The most important two paragraphs of the first study are:

'All men who had raped were asked about the reasons for the most recent rape. Of those who had raped a non-partner woman (but not a man or a partner), the most common reason for the most recent rape expressed sexual entitlement (statements endorsed by 73% of men across the region; table 2), followed by entertainment seeking (59%), anger or punishment (38%), and alcohol or substance use (27%; table 2). When asked about what consequences they had ever experienced after rape, only 55% of men had felt guilty, and 23% had been sent to prison for rape of a partner or non-partner woman, or man (table 2), but this proportion varied from 2% (Sri Lanka) to 52% (Papua New Guinea), where traditional rape punishments are used, with short-term detention by the police in prison until traditional preparations have been made.

Table 3 shows the prevalence of possible factors associated with non-partner rape (see appendix p 2 for breakdown by country). Table 4 shows a multinomial model of factors associated with single and multiple perpetrator rape across the dataset, and that for each country is presented in appendix p 3. Men who had ever been married or cohabited were more likely to have engaged in single perpetrator non-partner rape than were those who had not been married, and men who were poor (indicated by present food insecurity), or had no high school education (compared with any high school or higher education) were more likely to have raped with multiple perpetrators. Men with a history of victimisation, especially child sexual abuse and having been raped or otherwise sexually coerced themselves, were more likely than were those without such a past to have perpetrated either type of rape. Exposure to childhood physical abuse was associated with a greater likelihood of single perpetrator rape, and a history of experience of homophobic violence with multiple perpetrator rape. Emotional abuse and neglect were associated with both types of rape, as were heavy alcohol consumption and low levels of empathy. To have been physically violent toward a partner, to have ever had sex with a sex worker or engaged in transactional sex, and to have had more lifetime sexual partners were associated with both types of rape—the latter association strengthened with increasing numbers of lifetime partners. Involvement in fights with weapons was associated with both types of rape, and multiple perpetrator rape was associated with gang memberships and drug use within the past year.'

Overall the results are of interest, and hopefully will assist in the fight against sexual violence.

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