Why does rape happen?Is it true that by wearing exposing clothes  women invite men to rape them? Don't the decently clothed girls or women get raped also? If it is so, how can one justify a 3 year...

Why does rape happen?

Is it true that by wearing exposing clothes  women invite men to rape them? Don't the decently clothed girls or women get raped also? If it is so, how can one justify a 3 year old girl's rape? 

Expert Answers
pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with Pohnpei - most rape is about power and domination, not about sex. However rape is also often a crime of opportunity, which means that the rapist generally acts more or less on impulse, choosing a victim who seems available and vulnerable. While the victim is NEVER to blame, women can and should be aware of situations in which they are at higher risk, and take steps to avoid these when they can. In most cases this has more to do with location than with clothing, though. Women need to avoid being in isolated locations with a potential rapist, and they need to avoid becoming drunk or high on drugs in a situation where rape could occur. Because of the prevalence of rohypnol and other "date-rape drugs", many women's self-defense classes now recommend that a woman out on a date or at a party or club should never set her drink down or drink anything that is handed to her by another person. It's sad that women must go to such lengths to protect themselves, but it is important that they do so.

Those who rape children are psychologically ill. For them, too, rape is a attempt to exert control and power over the victim. Pedophilia is virtually impossible to treat, and in a great many cases the rapist was once a child victim, so the cycle goes on and on. Most pedophiles use shame and threats to keep their victims from revealing what is happening, so the victims do not get the help and support they need.

mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the previous posts have stated, women do not invite rape; men use rape as a means of punishment, power or control of another person.  No matter what a woman wears, no means no, and anything else is rape.  Contrary to popular opinion, most rape is not "stranger" rape, but rape by a person known to the victim.  The crime can be a crime of opportunity or be planned by using drugs like rohypnol, the so-called date rape drug which renders its victims helpless.  Regardless of how it happens, rape is a crime punishable by prison.  Pedophilia, the crime of using children for sex, is different and a far more insidious crime.  By the time a pedophile is caught, the number of victims is usually far greater than expected as many pedophiles are manipulative enough to have hidden their true desires from the world.  Having listened to both rapists and pedophiles as a crisis volunteer in the jail, the rapists appear to be  more violent while the pedophiles appear to be more manipulative.  Often, both types of offenders were abused themselves as children, and too often the pedophiles continue the pattern even with their own infants.  Pedophilia seems far harder to detect and treat, or even to get the perpetrators to see their actions as wrong.  The human mind can be a wonderful or a terrible place.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think there is a huge difference between what causes the rape of grown women (teens and up) and what causes the rape of really little kids.  I'll address the rape of older women since that's more common.

I do not believe that the way women dress has anything to do with it.  Instead, I think it is mainly (when we are talking about stranger rape as opposed to "date rape") an issue of power.  I think that some men feel powerless (in some cases because they lack good jobs or because they feel society is changing and leaving them behind).  They use rape as a way to make themselves feel powerful and strong.  It has little to do with how the women are dressed and not really even much to do with sex per se.  It's a power thing.

shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I certainly don't claim to be any kind of expert on this issue. I have done a little bit of research, and what I've learned indicates that the rape of woman is often rooted in issues arising from problems that the rapist has had with women in the past. These sorts of problems can date back to the rapists early childhood. Perhaps they had an abusive or neglectful mother. That's just one possibility, and a very simple one at that. No doubt there are very complex issues involved that are not so easily explained.

As far as the sexual abuse of children is concerned, I believe you'll find that a great many perpetrators are also victimes of childhood abuse.

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is my understanding that the rape of very young children, or any sexual interest in young children, pedophilia, is a condition so deeply rooted that it is held to be incurable.  For some reason, adults with this condition are apparently operating on the premise that they are simply "loving" young children, and that there is nothing wrong with what they are doing.  I know that is hard to imagine, but the human mind can be a strange and terrible place. 

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rape is never justified.  A woman should be able to wear whatever clothes she wants.  A woman wearing suggestive clothing does not "invite" rape any more than a woman who wears very modest clothing.  Rape is unacceptable.  The rapist is to blame, not the victim.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the other posts have suggested, I believe the act of rape comes down to the rapist's need to feel in control and a desire for power over another individual.