Re: Emerging rape thread

Lief M. Hendrickson (hendrick@NOSC.MIL)
Tue, 17 Jan 1995 10:11:21 PST

> = Harriet Whitehead's Jan 17 post

>Re Lief's latest on the rape thread: another remarkably naive positing.
>Or perhaps just an "attempt to be fatuous," as he puts it. To try to
>clarify a few things, I, not Eve, suggested *facetiously*, that in
>sociobiological terms rape should be part of the sexual repertory of all
>men. I didn't say I bought the sociobiological argument, only that it
>seems to have those implications.
My post did not say the above suggestion was made by Eve, so on
that part we agree. I'm afraid the naivete is on Harriet's part
though. Her points on the topic at hand are not real clear since
she seems more intent on diverting discussion to a condescending
characterization of sociobiology. It's an over simplification
that the opposing argument implies rape is an just accentuation
of some inherent male trait. Anyway, is the topic rape or

>But we could push that exploration of the argument a little further: a
>number of studies of imprisoned sexual offenders reveal a split between
>deep weirdos, who are quite dominated by their sexual obsessions, and men
>who are extremely hard to distinguish from the non-offending male
>population except for the fact that they got caught committing a sex
>crime (typically rape). So the 'normal' vs. 'by definition abnormal'
>distinction that Lief is trying to operate gets into trouble empirically
>as well as semantically.
So, what's the problem. The men that are "extremely hard to
distinguish" don't necessarily behave normally in every respect.
They may have the "normal" number of eyes, ears, fingers, and
toes. They may also like going to football games and working in
their garden. That doesn't mean that ALL their characteristics
are "normal". In fact, if they conform to accepted standards
except for an occasional foray as a rapist, the exception makes
them abnormal by definition.

>Eve's case of Gerhardt, meanwhile, may - as Lief suggests - represent the
>local culture's attempt to make women wary of certain men ('men such as
>this') in case women are failing to learn the lesson of wariness from
>simply hearing about what he did. But it equally well may represent the
>local culture's attempt to re-normalize all other men by singling out the
>Gerhardts are the unusual and weaird. So too is Lief's idea that rape is
>"by definition abnormal," and therefore cannot be "normal." By whose
>definition, may I ask?
Maybe Harriet has a problem with the definition of normal vs.
abnormal. In answer to "whose definition?", as a start- query
those who enforce criminal statutes. Laws could be viewed (e.g.
by Harriet's above viewpoint) as simply a mechanism to normalize
men's behavior in this regard. However, any way you look at it,
rape is abnormal behavior (except maybe in the viewpoint of the
rapists and Harriet).