Re: Emerging rape thread

Maddog (Christopher.Morgan@JCU.EDU.AU)
Wed, 18 Jan 1995 09:55:35 +1000

Hi folks,

While it seems to me that the rape/sexuality/power chestnut has been thrown
around for a long time now (albeit inconclusively), I can't help but
respond to the patent absurdity inherent in the sociobiological approach
which somehow explains the prevalence of rape by men in terms of its
purported adaptive advantage. While others (e.g. Read, Donelson et al) have
already dealt with the sociobiological argument in its own terms, allow me
to introduce a fairly obvious refutation along sociocultural lines (cf.
Whitehead's comment below):

>So too is Lief's idea that rape is
>"by definition abnormal," and therefore cannot be "normal." By whose
>definition, may I ask?

I'm increasingly unclear as to what actually constitutes "rape",
particularly in the context of Western societies currently in the throes of
PC. No, I'm not being fatuous. IMHO, some (if not the majority) of the
burgeoning constellation of behaviours which are now regarded as "rape" in
both a popular and judicial sense (e.g. intercourse by coercion, 'academic
rape', rape within marriage, some forms of 'date rape' etc.) are very
recent constructions entirely dependent upon changing social mores - in
other words, entirely cultural. All of these behaviours, while certainly
being deplorable from a contemporary Western standpoint, have been more or
less acceptable in Western societies at various points in recent history.
While I'm not defending these behaviours (from either a relativist or a
sociobiological perspective!) what I guess I'm trying to say is that the
majority of the (mostly reductionist) comments I've read on this thread
seem to take "rape" as a given. IMHO, rape is as much a cultural construct
as sexuality is - I mean, how could you possibly attempt to explain e.g.
homosexual rape in adaptive terms?

Just my $0.02 worth.

Bow Wow,

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