Perceived Motivation for Rape

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Perceived Motivation for Rape: Gender Differences in Beliefs about Female and Male Rape Samson H. Lynch Strayer University May 20, 2008 Perceived Motivation for Rape: Gender Differences in Beliers about Female and Male Rape Although there are many factors that contribute to the act of one individual raping another, over the past 25 years there have been two prevalent factors considered to be primary, if not the sole factor contributing to rape: sex and power. The belief that it is power is known as the social science explanation of rape or more commonly known as the feminist theory. The other explanation, which is the best known, is the ‘rape as a sexually motivated act’ explanation Thornhill and Palmer 2000). Thornhill and Palmers evolutionary theory of rape asserts that rape is either indirectly or directly associated with inherited mechanisms that increased our ancestors' reproductive success (Thornhill and Palmer 2000). This supports the explanation that sex is a motivation for rape. The social science explanation, which has gained prominence among professionals, provides a psychopathological view of rape that exposes a flaw in the understanding of the motivations for sexual violence (Burt 1980; Lonsway and Fitzgerald 1994). In instances of male on male rape, where reproduction is rendered impossible, there is no evolutionary sexual motivation. Moreover is the fact that most of these rapes were performed by heterosexual men. There are many “myths” and perceptions about rape, such myths as that rape can only be committed by males, and that women are the only victims of rape. One of the perceptions, with many studies, outlines instances in which the participants blame the victim and the perpetrator (Pollard 1992; Ward 1995). Citizens who deal directly with rape, such as health care workers and law enforcement officials, have observed these perceptions. These perceptions are receive their basis form the belief that attractiveness, attire, previous...
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