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Over the years there have been many theories of why rape occurs. Although rape can happen to a woman or a man statistics show that rape of a woman by a man is the most common form and this essay will focus on female rape.

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Introduction

Over the years there have been many theories of why rape occurs. Although rape can happen to a woman or a man statistics show that rape of a woman by a man is the most common form and this essay will focus on female rape. Rape is a brutal and ugly expression of male violence it is usually directed at women. Although rape is sometimes directed against children and men, this essay will focus on the rape of women by men. The following paragraphs will critically consider the contributions different theorists have made on the subject of Rape. Firstly it will look at how violence is defined and how rape is defined. Sociologists, criminologists and psychologists have different opinions as to why violent crimes such as rape occur. This essay will consider social learning theory explanations, radical feminist explanations, psychological explanations and biological explanations of why some men rape women. Matza, Left Realism, James Short and Taylor, Walton and Young will be some of the theorists used. Firstly rape is defined as having sexual intercourse with a person without their consent. Sex without consent could be because the individual is incapable of consenting due to the fact that they are mentally incapable, are incapable of consenting due to drink or drugs or that they have been forced or coerced into sex because of violence or the threat of violence. Violence does not have to be a physical act or result in physical violence; it can be words, mannerisms and attitudes or even a display of aggression, which leads an individual feeling, threatened and vulnerable. ...read more.

Middle

They further argue that not only does the differences in power between men and women cause rape but that sexual violence and rape serves to maintain the status quo. Thus keeping women subordinate and in there place. 'Feminist theories of rape have incorporated theories of psychology as well as politics, sociology and some social learning theory into their explanations of rape. However they have always emphasised their believe that patriarchy, male power over women is the major factor in rape and that rape is a crime of violence power and hostility not sex. Rose 1977, Russell 1975 point out that rape is a result of 'social stratification and differential gender roles and socialisation' (cited in Ward C.A 1995:23). Millet 1969 pointed out that women are seen as the property of men and those men should be able to use women to seek sexual gratification when they feel the need. This is particularly true in marriage as in Britain until October 1991 there was no law on rape within marriage, except to say it was not possible. This can be traced back to Mathew Hale who was the Chief Justice in England in the 18th century. In 1736 his statement was published in History of the pleas of the crown, it read 'That a husband cannot be guilty of rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto the husband which she cannot retract' (Toner B 1977: 85) ...read more.

Conclusion

Further more these myths 'disadvantage and oppress women, but they also subtly encourage sexual violence without awareness of moral wrongdoing' ( Brown miller S 1975: 247). Finally we mostly here about via the media who portray rapists as sex crazed monsters who attack women because they are psychologically disturbed however this is a myth and there are many others Myth Fact Rapists are mentally disturbed --------- Most rapists show no signs of Psychological problems Rape is committed by strangers ---------Most rapes occur indoors & most victims know their rapists Rape is the result of a sudden --------- Most rapes are planned and have sexual urge have nothing to do with uncontrollable libido Some women ask for it for ---------- Rape can happen to any woman Instance, the clothes they wear/ in any situation being to provocative. The above myths all contribute to the continuation of men thinking that women are their for their sexual gratification. These myths that exist within society not only give men the right to think that rape is not a crime or that at the very lest it is not a serious crime can effect a woman's ability to define her experience as rape. Did she encourage him? Did she not put up enough of a fight? Women in Britain have fought for many years to gain equality in a man's world and in some aspects women have achieved this until it seems it comes to sex. It appears that men have maintained there right to own women and use them to have sex with when they want in order to keep them in their place. Rape exists within society because society allows it to. ...read more.

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