Sunday, June 21, 2009

If rape were as prevalent as some radicals claim, it likely would not be criminalized

We generally cover the US and the UK on this blog and are not sufficiently familiar with the culture in places such as South Africa to provide meaningful comment about false rape claims there. According to a new study in South Africa, "[n]early 28 percent of men interviewed said they had forced a woman or girl to have sexual intercourse against her will . . . ."

We offer no comment, except to note that we have seen some similarly sensational figures quoted in the US and especially the UK, which are simply reiterations of urban myths and are clearly fabrications, or were drafted by decidedly biased, and hence unreliable, persons. For this particular South African poll, we suspect that there is a fair amount of "bragging" by the men polled going on in this one, given the hypermasculine culture, and that it likely is not at all reliable.

But the thought has often occurred to us that if reports such as these were even partly true then a huge percentage of the male population should be jailed -- which, among other things, would destroy the economy and permanently disrupt mating patterns.

In fact, if such reports were even partly true, the conduct complained of must be considered in some sense normalized and likely would not be criminalized.

If that strikes some people as shocking, think about it: activity is classified as "criminal" by legislatures -- political bodies acting at the will of the people (or at least acting in a manner to garner sufficient votes to be reelected next time around). Pretend that 28 percent of all men actually were rapists -- the men who rape, and likely other men, too, would not want rape to be classified as a crime, and the women whose lives would be devastated if their husbands, fathers and boyfriends were imprisoned for such activity, would agree. Perhaps only certain egregious rapes involving physical force and requiring corroboration would be criminalized.

Interestingly, this South African report goes halfway in acknowledging that if rape were as prevalent as they claim, then any desire to change the behavior would need to occur through means other than the courts: "You can't change behavior practiced by one quarter of the population if the main strategy is through the use of police and courts. The police and courts are important but they are only part of the solution."

The fact is, if there were as many "rapists" getting away with it as the radicals claim, they would be able to control any election and would insure that the laws would be changed to avoid being sent away to prison for 20 years.