Truth be told, I am profoundly sick and tired of people referring to rapists as animals or monsters; because quite frankly, they are not.
Rapists are not animals.
Animals as a rule, never rape. In the animal world, the male only mounts the female if she is in heat and receptive towards his advances. In the animal world the male courts the female. He woos her, dons his brightest colors, sings his best song and performs the most amazing feats to attract her attention and win her confidence.
In the animal world the male is prepared to- and fights other males for the female he wants. He gives the fight his very best, will do what it takes to have her, and sometimes die trying.
In the animal world it is always the female who decides when, where and with whom she copulates. The male does not feel insulted when she leaves him to carry on with her life. He does not attempt to diminish her in anyway; whether she mates with him or not.
Animals as a rule, never rape.
The homo sapiens on the contrary, are quite the opposite. Come to think of it, there is nothing even remotely animal-like about rape.
It is only in the human world, the advanced, civilized world of the “thinking man”, that rape and all sexual-related abuse exist. It is only in a world of rapists that a living, breathing species would sexually violate it’s own kind. In the animal world, male desire is about ensuring progeny. There is nothing sadistic or political in his intentions. It is not the desire of the male animal to hurt, maim, violate or kill the female by means of forced intercourse. It is not his intention to use her like a toilet and discard her battered body like common refuse. It is not the desire of male animals to seek sexual entertainment from- or attempt intercourse with a young or immature member of its own species.
It is all too easy for the human psyche to create an instinctive distance between oneself and abominable acts that are too horrendous to fathom. Hence, we differentiate. We create a WE and a THEM. The rapist is stripped of his human status and is no longer part of WE. We then proceed to establish our elevated status of correctness while reinforcing the wrongness and inferiority of the rapist. This is why we demonize the rapist, calling him an Animal or a Monster. Understandably, this is society's way of denouncing atrocities and sympathizing with victims. Sadly enough it is also society's way of sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring the problem.
The painful truth is that the rapist is a part of us. The rapist is one of us. He is our beloved brother, father, or son; a part of someone’s family. The rapist is you and I. The rapist belongs to us.
The fact alone that humanity, regardless of race, nationality or social circumstances continues to produce copious quantities of men who sexually violate others, indicates that we all, directly or otherwise are a part of an malfunct system. This makes us - the denouncers of rape also responsible for the problem of rape. Since it is the men who do the violating (with exceptions here and there) the responsibility falls more on their shoulders than on that of women. No one likes to discover that one is a part of a problem. It is by far much easier to elevate oneself, to smugly fold our hands on our laps and demonize and denounce, tut- tutting from our high horse and actually not doing jack shit.
The first step towards solving any problem is owning it.
The magnitude of any illness in humanity’s core is commensurate with the appropriate care and responsibility to which we direct to that aspect of humanity itself. Women, being on the receiving end of the stick have known this for ages and many have been struggling to change the abuse status quo. Unfortunately tipping point has not- and cannot be achieved as long as the protagonists- the men, remain absent from the table.
Punishing or eliminating the rapist doesn’t end rape: more will rise in his place. What will help is addressing that glitch in the human male’s psyche that makes rapists of otherwise ordinary men. A feat that requires commitment from all men.
No man is born a rapist.
Healing the rapist, is a complicated, perhaps impossible venture; but it starts by bringing him out of the evil forest, back into the society. By continuously engaging the hidden Divine in him which all humans possess; coaxing it out of its hiding place, nudging it carefully to life and giving it room to flourish. To heal the rapist we must start by telling him this: ”for better or worse, you are one of us. Whether you agree or not, you are human”. To heal the rapist we must never let him conveniently degenerate into the sub-human or forget that he is a human being no matter what.
On that day when all men will awaken to the fact that all acts of violation directed towards the female or the young, are a threat to life and per definition their own existence; the day that non-rapist men finally choose to step away from the sidelines and get involved in order to own and prioritize these issues, that day is the beginning of the eradication of rape.