PSYCHOLOGICAL DEBATE: WHY MEN RAPE WOMEN


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The debate on why men rape women has been a hot topic
among scientists and psychologists for years, only to find that it is still
without a solid annalistic explanation, only theory; though some psychologists
and scientists believe that their theory is the correct reasoning. The opinion
varies depending which side of the spectrum it is looked at. One thing that is
certain is “in the United States, a woman is sexually assaulted or raped every
six minutes…85% of victims know their attacker and 84% of rapes will go
unreported” (Supriya, 2011). This is a statistic that cannot be ignored nor be
left unsearched for practical answers and solutions.

Scientists Thornhill and Palmer have stirred-up
controversy with their theory about why men rape women. “Thornhill and Palmer
argue that rape evolved as an “alternative mating strategy”, and they contend
that it is a “natural, biological phenomenon and a product of our evolutionary
heritage” (Ochert, 2000). The theories are many, to the point of confusion
at times. Thornhill’s theory derived from his studies on “the mating habits of
the scorpion fly”, which have a “notal organ” to enable it to hold down and
force the female to concede to mating –a sort of “specialized rape tool”
(Ochert, 2000). This theory stirred-up so much controversy that scheduled
lectures were canceled; proving that Thornhill and Palmer’s theory is not a
welcome one.

In an article by Judith Schulvitz, Evolutionary
Psychology Teaches Rape 101, Schulvitz criticizes Thornhill and Palmer for
their evolutionary determinist theory on the issue of why men rape women.
Schulvitz first states the “beef” with the evolutionary theory in general,
stating:

“Evolutionary psychology is not very good on the aspect
of the human psyche she’s personally interested in, which is how humans are
different from animals. Ev psych insists, rightly, that we not ignore our
similarities to the higher –and lower-order creatures, but its weak on
subjectivity, self-awareness, self-consciences, whatever you want to call it
–on how we explain our tangled mass of hormonal impulses to ourselves. And yet
this ability to reflect on ourselves underlies art, architecture, poetry,
government, journalism, and all other forms of communication that animals don’t
and can’t have” (Shulevitz, 2000).

Shulevitz however, speaks more candidly about Thornhill
and Palmer’s purposed course to teach young men and young women about rape,
suggesting:

“Completion of such a course might be required say,
before a young man is granted a driver’s license. The program might start by
inducing the young men to acknowledge the power of their sexual impulses, and
then explaining why human males have evolved in that way. The young men should
learn that past Darwinian selection is the reason that a man can get an
erection just by looking at the photo of a naked woman, why he may be tempted
to demand sex even if he knows that his date truly doesn’t want it, and why he
might mistake a woman’s friendly comment or tight blouse as an invitation to
sex. Most of all, the program should stress that a man’s evolved sexual desires
offer him no excuse whatsoever for raping a woman, and if he understands and
resists those desires, he may be able to prevent their manifestation in sexual
coercive behavior” (Shulevitz, 2000).

Of course Thornhill and Palmer cannot leave out the young
woman in their course of correction; this is what they purposed that the young
women be taught in this so-called course:

“Young women should be informed that, during the
evolution of human sexuality, the existence of female choice has favored men
who are quickly aroused by signals of a female’s willingness to grant sexual
access. Furthermore, woman need to realize that, because selection favored
males who had many mates, men tend to read signals of acceptance into a woman’s
actions even when no such signals are intended. In spite of protestations to
the contrary, women should be advised that the way they dress can put them at
risk” (Shulevitz, 2000).

Essentially, Thornhill and Palmer are suggesting the
government admits that men are “naturally born rapists” and that a woman should
be mindful of how they act and dress. Shulevitz’s throws in a dig suggesting
that lawyers everywhere are concocting their defenses at this very moment,
saying, “Culturalbox can see the criminal lawyers composing their
genetic-determinist defenses already: Why,
even the state said he couldn’t help himself” (Shulevitz, 2000)! Needless to
say, Shulevitz is not a big fan of the Thornhill-Palmer theory; finishing her
article with this statement of pure truth:

“If we teach our
children to see themselves strictly as beasts, they’re bound to act like them”
(Shulevitz, 2000).

Criticism also comes from Time magazine’s essayist Barbra
Ehreneich in the form of a retort to The Sciences article; “Ehreneich expresses
doubts that rape would offer much of a selective advantage: “The rapist
generally operates on a hit-and-run basis –which may be all right for stocking
sperm banks, but not as effective if the goal is to produce offspring who
will survive in a challenging environment…the children of guys who raped and
ran must have been a scrawny lot and doomed to end up on some leopard’s lunch
menu” (Ochert, 2000). Statistically, woman who become impregnated by their
attacker does not have the child, or if she does it is put up for adoption,
putting holes in Thornhill and Palmer’s theory once again.

Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne of the University of
Chicago has called the book “the worst efflorescence of evolutionary psychology
that I have ever seen”, claiming that it is “irresponsible, tendentious and the
science is sloppy”…”Rape, he says, is pathological, not natural” (Ochert, 2000).
As for the way women dress and act being an enticement for rape, Coyne suggests
that “there is no such evidence that scanty dress induces rape” (Ochert, 2000).
Moreover, if that statement is even suggested in a room full of people, the
outrage would be obvious. “As for Thornhill and Palmer’s recommendation that
young men be educated about the evolutionary basis of rape, Mary Koss,
professor of public health at the University of Arizona and an authority on
rape, says: “(They) have obviously never stood up before a group and given a
rape-prevention talk…if you even simply imply to a male audience that all men
are potential rapists, They go berserk” (Ochert, 2000)! Koss hits the nail on
the head with that statement; telling any man he is a potential rapist is not
the best of ideals –besides, this may give them the impression that it is in their
nature to rape so why fight it.

Labeling a person of any stature can cause the expected
action; moreover, psychologists have proven that labeling a person can cause long
lasting effects –and essentially cause the action by default. Similarly,
telling a woman that the way they dress and act is an invitation to rape,
induces them to believe if raped –it is their fault for wearing that sundress
or speaking politely to a stranger; which is far from the truth –no means no,
period! To a rape victim, annalistic theories about why they were raped, and
understanding the mind of the swine that did it, are no benefit to them. The
life of a rape victim is never the same and neither are the loved ones around
them: Where is the evolutionary determinist theory about victims of these
pathological demons –and is that theory as absurd as Thornhill and Palmer’s?

Many psychologists and scientists believe that men rape
women primarily because an aggressive need to control and dominate the victim
instead of to achieve sexual fulfillment, considering “rape as an act of
violence rather than principally a sexual encounter” (Supriya, 2011). With the
many theories floating about it is complicated to discern between
them all: procreation, frustration, control, sexual satisfaction, biological
and evolutionary reasoning, all make up a comprehensive confusing conundrum for
the victim, scientists, and psychologists alike. In the end, does it really
matter the reason? Can rape be eradicated? Maybe, if we are steadfast in
researching the actions and reasoning behind the rapists thought process when
committing the act of rape –this may give more insight into the underlying
thought process before and when the crime is committed –which gives a better
ground to start analysis and solutions.

Now that we have covered the theories derived from
others, let us look closer into some of the psychological disorders that may
put a person at greater risk for becoming a rapist or rape victim:
Schizophrenia is a possible mental impairment that could put a person at risk
to be both a rapist and a victim. The definition of Schizophrenia according to
David G. Myers “Psychology” ninth edition is, “a group of severe disorders
characterized by disorganized and delusional thinking, disturbed perceptions,
and inappropriate emotions and actions” (Myers, 2010). People with this particular
illness may be particularly vulnerable to be raped if female –and to rape if
male (though the opposite can occur, with humanity anything is possible). The
daunting question is; would the rapist in this case be culpable for this action
given the circumstances? The jury is still out on that issue –but in most
cases, probably not. The rapist must have a full understanding that rape is
wrong and the consequence for doing so is prison.

Antisocial personality disorder is another high-risk
mental illness, mainly for becoming an offender instead of a victim. Antisocial
personality disorder is defined by Myers as “a personality disorder in which
the person (usually a man) exhibits a lack of conscience for wrong doing, even
toward friends and family members…may be aggressive and ruthless or a clever
con artist” Myers, 2010). This particular impairment makes a person express
little to no remorse for their actions of violating another; not to say that
the person does not understand between right and wrong –they just do not care.
“Henry Lee Lucas confessed that during his 32 years of crime, he had bludgeoned,
suffocated, stabbed, shot, or mutilated some 360 women, men, and children –the
first (a woman) at the age 13” (Myers, 2010). The crimes committed among these
mentally ill inmates are staggering at best; this is why finding these
impairments at an early age is essential, therfore, medication and therapy can be
achieved before manifestation of criminal behavior.

In conclusion, there are many theories on why men
rape women; while none of them are completely right -none are completely wrong
either. It is obvious that more studies and research must be done and a
solution to this violence found. Moreover, all women must be mindful when out,
or even to who they speak too; a man (according to evolutionary theory) may
take it as an invitation to rape. Finally, the human mind is a complex
instrument, which will never be completely figured out or analyzed, however, we can
get a better understanding if steadfast in our search for answers and solutions.

References

Myers, David G. (2010).
Psychology Ninth Edition. Worth Publishers. New York, New York.

ISBN- 13:978-1-4292-1597-8.

Ochert, Ayala. (2000,
February 4). Why men want to rape. Times Higher Education.

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=150003&sectioncode=26

Shulevitz, Judith.
(2000, January 13). Evolutionary psychology teaches rape 101. Slate magazine

http://www.slate.com/id/1004368/

Supriya, Sharron.
(2011, June 2). Why men rape. One India.

http://www.greynium.com/mail-print/print.php

DOCTOR/PATIENT RELATIONSHIP: DEADLY COMMUNICATION


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(Written for a communications class received an A; please leave your comments)

Every relationship has
its communication challenges, however, if a person is ill and there is a
communication problem between the Doctor and Patient –it can be deadly. Patients
and physicians have an obligation to be clear and precise in their communication
to each other, if one or the other fails in their obligation the results can
cause harm or even death. In September of 2005, I had to have a simple surgical
procedure. When the hospital called the day before to give instructions, I asked
them if I should take my daily medications -or wait until after; the nurse
informed me to go ahead and take all medicines as scheduled (she never ask what
kind it was). This was the start of the communication plight between the staff
and me.

Not thinking that most of
the medications were narcotics, I took them all as normal. By the time that I
had reached the hospital in Oklahoma City, it was time to take my second dose of
the day; therefore, once again, I took them as normal. Now laying in the
hospital bed waiting for the anesthesiologist, I was feeling no pain. About
thirty minutes later the nurse came in and administered the sedation –that was
the last thing that I remember, until I awoke in intensive care nine days later.
After coming to, the nurse told me that I had passed away three times –the last
being for over a minute and a half.

The next day the staff
moved me to a regular floor where I stayed another nine days. The doctor that
had done the procedure came into my hospital room and informed me that if I did
not quit taking all those pills it would kill me (at that time I was on 30
different medicines), however, after three years of being on them I was an
addict. For the next week they rehabbed me and got the drugs out of my system;
it was the first time that I had thought clearly in three years. The doctor
stated that he would not put me back on any narcotics –that if I felt pain then
I knew I was alive; at that sober moment, I agreed with him. It seemed that now,
he and I were communicating competently, clearly, with perfect
understanding.

However, the morning that
I checked out of the hospital (21 days after a same day surgery) the nurse
handed me thirteen new prescriptions –all narcotics; the same medicines I had
just overdosed on. I did not understand why he would do that after what just
occurred. I asked the nurse if he realized that he said he was NOT going to give
me any medicines; she stated that he wrote them and told her to give them to me.
As an addict, the thought never crossed my mind to tell her to tell him that I
would NOT take them –I went straight to the pharmacy and filled them; eating two
of each to make up for lost time. By the time that I reached Stonewall,
Oklahoma, I was high on pills again –remaining hooked for another two years.

I often ponder on this
incident, wondering how it could have been handled better –on both sides of the
spectrum; what we could have done differently –I wondered. As for my part of the
communication issue: I should have asked the nurse that told me to take the
regular medications –if that included the narcotics, since they would be putting
me to sleep; instead, I assumed that it meant take all the daily medications.
I have since learned to not assume anything, and that the only stupid question
is –the one unasked! Not communicating competently almost cost me my
life!

Similarly, the nurse
should have asked exactly what kinds of medications that I was taking –but
again, I assumed she knew. It is the hospital staffs’ job to be thorough when
giving instructions and asking pertainate questions from the patient before any
procedure. Moreover, the nurse that administered the sedative should have asked
more questions before putting the medication in my IV –it was obvious that I was
high on something. Furthermore, a detailed list of my medications and allergies
should have been readily available to the hospital staff before surgery was
scheduled, and they should have went over that list with me on the phone when
setting the appointment time (a miss-communication between the doctor and staff
members). This is a policy that should be implemented in every hospital and
doctor’s office across the country –it could save lives.

As far as the doctor is
concerned and his lack of communication skills with staff (both the doctor at
the hospital and my primary physician), should have made it clear that narcotics
should not be taken before this procedure. Additionally, the physicians’ should
have told me as the patient, that I should not take narcotics or sedatives
before any procedure that requires sedation of any type. There were plenty of
opportunities to inform me of what I should or should not do before the medical
procedure; moreover, if it happened in my case, who’s to say that it hasn’t
happened to others –or will in the future.

In conclusion, in a
relationship all parties involved must communicate clearly, competently, and
mindfully. Because, in certain circumstances a breakdown in communication can
cost a life, a love, or even a family member –lost to a complete
misunderstanding. We must all consider the effect that our words and sentences
have on others and the way that they communicate. Finally, simply because one
party walks away satisfied with the conversation does not mean that it was a
competent, clear exchange.