From last September, a Think Progress piece about a big UN report on the roots of sexual violence.

Among the conclusions…

Unhealthy attitudes about sexuality take root at a young age. More than half of the study’s respondents who admitted they had violated someone’s consent were teenagers when they first raped someone. Most sexual crimes recorded in the study occurred when men were between the ages of 15 and 19. The authors point out this finding “reinforces the need for early rape prevention.” Sexual violence prevention advocates in the U.S. say that this type of education can begin with comprehensive sex ed. Teaching kids about the bodies from an early age helps instill a sense of self-confidence and ownership in them. Then, they’re more likely to avoid violating another person’s consent, or be more willing to speak up when someone tries to violate theirs.

Men rape because they have been taught that they have a right to claim women’s bodies. One of the fundamental concepts at the heart of “rape culture” is the idea that rape is inevitable, men can’t help themselves, and women must therefore work to protect themselves against it. Within the context of rape culture, the idea that men are entitled to sexual experiences is deeply entrenched. The UN researchers found that this attitude is pervasive among the rapists they surveyed. Among the men who acknowledged they had sexually assaulted someone else, more than 70 percent of them said they did it because of “sexual entitlement.” Forty percent said they were angry or wanted to punish the woman. About half of the men said they did not feel guilty.

It’s about attitudes. Attitudes matter. Attitudes have an influence on what happens, on what people do, on actions and agents. That’s so obvious it seems idiotic to spell it out, yet there are still a great many people who think that trying to change attitudes to, say, women, or the relations between women and men, or aggression, is terrifyingly “radical” and exactly like the Nazis and the Stasi.


  1. B Cazz says

    For some reason, this article reminds me of a euphamism used by horseman: Attitude Adjustment.

    This is applied to intact male horses (colts and stallions) who behave badly, especially around mares (female horses).

    The procedure leaves the male horse less than intact, but pretty much permanently adjusts their attitude.

    I suppose applying that same procedure to humans would be radical.

  2. opposablethumbs says

    Goodness me, B Cazz, what an incredibly accurate, insightful and illuminating parallel …

    seriously, I’d love to give you the benefit of the doubt since I don’t remember seeing your nym before, but that sounds … less than constructive, really. Yeah, because humans have no higher thought processes, aren’t capable of looking analytically at their own behaviour and are really just like trick ponies. And anyone advocating that people be encouraged to show some consideration for others and recognition of others’ right to autonomy is just like advocating gelding blokes.

    You may think you’re doing a neat job of insulting feminism, but in case you haven’t noticed you’re being one hell of an insulting to men.

  3. Katherine Woo says

    “Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will,…” Quran, 2:223

    It all starts with the misogyny in most religions. The God of Abraham hates women in general, but Islam really takes the prize with a founder who engaged in what would be today seen as serial rape.

  4. B Cazz says

    Actually, I thought I was insulting human beings in general. If individuals don’t use their “higher powers”, why not treat them like the animal they (WE) are?

    And, like I said, that is radical.

    We don’t want to do that because, be believe humans are redeemable and we value human life over other life.

    What I said was, the article reminds me of how we treat rank horses.

    In fact, every time I read about rapists destroying others’ lives, I think about how we treat rank horses.

    How is that insulting?

  5. says

    Yes, if humans were more like animals in specific characteristics then it would make sense to treat them like animals. But they aren’t, so let’s move on, eh? (ugh)

  6. Katherine Woo says

    And, like I said, that is radical.

    No, it is not “radical”, it is a regressive, reactionary suggestion (and likely trolling).

  7. rnilsson says

    Many attitudes need adjusting. Best done early and kindly, with positive rather than negative reinforcement.
    If possible. If not, they may lead to behavior that needs quenching, if necessary by perpetrator seclusion or other means of problem removal.

  8. stripeycat says

    That particular form of “brain surgery” is generally used when a) training the horse by other means would require a lot of effort, and b) where you don’t want his reproductive capabilities anyway. Since we’re dealing with human beings, part a) ignores our long period of socialisation and educations, and b) tramples basic human rights. It’s incredibly defeatist to say that we’ll never surmount this social problem without shocking moral failure of our own.

  9. Ysanne says

    Btw there are plenty of stallions around which are perfectly capable of behaving and controlling themselves around mares. Again, it all comes down to how they were raised, and in particular how well their general social skills were cultivated. Works pretty well with typical baroque horses — people want to keep those stallions entire, so there’s a reason to make sure they learn to deal with their hormones. Of course, when you approach the whole topic with a “males can’t control themselves” mindset, can’t imagine any solutions other than *snip*, and don’t bother about teaching basic social behaviours, entitled brats are exactly what you end up with.

  10. zibble says

    I might just have this on the brain from PZ’s post about abstinence only education, but this jumped out at me:

    Sexual violence prevention advocates in the U.S. say that this type of education can begin with comprehensive sex ed.

    Unfortunately, too many kids don’t receive comprehensive sex ed. They get abstinence-only quacks telling them things like “people who have sex are worthless, like a chewed up piece of gum”.

    Just another way that rape is a central pole in the conservative agenda.

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