Jun 22, 2012
I just found out that an acquaintance—a college student— was roofied at a bar several months back. She was not raped but she did pass out, cutting up her face in the process, and awoke in a hospital.
It got me thinking. At what point does a guy begin to consider it “ok” to drug a woman and rape her? Is it simply that roofying a woman is really only one step away from getting her so drunk that she can’t resist or protest (or give consent, for that matter, which makes it rape)? In other words, is it just a logical extension of behavior some men find acceptable?
Talking this over with a friend, she chalked it up to “rape culture.” In myriad ways, according to this argument, men are given the message that raping a woman is ok (or, more commonly, that acts that are in fact rape are not really rape).
While I agree that these messages are out there, and that when educating men about rape you can spend a lot of time addressing such messages and images and encouraging men to reflect on them, I did not agree that men are given the message, “It is ok to drug women and rape them.” In fact this is (I would hope) seen as not only criminal but severely f*cked up (though it is the central theme of many Quagmire jokes).
Personally, I view drugging people in any form, but especially in order to incapacitate and rape them, sociopathic. Mentioning this, my friend replied, “Well, men are sociopaths.”
Again, while I can’t completely disagree with this statement—men are, after all, capable of an extreme suppression/compartmentalization of their feelings and the commission of acts ranging from the callously heartless to the horrendously monstrous—it still begs the question, “Why are some men more sociopathic than others?”
In the end, I’m asking these questions because I want to know what it would take to stop men from doing this to women. If otherwise normal guys are somehow getting the message that it is ok to drug and rape women, then I suppose you might be able to correct this through education about sexual behavior and the myths surrounding rape.
If, on the other hand, it’s a question of sociopathy, then it would seem only early diagnosis and intervention would address the problem. Making that happen, or even what it would look like, seems very challenging.
The fact that there are men who right now are planning on drugging and raping women, or, frankly, raping them at all, is disturbing.
The idea that these men have somehow been acculturated to believe that this behavior is, if not normal, at least reasonable, is depressing.
The possibility that this is ingrained in masculine culture, that it is not a radical aberration but rather occupies a place on a continuum of male behavior that seamlessly links the teenager pressuring his girlfriend into having sex to the “sociopath” putting Rohypnol in a stranger’s drink, fills me, due to its undeniable plausibility, with a sense of hopelessness.