Jun 22, 2012
Are Men Sociopaths?
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.
Yeah, I once got so drunk I passed out too.
My mom sure was pissed with me, and beat me so much that I blamed it on some chicks trying to score with me so drugging me.
But it really was the b00z
I’m not a fan of anonymous comments, but I approved this one so I could respond.
Whether the person I refer to here was roofied or just got drunk and passed out doesn’t actually matter to my main point: Men drug women (or get them falling down drunk) in order to rape them and, in fact, rape them without drugs or alcohol being involved at all. That’s what I find disturbing and sociopathic. I also find it disturbing that the line between normal behavior and sociopathy for men can get so blurry.
This later point is highlighted by this comment. If I said that I was beaten up outside a bar, most people would accept that at face value.
If a woman says she was drugged and raped outside a bar, people start to question it. Why? More importantly, why, when it is so difficult to prove that one has been raped and when even the claim that it occurred provokes unending questions about her honesty and integrity, would any woman lie about it?
This is the kind of sociopathy I’m talking about: A man rapes a woman and suddenly she’s the one with a problem (pathological liar, lose morals, etc.). Assuming that other people are essentially different from you, rather than essentially similar, is, essentially, sociopathy.
“Assuming that other people are essentially different from you, rather than essentially similar, is, essentially, sociopathy.”
I AGREE. MEN have NO problem believing women are so fundamentally different that they can, will, and should do anything they want to them, as long as no one male intervenes. THAT IS SOCIOPATHY. pretty much all abuse that is not a *side*-effect of a biological illness can and i think should be classified as sociopathic: the real reason abusers abuse is the sense of entitlement they have to doing it. they don’t do it to people who are going to kill them, most of them don’t even try it. The only difference is that a capital S sociopath doesn’t relate to anyone else for any other reason than to abuse.
It’s always strange to me that, when you talk to men about women, it becomes clear that most men have never even once considered how women might think and feel and that these thoughts and feelings might not actually be that different from their own. “I wouldn’t like it if anyone did that to me, but women are just different. It’s weird.” I wish it were only weird instead of an institutionalized sociopathy.
“most men have never even once…” That seems awefully pessistic, Matt. I surely hope you are wrong!
But if you’re right, well surely a reasonable working defintion of sociopathy would be “the absence of empathy.”
I may have given in to my naturally pessimistic tendencies there, Eric. Let’s hope that it was just that.
Also, I absolutely believe that sociopathic behavior involves a lack of empathy combined with an almost sinister understanding of how empathy works in others. Ted Bundy used to lure women to his car by wearing a fake cast and pretend he was having trouble carrying things….