MEN ON RAPE: What They Have to Say About Sexual Violence by Timothy Beneke

MEN ON RAPE: What They Have to Say About Sexual Violence

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Beneke, a veteran of the anti-violence movement, interviewed a variety of men (presumably in the vicinity of Berkeley, his home town) and discovered that the standard male myths about rape are alive and thriving. From the file clerk who regards women's attractiveness (per se) as a sexual weapon, to the lawyer who'd readily appeal to a jury's sexism to get a rapist-client off (despite the recent rape of his lover), the men tend to believe that rape is more sexual than violent; that victims are often ""asking for it"" by placing themselves in dangerous positions or wearing provocative clothing; and that the preservation of masculinity sometimes requires overcoming women's objections (even, in some cases, through overpowering them physically). Doctors aver that a kind of ""re-raping"" occurs in the emergency room (one attempts to be gentle, another refuses to ""baby"" the victims); policemen concur that some of their colleagues are insensitive; members of the D.A.'s staff talk about prejudiced attitudes in prosecution; and an ex-rapist explains that his crimes originated in anger and impotence against the women in his life. Otherwise, the interviewees are ordinary men--college students, construction workers--who, in many instances, disclose at least one ambiguous incident in their background. Almost all said, however, that they would kill anyone who raped their own wife or sister--a function, Beneke believes, of the tendency to view women as ""property."" Quiet confirmation, then, of points women have been making for some time--and an indication of how far consciousness-raising still has to go.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's