Psychology of the Rapist

With an increase in the incidences of cases of rape, which I have been observing with disdain, I have come to ponder on the psychological underpinnings behind the act. A rape is a difficult thing to define. Difficult because of the complexity to it. There are many psychological drives to rape, hence its complexity. But what is general about it is that it is non-consenting and coercive, it is done to strip something of value to the victim away from her.

A rape is a tricky thing in the mind of the rapist. He may think he is satisfying his sexual urges but he is not. He is satisfying deeper psychological drives he may not be aware of. One of such drives is dealing with rejection. A rapist would resort to the act in order to feel better about his rejection by a woman or a look-alike of the one who rejected him. That is why you may hear of the rape of a woman well advanced in years. Another drive is out of the need to feel superior. Such men have chronic low self-esteem and see the best way to feel superior to a woman (the societal stereotype is an allure) is to engage in raping her. If a man feels he is losing control, he unknowingly would want to acquire it back by raping the woman threatening his hold. Men may also rape as an expression of how powerful they think they are. They do it to exercise dominion. Some rapists want to take revenge, to get back at a woman or one that looks like her for hurting them. So you see, it is a complex matter, as with all things human.


Rapists do not fall from the sky. They are a product of societal beliefs and values. A society that does not protect its women and their rights would turn the other way when they are raped. Rapists abound in such societies. As the world is rapidly changing, the glass ceiling is being shattered, but not all men are happy about it. Some feel threatened. Their place in society is being taken from them. So they rape. But when they do, what does the society do? It is from this line of action that we create the future we want for our children.


Usually, a rapist has once been a victim of rape himself. At one time or the other in his childhood, he was sexually abused. But nothing was done to help him through the trauma. Although some persons may find their way back to normality by themselves, some others are not so lucky. The Batman could have been worse than the Joker after his childhood experience, but he found a way to become better. We must help victims recover from such acts if we want to have a secured society in the future.
Now to paedophiles and child molesters. A paedophile is not necessarily a child molester, and a child molester is not necessarily a paedophile. A paedophile has a primary sexual attraction for children but may never molest. A child molester may be situational or preferential. A situational molester has a primary sexual attraction to adults. A preferential molester prefers children as sexual partners or victims. Child molestation may be motivated by unavailability of a sexual partner, or out of shame or embarrassment of practicing a deviant act with an adult partner. It may be due to cognitive defects or disinhibitory in influences such as substance dependence or psychopathy. As a parent, take good care in knowing who you leave your child with. Paedophiles and molesters hide behind the visages of normality until the damage is done. They seek opportunities where they can have access to their victims, so you find them in schools and families (a relative or house help).


To cap it all up, as one people, we need to stand to end rape. We need to frown at it. Offenders must be severally punished to serve as a warning. No more whispering and hushing. It’s about time we took a firm stand against it. Let us not cast aside the victims. Let us embrace them and show them unconditional love in a safe environment. Because rape… is a terrible thing.

Tobi Gbemisola

Image credit: Google Search


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