Rape, What's the Big Deal?
feeding into a “rape culture”. Is rape sex or a violent act perpetrated by men on women to exert
power, control and dominance? Or both?
Merriam Webster defines sex as “the sum of the structural, functional, and behavioral
characteristics of organisms that are involved in reproduction marked by the union of gametes
and that distinguish males and females”, gender as “the behavioral, cultural, or psychological
traits typically associated with one sex” and intimacy as “something personal and private in
nature.” For our purposes, we will consider sex to mean sexual intercourse or other similar sexual
act. Gender will simply mean male or female and intimacy will encompass the romance and
interpersonal connection commonly believed to be present in sexual “relationships”, i.e.,
marriages or dating. Culturally, we have used these terms so broadly that we often fall victim to
misunderstandings and miscommunications. On employment applications for example, a request
to identify the applicant’s sex also means gender.
As a starting point I will agree that rape occurs when a man forces sexual intercourse on a
woman against her will or without her consent. Whether this is sex or not remains to be decided.
Several motivators and types of rape exist, sometimes simultaneously. These types generally
support the argument that rape is both an act of violence as well as an act of sex. These include,
but are not limited to, anger where “the aim of the rapist is to humiliate, debase and hurt their
victim, sex is a weapon to defile and degrade the victim, rape constitutes the ultimate expression