Sexual Behaviour in Canada: Patterns and Problems

By Benjamin Schlesinger | Go to book overview

Rape in Toronto: psychosocial perspectives on the offender

LORENNE M. G. CLARK

Because of the pervasive and deeply rooted attitudes toward the legitimacy of sexual coercion in our society, our conceptions of 'normal male and female' derive from taking coerced sexuality as the natural standard. And given that this is true, it is scarcely surprising that it should be considered to be 'normal' for men not to like women at least to some extent, since they must perceive women as being misers and hoarders of a commodity they are led to believe they desperately desire and need. Nor is it surprising that they should identify themselves as 'true men' in accordance with the degree to which they are aggressive and dominant. Aggressive and dominant men get what they want; it is merely the forms of aggressiveness and dominance which vary, and is only when the forms resorted to involve the use or threat of violence that we are prepared to call it 'rape' and to punish those who commit it.

What all those involved in this process take for granted is that in society as we know it, men are expected to apply a certain amount of pressure in order to have women submit - called 'agree' - to sexual acts of various kinds, including intercourse. Women, on the other hand, are expected to resist such pressures, whatever their actual desires might happen to be. Men are supposed and expected to be sexually dominant, to initiate sexual activity, and women are supposed and

____________________
*
The results discussed in this unpublished paper are based on research carried out in Toronto. Beginning in the fall, 1973, all rape complaints reported to the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department during 1970 were examined and analyzed. This work was carried out jointly with Ms. Debra J. Lewis, and all of the results are discussed in Rape: The Price of Coercive Sexuality, to be published in the spring, 1976, The Canadian Women's Educational Press, Toronto.

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