It really does cross my mind: Why the hell, why the brain-exploding, world-screaming hell, does rape happen? Why does anyone do it?
Seriously, just: why?
I know, it's studied, it has explanations, there are power implications because it's so much about the abuse of power, it's (DEAR GOD) been used as a tool of terror throughout history, it happens in too many places for too many reasons, it could perhaps be the oldest crime in the world, but I want to reduce it as far as possible, and the act -- which has been described as the worst violation one can commit short of murder, and unlike murder the person who lived through it has to live with it -- boils down to damaged people damaging people.
Rape is not committed by a healthy person. It is not committed by a connected, tuned-in person. The person who does it may be using perception to sense who are potential targets -- and isn't that a horrible misuse of our brainpower? -- but this is a corruption of our abilities as people. It's the wrong use of them. Horribly wrong. And sometimes it hits me with bludgeon force how horribly wrong it is.
I've written about this before. The implications of what Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been accused of brought this back to my fore-mind for more thought. Being friends with a writer who works for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, who wrote today about the implications of the Assange case, and who counsels people who've been through this -- both to help those who've survived it, and to reach others before they do it and teach them with the hope that they never do it at all -- has made me more aware of the problems and issues than before. And still, with that knowledge, there's that disconnect: Why?
Why be that terrible to another person? To (sometimes) many other people?
I hope that can be some relief: I seem to have enormous trouble thinking like a rapist. Though that's a low bar to clear.
These thoughts have yet to truly cohere. They just happen sometimes.
To be highly pie-in-the-sky and sincere, I don't want people to be that awful to people. And I know that I can't 100% stop that awfulness. I know that I can do my damnedest to be a force for good, to stop or fight the bad a little at a time, to increase the good as much as I can. To stay decent. To keep caring for others. Platitudes, yes, but needed platitudes.
The deepest question we can ask is quite possibly "Why?" And, on this issue, I keep wanting to ask that question.