Living in a country that hasn’t seen war for two centuries, and never having done military service, I’m completely baffled by war rapes and the post-war rapes that have become part of the cultures of certain African countries. Particularly the high incidence of child rape going on e.g. in Liberia and Congo.
The appeal of gambling I sort of understand.
The appeal of drugs and drink I sort of understand.
The appeal of corruption and personal enrichment I sort of understand.
And I sort of understand the strategic military value of demoralising the civilian population by ordering e.g. Japanese troops to rape and murder the women of Nanjing in 1937 or the Red Army to systematically rape East Berlin’s female inhabitants in 1945. Most war crimes are committed for some strategic reason, however twisted.
But I can’t understand the appeal of committing rape. I can’t understand it when the victim is a grown woman, no matter how attractive, and I certainly can’t understand it when the victim is a kid. To me, forcing myself sexually upon someone would not be like enjoying shop-lifted candy, a guilty pleasure. It would be like eating a shit sandwich. I gladly pay to eat candy. I would gladly pay to not have to commit rape, if those were the options. I like sex, but rape isn’t sex. It’s more akin to torture, something I would also gladly pay to not have to commit.
“Yay! The war has broken down the fabric of society! Might makes right! I can do whatever the fuck I like! I’m gonna gamble, I’m gonna drink, I’m gonna enrich myself! And then I’m finally gonna be able to have as many big steaming shit sandwiches as I like!” I don’t get it.
The Liberian and Congolese rapists are not acting on any unbridled universal male urges. To my mind, they are simply insane, probably due to war trauma and a broken culture, like the members of Charlie Company at My Lai. There are certain things that no sane person will do, and raping children is one of them.
In the long run, Darwinian selection acts upon cultures. But us in the world at large can’t wait for that to make the current cultures of Liberia and Congo go extinct, taking millions of people with them.
Please check out the blogs Isis the Scientist, Tara Smith’s Aetiology, and Sheril Kirshenbaum’s The Intersection. They’re donating their blog incomes to combat post-war rape and have pledged to cover the developing situation. And if you can, consider donating to Doctors Without Borders.