Don’t forget that sexual assault is all about power, control

Though I do appreciate Washington Post columnist Matt Miller’s focus on why men rape — rather than the usual focus of what did the victim do that invited the rape — his analysis unfortunately doesn’t mention a key motivation for men who sexually assault: power.

Miller asks if Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s womanizing reputations are “merely extreme examples of a beast that lurks within all men,” but far too often the culpability for sexual assault falls on testosterone or primal urge. He interviews his wife about this quandary, who replies:

“That drive for sex seems to overcome every rational, moral anchor that otherwise ‘good’ men have,” Jody says. Because men are so susceptible to this, it gives some women enormous power — as Cleopatra and others through the ages have shrewdly sensed. But most women are subject to abuse because of these male urges.

But sexual assault and rape aren’t just about men who are trying to quench their insatiable sexual urges. They are about power and control more than mere sexual satisfaction, and that is essential to understanding the motivation behind sexual assault.


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