What makes violent men violent?

by Verónica Jara Gómez S4ESB

When a woman is sexually assaulted, is her sobriety or clothing responsible for what happened? The “she was asking for it” argument is often used by victim-blamers to deflect the guilt of the offender. But why? Is there any truth behind the claim? 


Feeling sexually attracted to someone is normal, and as kids, we are led to believe that women and men experience it differently. For women, we see it as this kind of vulnerable womanhood experience, when you’re suddenly in love with a man, and you learn things about yourself you never knew existed. For whatever men are reading this, that is not true. For men, we see it as this experience of being attracted to all women, and not being able to stop thinking about sex. According to society, men can’t resist sexual urges like women can, that’s why they can’t help it when they see a girl with a revealing outfit. Can miniskirts make a guy incapable of resisting a sexual urge? The answer is no. Both women and men experience sexual urges in similar ways, according to scientists. If in no moment guys suffer from temporary satanical possession when they see a girl, then why are some men so sexually violent? If the research is right, there should be as many rape cases against men as against women.  


The reason why there are more rape cases against women by men does not lie in sexual impulses, it lies in violence in general. Although the average man is just as violent as the average woman, there are more openly violent men than women. In all types of violent crimes, men have the statistical lead.  They’re more likely to murder and be murdered, but women are more likely to be abused. Even though theories occasionally differ, they all have one thing in common: the differences are psychological.  

In general, women don’t feel the need to objectify or be aggressive towards men.  

Sexual assault and harassment are closely tied to sexual objectification and dominance. Men’s sexuality is associated with dominance and pride, but women’s is related to submission. Men can’t be derogated by sexual objectification, not just because women usually don’t do it, but because they already have a higher standing. 


After a lot of research, scientists have landed on the soundest theory to this day. Men who have a more fragile masculinity, feel the need to display it constantly. Sometimes they feel like this because they question their sexual orientation. They also may feel easily threatened by others, a symptom of a severe lack of self-esteem, searching for external approval because they lack it at home. That’s why when a man, (like a woman could be) is prone to violence if they are insecure, that may lead to extreme behaviour towards others and potentially serious harm to those around them.  


Another strong motivator related to insecurity is dominance. When a man sexually harasses a woman, it’s often to ‘put her in her place’. Sexual harassment (by insecure men) can work as a form of backlash against women who violate gender norms because the man fears a woman could do a better job at being a man than himself. 

Of course, insecurity isn’t the only reason behind sexual violence. Another reason is our flawed society. One that tends to excuse violent behaviours, under the pretence that it doesn’t define the man’s character, or that it is early enough for him to change. We offer far too much leeway to violent young men when they display aggressive behaviour. When you let someone harm another person and get away with it, the offender won’t care that what they did was bad. They knew from the beginning, but by imposing consequences, they would refrain from doing it again, over self-preservation. The current system makes violent men feel entitled to women, especially ones who are in vulnerable situations. They know that if they choose a girl who drinks, there will be little to no consequences because the blame will fall on her. When we foment violent behaviour, it doesn’t matter who, we put people at risk. 


Why don’t we have a better system? If the world is all for change and equality, why is the system so misogynistic? Our ideologies may be new, but the adults of today grew up in a society vastly different from ours. However, many young people are also decidedly standing with the offenders when these things happen. Why? Many theorists think it’s just world bias. It’s a psychological term, referring to when people victim blame, because it’s easier than feeling at risk for the same thing. If it’s ‘her’ fault, then such a thing would never happen to you, because you would never drink that much, or wear that outfit. If the offender is your friend, it’s better to think it was ‘her’ fault, if not, you don’t just lose your friend, you’re near someone violent.  


In conclusion, we now know men are not possessed by the devil when they see shoulders. Generally, behind a violent person is a very broken, insecure, and microscopic character. No matter who does it, allowing or justifying sexual assault, and violence in general, cannot be permissible today. No one deserves to have violence inflicted on them and know the offender could just as easily do it again, no consequences needed. The next step we need to take towards equality is to acknowledge that a violent person doesn’t change overnight.