Five Reasons Why Rapists Deserve No Mercy

Guest Writer Daphne

Guest Contributor Daphne Holmes

Guest Article

According to a 2011 report by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), an estimated 217, 331 rapes and sexual assaults were committed in the U.S. that year alone. That statistic is shocking enough, but even more so when one recognizes that incidents of rape or sexual assault are notoriously under-reported, and that prior to 2013, the FBI’s instructions to law enforcement as to the definition of rape were limited to “carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will,” with a further explanation that “carnal knowledge” is penetration (however slight) of a penis into a vagina.

Even after the broadening of the definition in 2013, scenarios such as women being assaulted or raped while they are either drunk, drugged, or otherwise incapacitated are still excluded from the definition. As a result, the number of actual sexual assaults must reasonably be expected to far exceed that indicated by the reports on record.

The truth is that, “An American woman has a 25 to 26 percent chance of being raped in her lifetime (1 in 4).” And unfortunately, our criminal justice system isn’t doing nearly enough to fix the problem and improve women’s chances of avoiding rape. If we are to fix the problem, we need to face the truth about rape, and the rationalizations used by the men who commit them.

1) Rapists will continue to rape.
According to a study, discussed in Scientific American magazine, of sex crimes by researchers R. Karl Hanson and Kelly E. Morton-Bourgon of Public Safety Canada, “The 15-year recidivism rate is 13 percent for incest perpetrators, 24 percent for rapists, and 35 percent for child molesters of boy victims.”

The drive to rape doesn’t go away. Imprisonment does nothing to diminish the desire. It merely incentivizes the rapist to be more careful, perhaps to kill his victim so as to eliminate her as a witness. Therapy doesn’t diminish the desire, either. At best, it helps the rapist rationalize his way out of responsibility for his crimes, by asserting that his “sickness” overwhelms his ability to refrain from committing rapes in the future.

2) Rape is about power, not sex.
The act of rape isn’t about sexual gratification. It is about being able to dominate a woman, about proving to the rapist that he is her superior. It is about punishing all women for some kind of early abuse or perceived slight. And most of all, it is about washing away the rapist’s sense of powerlessness, worthlessness, and doubt about his own masculinity and/or sexual preferences. Rape is a desperate and violent attempt to fill a hole in the rapist’s soul that can never truly be filled.

3) Anything short of a “yes” is a “no.”
Rapists usually attempt to place blame for their crimes on their victims. “If she didn’t want it, she wouldn’t have dressed that way. She wouldn’t have led me on. She would have stopped me… she wasn’t that drunk.” It doesn’t matter how enticing a woman looks, her choice of attire is not an open invitation to sex. Neither is a smile or eye contact with a would-be suitor. And as to the claim that a woman “asked for it” by drinking a bit too much, or taking a drug – even intentionally – that left her less capable of establishing boundaries, all such actions on a woman’s part might be unwise, and might be irresponsible, but they do not constitute her permission to have sex. And going ahead without her clear, expressed permission is rape. Period.

4) You know a woman who has been raped.
It is safe to assume that at least one woman in your family or social circle has been sexually assaulted at some point in her life, and more of them will be assaulted in the future. It would be unrealistic to expect a rapist to stop raping, just because he might have feelings for someone he knows and therefore might empathize with his own prospective victims. But those of us who aren’t rapists, and who do feel that empathy, need to do everything we can to prevent our own or someone else’s sister, mother, or friend from having to deal with the horror of being raped.

5) Leniency toward rape constitutes moral – if not legal – complicity in rape.
We aren’t all heroes, and we can’t always be in the right place at the right time to stop a rapist from assaulting a woman or child. Naturally, we’d like to believe that if we actually witnessed such an assault, we would rush in and try to intervene, but the truth is that not everyone is predisposed to such a brave and honorable act.

Fortunately, we can help reduce the incidents of rape by letting our outrage be known every time we learn of another assault. Most of the country is aware of the case of G. Todd Baugh, the Billings, Montana judge who sentenced a 47-year-old man who had raped a 14-year-old girl to only 30 days in jail. The judge’s reasoning was that the girl “looked older,” and was likely a willing participant, despite being below the age of consent. It is very possible that the sentence would have stood, had there not been such a huge public outcry.

That outcry probably played a huge role in the Montana High court’s stern reprimand of the judge, and their decision to vacate the original sentence and submit the case to another judge for more appropriate sentencing. The voices of outrage were heard, loud and clear, and every one of those voices was from a single person who refused to allow such a travesty to stand.

There are an awful lot of rapists and would-be rapists out there. They live to harm others, and they will not be cured or rehabilitated. The only way to prevent our mothers, sisters, wives, cousins, and friends from being subjected to rape is to make certain that when a man is convicted of rape, he is not allowed to see the outside of a prison for the rest of his natural life. And depending upon the circumstances and nature of his crime, it might even be preferable to send him to death row.

We must strive to be a merciful people, but that mercy must be global as well as individual. And it should be shown to those who deserve it, rather than those who have harmed them.

1 Greenberg, Bruess and Haffner, 573; Horowitz, 413; Lips, 233

Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from and you can reach her at [email protected]

5 Responses to Five Reasons Why Rapists Deserve No Mercy

  1. awesomeblossom says:

    I agree adult rapists can’t be cured or rehabilitated. It’s frightening how many young boys are now incarcerated for rape. I don’t have the statistics but it’s a lot. I sure hope they can be retaught before they’re adults.

  2. 2cute says:

    Rape was only defined as penetration into the vagina? What about the anus? I sure hope the new definition includes that. And we mustn’t forget the male and intersex victims of rape too.


      Couldn’t have said it better myself 2CUTE. Rape can happen to anyone. Rape and sexual assault laws should be worded in a manner so that the rights of everyone is recognized. Additionally, there needs to be tougher sentences for people who rape animals. This is a crime that usually only results in a very light sentence and I believe that most states do not require animal rapists to be put on sex offender registries (I am not positive about this, so I could be wrong about this). I have read articles that state that animal rapists usually go on to escalate their crimes and eventually begin raping humans, as well as animals. I am definitely in favor of states having laws to keep a sex offender past his sentence in confinement. Many people are against this because they think that the offender should be let go once they have completed their sentence, but why should innocent people be put at risk? Sex offenders complain that their rights are violated and that they are forever judged even though they have served their time and to that I must say that I have no empathy for them. If the sex offender didn’t want to be judged or have certain rights taken away from them, then they should not have committed their crimes. Victims are forced to live with the aftermath of the sexual assault or rape for life, therefore they are left with a life sentence of their own. Sex offenders choose to commit criminal acts, so there is no curing or rehabilitating someone who makes a clear cut choice to commit an act of sexual assault or rape. Sex offenders choose to assault, rape, and sometimes murder by their own free will. You can’t cure free will!

  3. CommonDecency says:

    Rape is Horrifying and Deserves Capital Punishment

    Let the Human Rights of the Victim come First

    • Michael says:

      But while rape is disgusting it is a hard crime to prosecute because it is often “he said she said” with no evidence to support either side and besides it is unethical to kill someone for a crime that caused no death as a direct result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *