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更新时间:2017-11-1 12:37:03 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

What Experts Know About Men Who Rape

In 1976, a Ph.D. candidate at Claremont Graduate University placed a rather unusual personal ad in newspapers throughout Los Angeles: “Are you a rapist? Research anonymously by phone to protect your identity. Call 213--__- ____. 9-9 p.m.

1976年,克莱尔蒙特研究生大学(Claremont Graduate University)的一名博士生在洛杉矶的多家报纸上刊登了一则很不寻常的个人广告:“你是强奸者吗?匿名电话调研,保护你的隐私。拨打213-___-____。早9点至晚9点。”

He sat by his phone, skeptical that it would ring. “I didn’t think that anyone would want to respond,” said Samuel D. Smithyman, now 72 and a clinical psychologist in South Carolina.

他坐在电话旁,担心没人打来。“我觉得没人会回应,”现年72岁的塞缪尔·D·史密斯曼(Samuel D. Smithyman)说。他现在是南卡罗来纳州的一名临床心理学家。

But the phone did ring. Nearly 200 times.


At the other end of the line were a computer programmer who had raped his “sort of girlfriend,” a painter who had raped his acquaintance’s wife, and a school custodian who described 10 to 15 rapes as a means of getting even with “rich bastards” in Beverly Hills.


By the end of the summer, Smithyman had completed 50 interviews, which became the foundation for his dissertation: “The Undetected Rapist.” What was particularly surprising to him was how normal these men sounded and how diverse their backgrounds were. He concluded that few generalizations could be made.

夏天结束时,史密斯曼完成了50次采访,那成了他的论文《未被发现的强奸犯》(The Undetected Rapist)的基础。令他特别惊讶的是,这些人听起来很正常,背景很多样化。他的结论是,几乎无法对他们进行一般性的概括。

Over the past few weeks, women across the world have recounted tales of harassment and sexual assault by posting anecdotes to social media with the hashtag #MeToo. Even with the focus only on the second category, the biographies of the accused are so varied that they seem to support Smithyman’s observation.

在过去的几周里,世界各地的女性都在社交媒体上以 #MeToo 为标签,讲述自己遭到性骚扰或性侵犯的故事。即使我们只关注性侵犯,也会发现指控者的故事各不相同,似乎与史密斯曼的调查结果相一致。

But more recent research suggests that there are some commonalities. In the decades since his paper, scientists have been gradually filling out a picture of men who commit sexual assaults.


The most pronounced similarities have little to do with the traditional demographic categories, like race, class and marital status. Rather, other kinds of patterns have emerged: These men begin early, studies find. They may associate with others who also commit sexual violence. They usually deny that they have raped women even as they admit to nonconsensual sex.


Clarifying these and other patterns, many researchers say, is the most realistic path toward curtailing behaviors that cause so much pain.


“If you don’t really understand perpetrators, you’re never going to understand sexual violence,” said Sherry Hamby, editor of the journal Psychology of Violence. That may seem obvious, but she said she receives “10 papers on victims” for every one on perpetrators.

“如果你并不真的了解犯罪者,你就永远不会理解性暴力,”《暴力心理学》(Psychology of Violence)杂志的编辑谢丽·汉比(Sherry Hamby)说。这似乎是显而易见的,但她说每收到“十篇关于受害者的论文”,才会有一篇关于犯罪者的论文。

This may be partly connected to a tendency to consider sexual assault a women’s issue even though men usually commit the crime. But finding the right subjects also has complicated the research.


Early studies relied heavily on convicted rapists. This skewed the data, said Neil Malamuth, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has been studying sexual aggression for decades.

早期的研究严重依赖于被判刑的强奸犯。加州大学洛杉矶分校(University of California, Los Angeles)的心理学家尼尔·马拉姆思(Neil Malamuth)研究性侵已有数十年,他说,这种情况扭曲了数据。

Men in prison are often “generalists,” he said: “They would steal your television, your watch, your car. And sometimes they steal sex.”


But men who commit sexual assault, and who are not imprisoned because they got away with it, are often “specialists.” There is a strong chance that this is their primary criminal transgression.


More recent studies tend to rely on anonymous surveys of college students and other communities, which come with legal language assuring subjects their answers cannot be used against them. The studies avoid using terms such as “rape” and “sexual assault.”


Instead, they ask subjects highly specific questions about their actions and tactics. The focus of most sexual aggression research is acknowledged nonconsensual sexual behavior. In questionnaires and in follow-up interviews, subjects are surprisingly open about ignoring consent.


Men who rape tend to start young, in high school or the first couple of years of college, likely crossing a line with someone they know, the research suggests.


Some of these men commit one or two sexual assaults and then stop. Others — no one can yet say what portion — maintain this behavior or even pick up the pace.


There is a heated debate among experts about whether there is a point at which sexual assault becomes an entrenched behavior and what percentage of assaults are committed by serial predators.


Most researchers agree that the line between the occasional and frequent offender is not so clear. The recent work of Kevin Swartout, a professor of psychology and public health at Georgia State University, suggests that low-frequency offenders are more common on college campuses than previously thought.

大多数研究者认为,偶尔性侵和经常性侵之间的界线并不清晰。乔治亚州立大学(Georgia State University)的心理学和公共卫生教授凯文·斯瓦托特(Kevin Swartout)最近的研究表明,在大学校园里,低频率罪犯比以前人们认为的更常见。

“It’s a matter of degree, more like dosage,” said Mary P. Koss, a professor of public health at the University of Arizona, who is credited with coining the term “date rape.”

“这是一个程度问题,更像是剂量,”亚利桑那大学(University of Arizona)的公共卫生教授玛丽·P·科斯(Mary P. Koss)说。她被认为是“约会强奸”一词的发明者。

Dosage of what? Certain factors — researchers call them “risk factors” while acknowledging that these men are nonetheless responsible for their actions — have an outsize presence among those who commit sexual assaults.


Heavy drinking, perceived pressure to have sex, a belief in “rape myths” — such as the idea that no means yes — are all risk factors among men who have committed sexual assault. A peer group that uses hostile language to describe women is another one.


Yet there also seem to be personal attributes that have mediating effect on these factors.


Narcissism seems to work in the other direction, magnifying odds that men will commit sexual assault and rape.


Asked “if they had penetrated against their consent,” Koss said, the subject will say yes. Asked if he did “something like rape,” the answer is almost always no.


And this is not a sign that the respondents are psychopaths, said Hamby, the journal editor. It’s a sign that they are human. “No one thinks they are a bad guy,” she said.


Indeed, experts note one last trait shared by men who have raped: They do not believe they are the problem.