Like the nationals of all other countries, Americans have over the years developed a strongly gendered culture. Right from childhood, males are taught how to behave as males while females learn how to be feminine. Masculinity is often associated with machoism, strength and aggression. Gender relations are clearly evident in the heterosexual dating scene where masculinity is expected of men while feminity is expected of women (Zurbriggen, 2009). There exists a notable link between the prevalence of rape and gender relations. Women and children are at the highest risk of rape.
Most victims are raped by relatives, friends, or people they know. Many are raped several times before they either report the assault or it becomes difficult to keep it secret, for instance when they get pregnant or a venereal disease (Abbey et al. , 2004). To understand why people are victimized by those they are close to, one needs to look back at the violators’ developmental stages. Males learn early in life that they are supposed to be more powerful than the rest. The resulting gender rigidity leads men to rape or use violence to control and intimidate women (McGlynn, 2008; Zurbriggen, 2009).
Men thus find it easier to justify rape and violence against vulnerable spouses, children, friends and other relatives. Male victims of rape and males who choose to have sex with other males do not fit in as men and are often treated as women (Bonthuys, 2008). This implies that according to males, rape can only happen to non-males. America remains a largely patriarchal society which means that relations between members of society are still skewed in favor of men. Gender is seen in most aspects of everyday Americans’ lives and domination of men over women is evident in domestic relations as well as in formal institutions (Seymour, 2009).
While it boasts of being one of the longest democracies, the United States of America hosts a society which is still characterized gender relations which favour males at the expense of other members of society, thereby sneaking in the ‘justification’ for men to hold power over and control other members of society. References Abbey, A. , Beshears, R. , Clinton-Sherrod, A. & McAuslan, P. (2004). Similarities and Differences in Women’s Sexual Assault Experiences Based on Tactics Used by the Perpetrator. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 28: pp 323-332. Bonthuys, E. (2008).
Putting Gender into the Definition of Rape or Taking it Out? Feminist Legal Studies 16: pp 249-260. McGlynn, C. (2008). Rape as ‘Torture’? Catherine Mackinnon and Questions of Feminist Strategy. Feminist Legal Studies 16: pp 71-85. Seymour, K. (2009). Women, Gendered Work and Gendered Violence: So Much More than a Job. Gender, Work and Organization, Vol. 16, No. 2: pp 238-265. Zurbriggen, E. (2009). Understanding and Preventing Adolascent Dating Violence: The Importance of Developmental, Sociocultural, and Gendered Perspectives. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33: pp 30-33.