A science of rape?

2 months ago


What is a science of rape? It might be something like Frankenstein - a combination of hubris, an unwarranted faith in science, coupled to the belief that behaviour can be programmed and engineered; that we can build a better world. It is a will to power but why would that be a dangerous fantasy? The behaviour and acts in question are selfish at best and violently destructive at worst. Why would we not want to eradicate them?

On the one hand what is said and written about rape creates monsters and horror - which science then tames through knowledge that reconstructs the beast. The man is taken apart and reassembled in the figure of his creator. It is a fantasy of power, that we can remodel men in our own image. But science cannot do that; this is a consolatory fantasy.

Frankenstein's creature is created not for his own sake but for that of his creator. Frankenstein seeks to give birth, to give life, but than cannot love what he has created. He is abandoned and finally pursues his creator to the end. Read like that 'Frankenstein' imagines how monsters are ultimately made; they are brought to life, rather than being naturally occurring types. We go looking for them in surveys, painstakingly finding their attributes, teasing out their pathways - the roads they have taken - and then set them back on the straight and narrow. We fix their drinking, their depression, their incomes and their attitudes - try to make someone into what they never were, imagine a different future for them. Or we drive them out in front of us, casting the devil out. God named the creatures and the world; to name things is God-like, we call it by its name, as if its secret hidden essence has been found out and we now hold power over it; we know what it is.

Those are the fantasies of science. What do I propose instead? Not to create monsters, merely the ordinary. To think about what we are bringing into being, what we are investing with power. The magnification of the torturer's might.
So that's what one part of the science of rape. The other is the number and its actuarial subjectivity.

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