I honestly believe if you gave my rapist a truth serum so that he could only say things that he genuinely believes are true, he would say he had never raped me. If you asked him if I had ever said no to sex and then he preceded to have sex with me anyway he would say yes. If you asked if I had ever pushed him away and pleaded with him to stop, he would also say yes. Yet, despite knowing these truths, he would not make that critical connection between his behavior and its consequences.
Rapists have a sociopathic lack of compassion for other’s needs. They see your hesitation, struggle, and fear, but somewhere along the way they justify their actions. They believe that what they are doing is either not wrong or at least justifiable due to their own need to overpower another person. Most people would call a person like this a monster.
Here is the problem with viewing them like this. That rapist is someone’s son and someone’s best friend. They have a respectable job; they help people. They open car doors for their grandmother. Everyone, except for the one person who has experienced him at his worst, in private, sees him as a good person. So, when the survivor tells her community that she was assaulted by this person, everyone looks at this man who is respectable and who they love, and they think… but he’s a good person. He couldn’t have done this.
When we are told that a person is assaulted, we expect the perpetrator to be a monster who stalks people in bars, carries a knife just in case, and has probably been to prison countless times. We look for that monster, and all we see is a nice guy. We don’t recognize him. Yet, most survivors know their attacker. They are acquaintances, maybe friends.
No one is all good or all bad, and that includes rapists. The black and white thinking that most of us think is justified does nothing but hinder us in our attempt to find justice.