Whenever it comes to prevention of theft, we are told to lock our doors. Hide our valuables. If you leave your valuables in your car and leave your car unlocked, and your valuables get stolen, people will say “well, you shouldn’t have left that stuff out in the open.”
Whenever it comes to rape and sexual assault, it is never the victim’s fault. Ever. No matter how promiscuous, no matter what poor decisions someone made (walking alone at night in an irreputable area, for instance), the blame is always pushed towards the perpetrator. At least, that’s according to tumblr and the media. Verdict is still out on that, especially if you visit some of the creepy subreddits that glorify the dominant male behavior.
Whenever a crazed gunman kills 40 people, there is no doubt. The gunman was either crazy, or a terrorist, or barely a human being. People freak out for a week, or a month, and then move on, blaming politics or poor mental treatment or whatever, who cares, we’re already back to watching TV or… what was I talking about?
Now, the point I’m trying to get to is in each of these situations, these situations that are very different, there are two key players here. A perpetrator, and a victim. That’s it. That’s what it really boils down to. It’s not about culture, or conspiracy, or whatever. Regardless of the debates on gun control, on rape culture, or on petty theft (okay, you don’t hear about that last one on CNN), all of these things happen in every country, every day. In fact, there’s probably someone somewhere right now who is robbing someone, raping them, and killing them.
And as unfortunate as it might sound to say it, this is perfectly normal behavior. One of those, “yeah, it sucks, but that’s just the way it is,” situations. If it was truly a controllable issue, we’d have fixed it by now. But despite thousands of years of societal reform, of laws, of “talking” about the issues, we still have to deal with perp-victim crimes all the time.
Why is that? Is it rape culture? Is it poverty? Is it the glorification of violence in video games?
I don’t think so. I think it’s human instinct.
You see, if you look at almost any animal in existence, every animal behaves the same way. Otters rape baby seals. Chimps kill other chimps. Birds fight over that juicy grub they just saw over there. Female lions that refuse to breed are killed or banished from the pride by the male lions.
Throughout human history, humans have murdered, pillaged, stolen, destroyed, raped, and so much more from generation to generation. Just like our animal relatives. Because we are animals. When push comes to shove, every human being is capable of killing. Every human being is capable of stealing. Every human being is capable of sexual assault. And no amount of society is going to change that. Sure, there will be good humans and bad, like any other society.
Take the common rat, for instance. There are two classifications of common rat in most “Western” countries. Wild rats, and pet rats. The biggest difference between the two is that many wild rats were captured hundreds of years ago, and bred over and over and over again for lab purposes, for pets, for genetics, etc. If you go to a pet store and buy a fancy rat right now, odds are, the past 200-300 generations of that rat have been born, bred, and died in captivity. We’re talking 300 years of breeding and domestication.
In the early 2000’s, Dr. Manuel Berdoy released 75 lab rats that were fully domesticated into the wild. A controlled environment, mind you, but essentially the rats were allowed to roam free after being alive in captivity for a year, descended from the many other generations of domesticated lab rats.
Almost immediately, these docile, cage-bound rats reverted to natural, instinctual behavior. Skills that had not been touched for 200-300 years revealed themselves within days. Foraging, social hierarchies, wild behaviors, sexual behaviors, etc.
Let’s look at humans. If you go back just 200 years, the United States still maintained slaves. We still fought over land. The civil war hadn’t even happened yet. In many cases, rape wasn’t even seen as a crime against the woman, but a crime against the father of the woman, for betraying his offspring.
I guess what I’m getting at, is the idea that we don’t live in a “violent” society. For it to be a violent society we’d have to have figured out how to stop the violence. Otherwise it’s just the status quo. I don’t know if that’s a better or worse perspective than what we already hold though. The bottom line is, we’re all animals. And animals can be contained, sure. But once you stop training Fido and let him out of his cage for a while, he might go back to his bad habits. The same applies to humanity. If there were no laws against rape, there’d be a lot more rape. If there were no laws against murder, there’d be a lot more murder. Deeming it a “cultural” issue is almost insulting to the biology itself. We need to realize that it goes way beyond the cultural or societal aspect.