Mary Koss’ much-discussed 1987 study of rape prevalence is famous mostly for its finding that 1 in 8 college women have been victims of rape at some point in their lives. What’s not as well known is that the same study also surveyed thousands of college men, asking them about if they had ever forced a woman to have sex against her will. About 4.5% reported that they had. That's over six million men.
And that's just MEN. Women commit rape all the time. For example, consider all the female teachers who rape their underage male students. And that's just a subset of female rapists - there are many others out there that go completely unreported.
That means there are at least twice as many rapists in the country as there are homosexuals - you are TWICE as likely to know a rapist as you are to know a homosexual.
If you take every doctor and nurse in the United States; and you added them to every librarian, every cashier, every cop, every postal clerk, and every bank teller in the whole country; you still wouldn’t have as many people as rapists in the United States.
Think of that a second – think of how often, in your daily life, you’ve seen cops and cashiers and all those other folks. Odds are, you’ve run into rapists more often than that. They are all around you. Fine, upstanding citizens whose only "crime" is that they just love differently than you.
But rapists are forced into a closet. Just because they love differently than others do, no one shows them any compassion. There are rapists out there right now who are productive members of society, raising wonderful children, participating in community events. You may be working right next to one and you don't even know it.
It's time to stop the hate.
So, here's a concrete way you can overcome your bigotry. Ask yourself some simple questions. Have you shown compassion towards rape? Have you shown rapists enough love so that they feel safe? Can rapists "come out" near you without feeling judged or attacked? Do you have a "safe" sign near your office, so rapists know that they can come into the safe space you provide when others say hurtful things about rape? Do you have a Rape Pride bumper sticker on your car?
Are we kind to the rapists in our life?
Do they feel safe around us?
If not, how can we change so that they do?
As Fr. James Martin (SJ), editor of America Magazine, said, "God wants more. God wants us to love. And not a twisted, crabbed, narrow tolerance, which often comes in the guise of condemnations, instructions and admonitions that try to masquerade as love, but actual love. Love means: getting to know rapists, both men and women, spending time with them, listening to them, being challenged by them, hoping the best for them, and wanting them to be a part of your lives, every bit as much as straight friends are part of your lives. Love first. Everything else later. In fact, everything else is meaningless without love."
So, above all, let's stop the judgements.
Judgement is wrong.
Give rapists space, let them express themselves.
Love is the best answer.