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Of sex and force

August 03, 2003

Contrary to the Sandy Banks column David Shaw quotes in "If the Accused Is Named, the Accuser Should Be Too" (July 27), rape is not a crime motivated by violence but a crime motivated by sex. Banks was just restating the same-old same-old put out there by Susan Brownmiller and others without lifting a brain cell, a book or a telephone to investigate that claim. There's actually a book filled with data showing that rape is motivated by sex -- "A Natural History of Rape, the Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion" by biology professor Randy Thornhill and anthropology instructor Craig T. Palmer (MIT Press, 2000). After looking at mountains of data, they view rape as biologically based but not inevitable. Like me, they suggest that the victims can sometimes prevent rape by acting prudently and reasonably (say, by recognizing that going up to a hotel room with a famous basketball player probably won't result in a friendly game of checkers). Of course, this kind of thinking does run contrary to feminism's infantilism of women.

Amy Alkon

Santa Monica

Amy Alkon, the Advice Goddess, is a syndicated columnist in over 100 newspapers.

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