Do mothers create rapists?

UPDATE: 2020/10/16. Alexis Grewan has written a rebuttal

Mothers create Rapists
Tied down by a mother’s tolerance?

An incident last year caused me to conclude that this might very well be the case. Oh, I can see mothers raising angry fists at me but I urge you to consider the evidence I present. To ensure that I was not being rash, I determined to research the subject thoroughly, which I did informally and casually. I didn’t get to formal academic-type research, because the recent spate of abuse, child rape, and general violence against women has angered me to such a degree that my emotions need to pour out into print without delay in the hope that it might bring about change.

Observations: Mothers creating an environment for a rapist

Then I realise that subconsciously I had been gathering information for decades. As a young father, at a time when it was permitted to smack children, I witnessed mothers telling their sons to do something – or desist from doing something. The son takes no notice.  A faux-angry “Stop that or I’ll smack you” had zero effect. Son ignores mother. This is followed by “I am not telling you again to stop that” and a moment later “This is the last time that I’m telling you again to stop that”. Son either totally ignores her voice or gives her a look as if to say “Buzz off.” Mother even smiles now at the son’s bravado.

Meaningless threats followed by praise for disobedience

Then follows a long series of “This is the very last time that I’m telling you again that it’s the last time that I’m telling you to stop, or I’ll smack you.” This can have endless repetitions of “very very very last time that it’s the very very last time ..  ..  ..”.

Eventually, mommy might smack her son about as hard as dropping a feather on his head. By this time the visiting friends are in awe of her patience and skillful parenting, to which mother responds “Isn’t he wonderful. So strong-willed. Very determined. He has a mind of his own. He’ll go far. I’m so proud of him”.

The bad lesson taught

Get this. Son ignores his mother totally, is defiant, disobedient and continues his destructive behaviour despite his mother having told him repeatedly to stop. He actively displays his disrespect for the most important female person in his young life – his mother. And she allows it. Accept it. Praises it.

Bad behaviour praised

Fast forward to the incident of last year. A young boy barges into a chocolate shop that occasionally gives away free chocolate balls for tasting. That this was not one of those free sample days didn’t bother him. He goes behind the counter (the ‘staff only’ sign ignored), takes a chocolate and charges out. The manager who now places the tray out of sight under the counter tells me that the kid does this all the time.

No doesn’t mean NO!

Five minutes later the kid races in again, locates the tray under the counter, takes four balls and shouts belligerently at the manager, who tries in vain to stop him, “I’m taking for my mother and sister”. I am gobsmacked when he charges in for a third time almost knocking over my partner and takes another chocolate from behind and under the counter. His mother, following close behind, tells him clearly “NO! You know that you can only have chocolate on Saturday. And definitely not before dinner”. She stupidly says this knowing very well that he has already eaten at least two purloined chocolates at their table in the coffee shop next to the chocolate shop. The son, glaring at his mother in defiance as if hateful venom is spewing from his eyes and face, continues to unwrap the chocolate before stuffing it into his mouth – not wavering in his scowl, while she shouts again “NO!”

Mother tolerates disobedience

She, well-groomed and well-spoken, now somewhat guiltily turns to me and explains that he is such a nice boy. Such a clever boy. So confident, adding in defense or protest, that he comes from a very good home. This kid has effectively just told the most important woman in his life, his mother, to Eff Off. That she, and by implication, his young sister clinging in fear to mommy’s hand, has no value. And she has just praised him for this aberrant behaviour and taught him that when a woman says NO she doesn’t really mean it. This mother, like many others, is training her son from scratch to be an entitled narcissist and possibly a rapist. I am sure that you have witnessed similar incidents. You might even be part of that process. Please look into the mirror and your heart.

I am reminded of that horrible Brock Turner who raped Chanel Miller on a USA campus. Turner’s father said that he shouldn’t be sent to jail “For 20 seconds of action”. Disgusting of course, but his mother, in her silence, effectively condoned the rape.

Hope for change

Of course, I have done a little research. Liezel, a psychologist in Midrand agrees. I won’t quote her elaboration here. An attorney, Katrina, a mature mother with young twin boys responded with certainty. “Don’t blame men for rape. Blame women. They don’t teach their sons discipline. They teach them that No means nothing.”

A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to parents will be disrespectful of everyone. Disrespect can lead to crime. They age but never mature. They won’t respect the individual’s rights to privacy, safety and freedom. They won’t respect women.

A plea to Mothers and Grannies

Please mothers and grandmothers and mothers to be: acquire the knowledge and skills and get on with effective parenting. Be a consciously great parent. Don’t unknowingly, carelessly and recklessly create an environment in which there exists the slightest possibility for rapists and monsters to develop. Raise respectful sons who become men who will achieve their goals and contribute to society. Men who will respect and protect women.

Footnote: The chocolate shop reported experiencing similar incidents at many of their stores and has stopped giving away free samples.

Turner was sentenced to a paltry 6 months but served only 3. He left university, is a permanently registered sex offender, and works in a menial job. Chanel Miller (known as Emily Doe throughout the trial) is a survivor and has written her story – “Know My Name”.

Thanks to Sam J Basch for his editing and advice

DISCLAIMER: This article reflects the experiences of the writer, Peter Ucko, and his opinions, conclusions, suggestions and hope for change, based on those experiences. It is but one aspect of the horrific reality of rape, violence, for which perpetrators are responsible and liable, and lack of discipline in society. This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of SAFREA or the SAFREA Chronicle MediaHub

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


11 Responses

  1. I’m wondering why you had a male edit this post and why there is no mention of the sperm donor’s role in raising healthy boys who know how to treat people with respect? I am unable to understand why the responsibility lies only in the hands of the mother and why larger societal issues such as toxic masculinity, patriarchy, gender roles and absent fathers have not been touched on at all.

  2. Thanks, Alexis, for your input. I asked Sam because it was only a few hours before the deadline and he was willing and able to help.
    The focus of this article, which had been brewing in my head and disturbing my psyche for months, is on the role of the mother and the relationship with their sons. There is no doubt that fathers can and do set bad examples for sons by treating their wives/partners atrociously. They too create bullies and rapists. This also affects daughters and could create inferiority complexes and feeling of worthlessness. That is a separate tome and I didn’t want to write a book. I merely wanted to make this point, which I hope will encourage mothers to examine their parenting patterns, recognise shortcomings and perhaps learn new ways. I also hope that others might recognise these patterns in their friends and rather than praising them for their patience and false pride in a son, help them recognize their failings and move to change. I am reservedly hopeful.

  3. I am not persuaded by your response to Alexis, Peter. Mothers are disproportionately blamed for parenting choices while often carrying the bulk of the parenting load. But what disturbs me most that your reasoning shifts blame again away from the only person who should take responsibility for a rape: the rapist.
    As other feminists have said far more eloquently than I have, ‘rapists, stop raping. ‘

  4. I think you make some valid points Peter, but I am disappointed that you zoned in on one parent and completely disregarded the parenting role of the father.
    Also, this article should carry a *trigger disclaimer right up top.

    1. Thank you Neesa. I did address only one parent here. There is much more. I didn’t disregard the father. I couldn’t deal with everything, short of writing a 500-page book. In addition to fathers (often divorced and belligerently hurtful, and too often absent) there are grandparents, aunts and uncles and older siblings. Some children have spent lengthy periods in Homes for children or detention centres – often with no parental contact. Most certainly the bottom line is that the individual perpetrator is responsible. They, despite anything which might have happened in their youth, still have choices.

  5. I am not attempting to persuade anyone Margot. Nor do I seek to shift blame. Rapists will continue to rape and remain responsible. Both male on female and male on male. And occasionally female on female. There are multiple dozens of reasons and causes. There are endless nuances within psycho-social variances. I did not want to, nor can I, deal with all of them. I simple drew attention to one possibility – which I believe to be, among all the others, a real possibility. I seek to precipitate change.

  6. Peter, if I read your responses to the ladies’ comments, I presume you understand the father has a role to play in this matter, too. Wouldn’t it be fair, then, to do the research on the other parent and give us a more balanced view in the process? I’m looking forward to reading part two.

    1. Thank you, Helene. I am certain that someone else will be sufficiently motivated to rail against me and write an article as you suggest. Although I doubt that there will be a balance. I dealt with but one aspect only. Deliberately. If I write about this it will, again, be based on my real-life experiences. Sadly, it is not only the “other” parent. There are grandparents and other relatives, male and female. There are abusive fathers and vindictive ex-wives. There is the entire social system, including inadequate law enforcement responses and our education system. Add the industries which promote harmful products (like alcohol) which can lead to crimes and rape. It is complex.

      1. Of course it is complex. We all accept there are multitudes of complex factors involved, but you decided to choose the mother – and there are fair and valid points also. Another article shouldn’t come from ‘motivation to rail against YOU’. In my opinion, it will be much more powerful if based on the willingness of an author who’s getting flack for his views to explore the other – more uncomfortable – side of his topic. And this doesn’t only concern you. It goes for any of us. The Chronicle is a new platform, where things are developing as we go, and perhaps multifacited, multisided reporting is a different way of looking at things. Just a thought.

  7. The article has merit and addresses a view on a chosen angle.
    I write in response to Alexis Grewan. Don’t judge an article by it’s hyperbolic headline. Also, by applying Betteridge’s law to the headline we know that no, obviously mothers do not create rapists.

    It might have been more helpful if you commented on what the article is all about: it’s about a breakdown in communication between men (manboys?) and women caused by the mother/child relationship.

    Equally helpful might have been discussing whether the lack of authority of mothers is due to patriarchal family structures or mothers simply being less willing to exercise their authority and/or less willing to discipline their kids. Or all of the above.

    By not addressing the central claim of the article and asking a string of “why” questions makes it look like you have committed the fallacy of special pleading.

  8. Hi Peter, thank you for your article. I am sorry people are judging your article, as opposed to looking at it as a different angle which needs to be heard. Your article was concise and to the point. I found myself nodding madly while reading it Peter, so thank you.
    I was raped by 2 of my first cousins 33 years ago. I personally saw one of these rapists hitting his mother, about 2 yrs previously and prior to the rape, at a family function, They had no respect for her and obviously women, it was shocking to see. Their father was a quiet and kind introvert he just did not have the balls to stop what was happening and discipline the boys, instead, he turned a blind eye to the truth. Great article which really said needed to be said.

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