Wednesday, 17 December 2014

IN THE MIND OF A RAPIST

There is a lot of furor about the increasing number of crime against women in India which is multiplying at a worryingly alarming rate. The rage sees no end, especially when we have women being raped every day, in every city of the country, even after the highly brutal Nirbhaya rape case and the new laws enforced after it. She may be gone today, but has awakened the minds of others to help women and change her plight in our country, a country where we worship women.

But, making that change is not quite an easy thing to do. There are a lot of things which the authorities and law enforcement agencies have to do for stopping and eradicating this worst kind of atrocity which can be inflicted on a woman. While putting in place proper mechanism for prevention of such a cowardly act is of utmost importance, but at the same time it is equally important to try and understand why such an act might be committed in the first place and what education and awareness needs to be provided to avoid such an untoward and undesirable occurrence.

For that, let us delve into the brain of the rapist. Let us understand the scientific and psychological aspect of the brain and how does the brain actually “fool” the rapist into executing such a horrific act. Then let us appreciate some simple measures which any man can take to train their brain in the right manner.

We may talk a lot about psychological behavior and how it is a very important factor in determining our success in every facet of life but do we really know how to develop our “brain psychology” so that it works for our benefit and not otherwise. I am not a doctor, scientist or psychologist by qualification but a finance person by occupation and an author by choice. I do think that understanding human brain psychology is of utmost importance in the finance world as well as in any field – basically its most important for us humans to succeed as social animals. Now, what is human psychology, for that we have to understand our human brain and how it functions because finally we all our controlled by our brains (conscious and subconscious minds). Dr. Paul MacLean, a great neurologist and researcher, has brought the concept of “Triune Brain” or the three layered brain.      

The three major layers or 'brains' were established successively in human evolution. Each of the three brain layers represents a distinct evolutionary stratum that has formed upon the older layer before it like an archaeological city. The oldest layer is the reptilian (non-thinking) brain, the second oldest is the mammalian (emotional) brain and the most recent is the cerebral (thinking) brain. Each of the three brains is connected by nerves to the other two. Each brain operates as its own brain system with distinct capacities for perceiving and responding to the environment and each can become dominant depending on the circumstances. The major problem with human psychology and irrational behavior is that the integration and coordination between the three brains is inadequate, a genetic problem in our species. This has implications for human development.

Reptilian Brain or R-complex: The reptilian brain is the oldest layer - the most 'primitive' of the three brain components and makes up the entire brain mass in reptiles. The reptilian brain consists largely of structures. Functions of the reptilian brain are related to physical survival and body maintenance - digestion, reproduction, circulation, breathing, stress responses, territorial instincts, social dominance, sexual behavior, ritualism, social dominance, status maintenance, deception, tendency to follow precedent, awe for authority, social pecking order behavior, compulsiveness, deception, prejudice and resistance to change, rigid, obsessive, compulsive, paranoid etc. The functioning of the reptilian brain is activated when the organism perceives threat and the needs for survival and safety predominate. This part of the brain is active, even in deep sleep. Kindly note, this is the only part of the brain which is NOT in human control – lot of bad human behavior, wrong decisions and other psychological problems happen because of the reptilian brain and a not proper functioning mammalian brain.

Mammalian Brain or limbic system: The second layer middle part of the brain occupies the lower fifth of the human brain and developed with the evolution of mammals. As a brain system, the mammalian brain consists of a series of brain structures around the brainstem which contains the Reptilian brain. The mammalian brain functions in primary seat of emotions of fear, joy, rage, pleasure and pain, attention, and affective (emotion-charged) memories, what gets your attention, unpredictability, feeding, fighting, fleeing and memory.

Cerebral cortex or neo-cortex or rational thinking brain: The third layer which occupies five sixths of the brain is known the 'neocortex' or the 'cerebral cortex'. The cerebral brain is the latest evolutionary development of the brain.  The cerebral brain is involved with most mental activity, including spatial and mathematical thinking, meditating, dreaming, remembering, processing and decoding of sensory information.  The cerebral brain is divided into left and right hemispheres -left and right brain.  The left hemisphere is linear, rational, and verbal and controls the right side of the body. The right hemisphere is spatial, abstract, musical and artistic and controls the left side of the body. For example, generally speaking, highly educated people like doctors, lawyers, engineers, Chartered Accountants etc have highly developed “left cerebral brain” while persons involving in creating professions like actors, singers, painters, musicians, writers etc have more developed “right cerebral brain”.

The interaction of the three brain layers forms the biological basis for the interaction of concepts, emotions and behaviors which make up the learning process. The reader might think that the cerebral brain dominates the mammalian and the reptilian brains. However, you will be surprised to learn that the cerebral brain generally is the weakest of the three and that the mental functions of the cerebral (thinking) brain can be hijacked by the functions of the other two brain layers. This is the main reason why totally rational individuals take totally irrational decisions under specific situations of life. For example, the reptilian (non thinking) brain runs automatically and not in our control (because it controls vital survival functions like breathing, digestion, circulation, reproduction etc) and it is that part of the brain which immediately starts functioning even without our knowledge. Suppose, somebody gave you a complex mathematical problem, you will not have a direct answer, you will have to activate your cerebral (thinking) brain to solve the equation. On the other hand, the reptilian brain immediately gets activated even before we realize – suppose you just see picture of say a burger or pizza, your mouth might immediately water although your cerebral (thinking) brain knows that there is no such burger or pizza but the reptilian brain had stored the real burger or pizza picture in its memory which you might have eaten in the past and associates the photo picture with it. Hence, although we may be rational human beings and like to use our cerebral (thinking) brain but most of the times are fooled by the automatic images of the reptilian brain which “fools” the mammalian (emotional) brain to re-direct the power to it instead of the cerebral “thinking” brain.

Sex is one of the things which is controlled by the reptilian brain. God perhaps made it that way because the continuation of our entire species depends on it. It is only when two persons are bonded in a physical relationship that the next generation comes into being. Hence, the physical attraction of sex has to be very strong. If it were left to the thinking brain than a situation might have arisen when many people would have opted out of having sex which would then threaten the very existence of our species. Therefore, the Creator, in His own wisdom, made sex a part of the very powerful reptilian brain so that it becomes a very controlling force for any living creature to actually avoid it which will than insure the very existence of any species.

Also, there are certain very powerful indigenously manufactured chemicals which the brain releases during “love making”. They are the pleasure, bonding, calming, soothing chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, norepinephrine which the brain releases during sex which makes a person feel happy, pleasurable, excited, bonded, natural prosaic and makes the memory of that stored in their brain. When sex is had between husband and wife these chemicals become the “loving four” chemicals while when sex is had outside that i.e. adultery, porn, rape then these same chemicals become the “dangerous four”. These are very powerful brain chemicals and the reason behind most addictions including those related to drugs, tobacco, porn etc.


Now, let us understand the functioning of these brain layers, brain chemicals and perhaps the biggest social menace – sexual abuse and rape. When a male / female observes an attractive handsome / beautiful person of the opposite sex – the person unconsciously would get some kind of immediate sexual attraction / arousal. This is because the reptilian brain which stores the images and pictures and not in our active control immediately flashes backs some kind of image / picture of any person of the opposite sex which the person under question might have seen etc in the past and then he / she relates that picture to the person whom he/ she is currently viewing which in turn leads to some kind of excitement / arousal / interest in the person and upto here is natural, unconscious and uncontrollable. From now onwards what happens within the 3 brains is most important. The picture from the reptilian brain then goes to the mammalian brain which is the emotional brain which then attaches the joy of what it had or can experience with the person of the opposite sex in the past and at the same time it also experiences the fear of doing something wrong etc. The cerebral (thinking) brain is all the while saying that it should just keep quite and not proceed any further because it is wrong – however the cerebral brain is the weakest of the three unless the other two brains have relinquished their power in its favour. Now, in the majority of us, the mammalian (emotional) brain will not heed to the reptilian brain and give the power to the cerebral (thinking) brain and hence the person will sit quietly. However, in few persons, the mammalian brain will give the power to the reptilian brain which in turn will lead the person to do some wrong act like rape although his cerebral brain had been all the while stating that it is wrong. Further, in a normal person the thinking is in a wide perspective but when he gets sexually aroused then due to the release of those “natural drugs” like dopamine, norepinephrine, testosterone, oxytocin and serotonin the thinking becomes narrowly focused only on the sexual arousal to the exclusion of other thoughts like social values, Government laws, family, work etc.

So, whatever is the phase of life, the problem happens with over-active reptilian brain and a weak mammalian brain. Hence, the key to succeed is to slowdown our reptilian (non-thinking) brain, have a very strong mammalian (emotional) brain so that it can re-direct the power to our cerebral (thinking) brain.

These are some useful tips which will help a person slow down its mammalian brain and redirect the power to the cerebral (thinking) brain:

  • Learn to delay gratification: If you want to buy a new dress or ornament or any other item don’t just rush to buy it. Think over it, ponder over it for some time and then take a rational decision. Also, every morning when we get up, with all the modern technology and gadgets, its become an addiction that even before brushing we rush to check our smart phones, tablets etc. Just avoid it. When you get up, take some fresh air, admire nature, delay the impulses of checking your emails and messages. These simple acts are actually powerful and will go a long way in taming the Mammalian brain.
  • Control your eating: In the modern fast food age, eating has also become an addiction. Try to control your food habits, particularly the intake of sugary and junk food. This will help you in slowing down your emotional brain and making your thinking brain stronger.
  • Stop watching porn or any unhealthy sexual behavior: Porn is known to be the drug of the new generation. It is available almost freely, discretely, easily and at any point of time. Porn creates a kind of illusion in the brain of the viewer and releases the same brain chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and norepinephrine which are released in a healthy sexual relationship. Consumption of porn is related to altering the reward paths of the brain. Sooner or later, a porn addict would like to “act out” what they have been watching on screen. It’s not that all porn addicts are rapists but all rapists are most probably addicted to porn.
  • Practice Breathing: This is one of the most important aspects which will help a person fight any addiction – sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco etc. The only natural act performed by the reptilian brain which is in some human control is “breathing”. Yes, breathing is a natural thing required for the survival of any living organism. However, breathing is the only natural function which is in some control of humans. Learn to practice breathing. Slightly imagine the things which makes you addict in your mind (sex, alcohol, tobacco etc) and then notice your pulse rate going up. Now, immediately slowly breathe in for 10 seconds, hold your breath for 10 seconds and then breathe out of 10 seconds. Repeat this for 10 times. Your pulse rate would have come down. Now, imagine all the good things which will happen if you leave your addiction like having a nice family, success in career or studies, respect in society, spiritual progress etc. This exercise will tame your reptilian brain and teach your emotional brain than whenever there is any danger situation then it has to redirect the power to your cerebral or thinking brain. 


Men who fail to win woman’s heart by love, try to forcefully damage her body by rape but they miserably fail at that also as they are unable to touch her soul. Men should want to win a woman’s heart by love and not her body by force. Let us educate and teach men that women are to be loved and not raped.

Psychologists say that more often than not, rape is less about the sex and more about power. Victims can be old grandmothers, small children, even people who are physically ugly and not sexually attractive in any way; they all can be rape victims. Even when an attractive person is raped, it is still very much linked to power and ego- the rapist, who cannot be with that person in a normal way, it trying to exert power and have what they want, glorifying his ego - regardless of the victim's wishes. So, we must ask ourselves this question: what is the perpetrator feeling powerless about, that they feel the need to express it in such a violent and hurtful way? There may be many factors in their life that make them feel powerless: lack of money, not being respected in society/family, problems at work, not achieving dreams, and so on. That is of course no excuse for their behaviour, but we should try and get to the root of the problem and address it there to bring about real change. Just looking at the symptoms will not relieve the society of any ill; it is the cause that must be treated.

Very often, people who are angry are hurt somewhere inside, and the anger is a way of crying out for love. Unfortunately, that very anger pushes love away from them, and that is a lesson they have to learn in this life. For example, a child who is constantly screaming and throwing tantrums is usually just asking for love and attention. However, even a mother who loves the child greatly, gets tired of incessant screaming. I read something beautiful recently: A wise doctor once said: "There is nothing that cannot be treated with care and love". Someone asked: "What if it does not work?" The doctor smiled and said, “increase the dose”.

There is a question we as society should ask ourselves: what is causing so many people to be sexually perverted in our society? I don't know if Indian society has the guts to face the truth today, but one day, it will have to. The truth is that sex is a very strong drive. The lack of joyful sex can literally drive a society mad. In men, the unhappiness expresses itself as violence and abusive behaviour. In women, it gets expressed as nagging, and often redirecting the suppressed energy on other things such as shopping sprees, eating junk or sugar cravings or excessive attention towards children. There are men and women who are terribly unhappy in life - emotionally, mentally and sexually. Society is sick, and it needs to admit this before it can undertake the journey to healing.

Let all men realize the inner functioning of their brain and what makes them weak during dangerous situations so that they can take rational positive decisions and avoid causing substantial damage to the opposite person, to the society, their families and also to their ownselves.


Live and let live.

5 comments:

  1. Its true there are lots of criminal activity held by the criminals robbery, snatching, rape, murder, we have to do something to stop this type of activities.
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