Rape and Ritual: A Psychological Study


157 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-919123-09-0





Reviewed by P.J. Kemp

P.J. Kemp was a journalist living in Brigham, Quebec.


Rape is a crime much on people’s minds of late, as women become virtual prisoners in their homes to avoid attack and possible mutilation and murder, and men increasingly are presented with evidence that even the best of them could find themselves participating in this spreading violence. Always, the question is “Why?” It’s a question Te Paske explores through psychological, and particularly Jungian, concepts, beginning with brief profiles of both perpetraton and victim, then moving on to consider various other psychological theories, the archetypal background of rape, the homosexual aspect, and correspondences between the act of rape and mythological and religious meanings of rape.

For whatever reason, the rapist’s personality has failed to integrate properly, so he sees himself in continual opposition to the feminine, hating and fearing everything female and trying to assuage those feelings through humiliating or even killing the object of his fear. According to Te Paske, when a man rapes, he is actually offering a “sacrifice” to his unacknowledged anima (female aspect of himself), hoping to achieve a spiritual as well as physical union with the feminine in Nature. It’s because man feels an overwhelming drive to join with the feminine, to be integrated, and yet doesn’t know the origin of that urge or the subtleties of it, that he is incited to violent action — the stronger and more insistent the drive, the greater the violence.

The hypothesis of Te Paske’s study is all very well up to a point, but there are serious objections which naturally arise. Presumably if a man is driven to unite with the feminine, don’t women also find it as necessary to unite with the masculine? And presuming they do, why is there not the corresponding phenomenon of physical violence perpetrated by women against men? An even more serious problem is that a reader must unquestioningly accept Jungian concepts of archetype and anima; if not, the whole body of the treatise falls apart because there is no sound structure to support it. To believe Te Paske’s conclusions one must be predominantly dualist, with all that that implies about hide-bound categorization, definition, and even prejudice — which are the constant goads to the sexual war to begin with.

Rape and Ritual isvaluable and scholarly within its own small sphere, but it has absolutely nothing to say to either perpetrator or victim of the crime of rape, nor to those who want to do something to stop it. A program of rehabilitation for the criminal as suggested by Te Paske could have any result at all only with the intelligent, the well-educated, the articulate — which the majority of rapists characteristically are not. Te Paske has actually clarified nothing, but rather obfuscated an issue already overburdened with grievous misunderstanding and incomprehension.


Te Paske, Bradley A., “Rape and Ritual: A Psychological Study,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/39007.