ALL SERIAL KILLERS, almost without exception, are severely sexually abused as children. The kind of people who hijack a plane with innocent people and drive it into a building with thousands of other innocent people are related to this phenomenon.
When sociopaths rape and kill, they do not see their victims as human beings, but only as objects. This is because the sociopaths were themselves, at one time, used as objects – as their bodily integrity was repeatedly violated. The rage that results from sexual abuse is one thing, but when combined with living in a dysfunctional culture of sexual repression and misogyny, where love is reduced to violent domination, it is quite another.
Throughout the Islamic Middle East, men and women are taught to be vehemently opposed to pleasure, especially of the sexual variety. Men are raised not only forbidden to touch women, but to even look at them. Sex before marriage is not just a sin -- but a criminal offence. It is punishable by a severe beating at best, and an execution at worst.
The sexual privileges that are allowed in Islamic cultures are permitted to men. Women’s sexuality and social independence represent major threats to male supremacy and are tightly controlled. Thus, as the Moroccan feminist Fitna Sabbah reveals in her book Woman in the Muslim Unconscious, there is a disturbing conflict in the Middle East between sexual libido and repression. A deep-seated fear of, and hostility to, individuality prevails, and its main expression exists in misogyny.
Socially segregated from women, Arab men succumb to homosexual behavior. But, interestingly enough, there is no word for "homosexual" in their culture in the modern Western sense. That is because having sex with boys, or with effeminate men, is seen as a social norm. Males serve as available substitutes for unavailable women. The male who does the penetrating, meanwhile, is not emasculated any more than if he had sex with a wife. The male who is penetrated is emasculated. The boy, however, is not, since it is rationalized that he is not yet a man.
In this culture, males sexually penetrating males becomes a manifestation of male power, conferring a status of hyper-masculinity. It is considered to have nothing to do with homosexuality. An unmarried man who has sex with boys is simply doing what men do. As the scholar Bruce Dunne has demonstrated, sex in Islamic societies is not about mutuality between partners, but about the adult male's achievement of pleasure through violent domination.
There is silence around this issue. It is the silence that legitimizes sexual violence against women, such as honor crimes and female circumcision. It is also the silence that forces victimized Arab boys into invisibility. Even though the society does not see their sexual exploitation as being humiliating, the psychological and emotional scars that result from their subordination, powerlessness and humiliation is a given. Traumatized by the violation of their dignity and manliness, they spend the rest of their lives trying to get it back.
The problem is that trying to recover from sexual abuse, and to recapture one’s own shattered masculinity, is quite an ordeal in a culture where women are hated and love is interpreted as hegemonic control.
With women out of touch – and out of sight -- until marriage, males experience pre-marital sex only in the confines of being with other males. Their sexual outlet mostly includes victimizing younger males – just the way they were victimized.
In all of these circumstances, the idea of love is removed from men's understanding of sexuality. Like the essence of Arab masculinity, it is reduced to hurting others by violence. A gigantic rupture develops between men and women, where no harmony, affection or equality is allowed to exist. In relationships between men, meanwhile, affection, solidarity and empathy are left out of the picture. They threaten the hyper-masculine order.
It is excruciating to imagine the sexual confusion, humiliation, and repression that evolve in the mindsets of males in this culture. But it is no surprise that many of these males find their only avenue for gratification in the act of humiliating the foreign "enemy," whose masculinity must be violated at all costs – as theirs once was.
Violating the masculinity of the enemy necessitates the dishing out of severe violence against him. In the recent terrorist strikes, therefore, violence against Americans served as a much-needed release of the terrorists’ bottled-up sexual rage. Moreover, it served as a desperate and pathological testament of the re-masculinization of their emasculated selves.