Meet the Predators: review of Lisak/Miller and McWhorter
Title: Meet the Predators
First, the stranger-force rape is a small proportion of rapes, and is all but absent from the samples of self-reporters. Other research** shows that lack of prior acquaintance and use of the weapon are the only significant factors that increase the likelihood that a victim will report the offense. Attacking strangers with force or weapons is the only pattern of victimization at all likely to lead to incarceration of the rapist, let’s face it — so those who commit rape in the way that follows the script may be already in jail, not in college or the Navy filling out surveys. The rapists who are out there are mostly using intoxication, and mostly attacking victims they know.
Second, the sometimes-floated notion that acquaintance rape is simply a mistake about consent, is wrong. (See Amanda Hess’s excellent takedown here.) The vast majority of the offenses are being committed by a relatively small group of men, somewhere between 4% and 8% of the population, who do it again … and again … and again. That just doesn’t square with the notion of innocent mistake. Further, since the repeaters are also responsible for a hugely disproportionate share of the intimate partner violence, child beating and child sexual abuse, the notion that these predators are somehow confused good guys does not square with the data. Most of the raping is done by guys who like to rape, and to abuse, assault and violate. If we could get the one-in-twelve or one-in-25 repeat rapists out of the population (that is a lot of men — perhaps six or twelve million men in the U.S. alone) or find a way to stop them from hurting others, most sexual assault, and a lot of intimate partner violence and child abuse, would go away. Really.