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Understanding the Predatory Nature of Sexual Violence

Title: Understanding the Predatory Nature of Sexual Violence

Link: pdf

Summary: 

There is no domain of crime and violence as fraught with misunderstanding and misconception as that of sexual violence. Perhaps the most telling indication of the degree to which sexual violence is viewed through multiple veils of myth is the following paradox: In the hierarchy of violent crimes, as measured by sentencing guidelines, rape typically ranks only second to homicide, and in some cases it ranks even higher

Such sentencing structures serve as a message from the community: “we view rape as an extremely serious crime.” At the same time, however, the number of rapes that are actually prosecuted is a tiny fraction of the number committed in any year. Between two-third’s and three quarters of all rapes are never reported to the criminal justice system, and among those that are reported, attrition at various levels dramatically reduces the number of actual prosecutions. Ultimately, only a tiny handful of rapists ever serve time for rape, a shocking outcome given that we view rape as close kin to murder in the taxonomy of
violent crime.

Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists

Title: Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists

Link: pdf

Summary: (abstract)

Pooling data from four samples in which 1,882 men were assessed for acts of interpersonal violence, we report on 120 men whose self-reported acts met legal definitions of
rape or attempted rape, but who were never prosecuted by criminal justice authorities. A
majority of these undetected rapists were repeat rapists, and a majority also committed
other acts of interpersonal violence. The repeat rapists averaged 5.8 rapes each. The 120
rapists were responsible for 1,225 separate acts of interpersonal violence, including rape,
battery, and child physical and sexual abuse. These findings mirror those from studies of
incarcerated sex offenders (Abel, Becker, Mittelman, Cunningham-Rathner, Rouleau, &
Murphy, 1987; Weinrott and Saylor, 1991), indicating high rates of both repeat rape and
multiple types of offending. Implications for the investigation and prosecution of this socalled “hidden” rape are discussed.

Meet the Predators: review of Lisak/Miller and McWhorter

Title: Meet the Predators

Link: http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

Summary:

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.