Characteristics of Perpetrators of Rape

Although perpetrators of rape seem to share a common belief system, such as hostility toward women, domineering personally, and unrealistic views of women, they often appear to be nice, polite, and charming in public. Although the majority of rapists are young and married, a rapist can be of any age, race, color, socioeconomic class, etc.

The particular style of attack to which a victim is subjected depends upon the type of rapist committing the crime. Nicholas Groth, a psychologist who has worked extensively with convicted rapists, developed a typology, which categorizes offenders into three different patterns: the anger rapist, the power rapist, and the sadistic rapist.

The Anger Rapist feels anger and rage toward the victim. He uses very abuse, dirty language. The attack is usually spontaneous as opposed to premeditated. More force is used than is necessary and if the offender has a previous record it is violent in nature. He usually rapes after and event in is personal life in which he feels he suffered an injustice. The victim experiences an explosion of rage and aggression from him and usually sustains physical injuries.

The Power Rapist is very different. He does not want to hurt the victim. Rather, he is seeking a conquest. He wants to have a woman and to control her. He always wants her to like him. He wants to "score" and is willing to use whatever means are necessary to force compliance. Thus, he is capable of hurting his victims. Power rapists often have fantasies about taking a woman by force as a way of fulfilling his fantasy. He often keeps the victim with him for hours, making normal social conversation and may even ask her for a date in the future. Power rapists are usually men who have been unsuccessful in interpersonal relationships in their lives in general. They rape to compensate for feelings of inadequacy.

The Sadistic Rapist uses brutal, violent force and usually the force is lethal. Aggression is eroticized in his mind and anger and sexuality are fused into one. The attack is premeditated. Sadistic rapists commit the most grotesque crimes. Therefore, they often get the most publicity, creating the false impression that sadistic rapes are more prevalent than other types of rape.

Three elements are present in every rape:

  • Power
  • Anger
  • Sexuality

However, most rapists do not rape out of sexual desire or to achieve sexual satisfaction. Their aim is to satisfy non-sexual needs. One of the most prevalent fallacies surrounding the crime of rape is that it is a sexual act. As long as rape is viewed this way, the victim will be unfairly blamed because she or she is cast in the role of provocateur.