Psychological profile of the rapist: 12 traits in common
In February 2015, a young university student was murdered in Turkey after resisting sexual assault. His body was found burned. Not long ago there was a wave of rapes against children in India, many of which later appeared dead. In many African countries, many women are raped with the intention of transmitting fear to the local population .
These and numerous other cases are examples of situations in which the maintenance of sexual relations has been forced, that is, cases in which a violation has been committed. And there is no need to go so far to find cases: A known case within our borders occurred during the past year when a young girl was raped by several individuals during the San Fermín festivities.
It is not an infrequent phenomenon: only in our country, it is estimated that a woman is raped every eight hours. That is why from psychology and other sciences has tried to develop a psychological profile of the rapist, finding common features that allow work on the elements that can lead to sexual assault. In this article we are going to try to find a series of twelve traits in common between rapists and we will see the psychological patterns that constitute the profile of the rapist .
- Related article: "Psychopathy: what happens in the mind of the psychopath?"
What do we call rape?
While we all know roughly what we are talking about when we hear the word rape, understanding something is a necessary step in finding ways to make it not repeated, so conceptualizing the term rape is a useful step in understanding what a rapist does and why. be able to identify their psychological profile.
It is understood as a violation that aggression of a sexual nature through which an individual has sexual intercourse without consent with another. These relationships are carried out in direct opposition to the victim of aggression, using coercion, force or elements that cloud the victim's judgment, such as drugs. While it is generally thought that rape includes penetration, this is not necessarily the case.
In addition to this, rape is considered the carnal act with subjects who do not have sufficient understanding or judgment to assess the situation (such as people with mental deficiencies or problems that cloud their ability to judge, minors or even beings of other animal species ) or that are not in a position to make clear their position in this regard (people who are asleep, in a coma or drugged).
Most rapes are carried out by men, although there are also cases in which the aggressors are women. Although there are cases in which the victim is an adult male (whether male or female aggressor), the victims are usually women, people with physical or psychological difficulties or minors. It is also frequent that the rapist knows the victim beforehand It is not strange that it belongs to the family or to the nearby circle.
The main consequences of sexual assault
If the rape is lived with violence, it is common for the victim to avoid situations and places that remind him of the event, as well as flashbacks, depressive and dissociative symptoms and other symptoms, being one of the most frequent and studied reasons for stress disorder. post-traumatic
In many cases this causes the attacked person to be afraid to report the abuse, either because he resists accepting what he has lived, or because he considers that he will not be understood or even that he will be blamed for the situation.
That is why social awareness and psychological work is necessary in relation to preventing, detecting and treating cases of rape or other aggressions (fortunately more and more cases report their aggressors).
Types of sexual aggressor
Once we understand the concept of violation, we can go on to try define a psychological profile common to all rapists .
However, the different studies and experts who have dealt with the issue have encountered a problem: there is a very wide diversity of reasons and ways by which a subject decides to force another to maintain relationships. Some types of sexual aggressors are the following.
1. Circumstantial, casual or opportunistic rapist
These are subjects who use a situation or event in order to make the violation . It is the case of violations during parties and events. It is not usually aggressions planned in advance.
It is possible that they act under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or that they take advantage of the fact that the victim has consumed them to act and force the consummation of the sexual act.
2. Explosive rapist
This type of rapist seeks to subdue his victim as a result of a violent impulse of domination . It has the objective of carrying out a sexual assault, being indifferent who is the victim. For him, rape is clearly an act of power and violence, and not so much a sexual one (although this also occurs in the rest of the types of rapists, although not in such an obvious way).
3. Furious rapist
This subject uses rape as an act of punishment against someone whom he considers a representative of the gender , social or collective group that has produced some type of damage (real or imaginary). That is, he experiences the violation through a clear bias based on stereotypes and sometimes political content.
4. Violator in search of trust or compensation
It is a type of rapist who has a distorted perception of the relationship between the aggressor and the aggressed . The aggressor believes that his performance will make the victim enjoy and bring the person object of their desire closer, and may establish a romantic relationship.
4. Sadistic rapist
In this type of individuals a link between sexual arousal and aggressiveness is observed . The initiation of an interaction that the subject considers exciting can cause the aggressiveness of the subject to increase and experience aggressive impulses towards his victim, forcing it. It is not infrequent that they present antisocial disorder and paraphilia known as sexual sadism, and that in the case of rape is expressed directly, without filters.
6. Violation as a control mechanism
Some violations are carried out with an independent purpose of the sexual satisfaction and power of the aggressor. This is the case of some systematic violations carried out during wars, in which Sexual assault is used as a method of humiliation and control of the population and to diminish the morale of the enemy country. It is a strategic use of this type of violence, thanks to which objectives can be achieved beyond this action in itself.
The rapist's profile and its characteristics
Although it is true that due to the high diversity of variables that influence the perpetration of an act of this type, it is not possible to speak of a single rapist profile, it is possible to locate a series of variables that do not apply in all cases. Cases are very common among different types of sex offenders.
It is important to highlight it: there is not a single prototype of violated r , and the following characteristics, although they may be common, do not identify all violators.
1. They do not have to have a strange personality
Most people do not commit rape. This may suggest that a typical rapist profile must be that of someone with enormous particularities, characteristics that most people do not have and that make them, on a day to day basis, lonely and without normal contact with society. Although in some concrete case this can be true, in general this is not true.
A great majority of violations are carried out by subjects with a personality within the "normal" and that they have friends, family and work. In fact many of them are people with a couple, with whom they usually maintain relations in a conventional manner.
2. Power, not sex
One of the most common characteristics of most rapists is that the real purpose of their action is not to obtain sexual gratification.
Mostly, people who commit rape knowing what they are doing are looking for and are attracted to the idea of exercising domination , to make other people do something against their will and obeying the aggressor's interest. In other words, in a violation what is sought is not only sex, but also and especially what is sought is the exercise of power.
3. They tend to look for victims they consider weakest
While there have been cases in which the victim is someone physically stronger than the aggressor, As a general rule, individuals who commit sexual assault seek victims they consider physically weaker that they or those who know weak points to take advantage of.
In either case, the choice of victim is linked to the possibility of exercising power either on someone whom they believe they can submit or on someone they consider above and whom they want to see humiliated and below themselves .
4. Feelings of inferiority and vital frustration
Another element shared by most rapists is the presence of a high feeling of frustration and inferiority that can be expressed through explosions of violence.
Although they do not have to demonstrate it in most of the facets of their daily life and they can even act in an overbearing manner, these feelings of inferiority can provoke a reaction in the form of a desire to dominate the other, a desire that in some people can lead to a sexual assault .
5. Little capacity for empathy
Sexual assault occurs for whatever reason, in general rapists have a very limited or no ability to empathy. A) Yes, the sexual aggressor can not, does not care or chooses not to think about what the rape is for the victim , or that he comes to consider that the satisfaction of his desire for power and sex deserves the suffering of the victim. This is visible in many of the cases that indicate that the victim really did want to maintain relationships or that he thoroughly enjoyed the situation.
6. No anticipation of the consequences
It has been observed that many rapists never thought about what could happen after committing the act , if the case would be investigated or if they would be found and detained. This reflects a certain deficit when it comes to anticipating the consequences of their own actions, whether for themselves or for others. This factor would not be determinant for people that what they actually seek are the consequence of the act itself more than the act per se itself.
7. Possible history of abuse or learning a coercive sexuality
As with gender-based violence, many people who currently commit sexual crimes have been abused or mistreated in childhood, or have witnessed abuse of other significant family members.
This means that in the long run they can identify coercion as a normal way of proceeding , and although they know that socially is frowned upon can feel the impulse to undertake the act.
8. They consider that they have the right to commit aggression
In a large number of cases, individuals who commit violations consider that they have the right to force the victim , sometimes for cultural reasons. Thus, sexual aggressions are more frequent in people and regions where there is still a certain consideration of superiority of men before women, or they consider their needs to be above others.
9. It's not about the mentally ill
Although the typical image of a rapist is that of a psychopath or someone who suffers from a mental disorder, to consider that sexual aggressors are people with a mental disorder would be false and reductionist.
It is possible to find that some personality disorders such as antisocial can facilitate such an action and it is true that cases of rape can be found during psychotic, manic or performed by people with intellectual disabilities, but as a general rule, the sexual aggressors are able to correctly judge the situation and know what they are doing.
10. They are mostly fully imputable
A consequence of the previous point. Given that most of the subjects who commit this type of acts are fully aware that their actions are harmful and are punishable by society, usually the rapists are judicially imputable .
11. Evade responsibility
A common characteristic in many of the cases in which there is no psychopathy or psychopathology is the attempt to evade his responsibility in the act . It is common to justify the behavior for the use of substances or to pretend to suffer a psychopathology to evade punishment. At the level of information, beyond the judicial processes, it is usual to blame the victim.
12. Blame the victim
Some of the subjects who commit violations usually indicate that the fault of the situation is the victim herself . Phrases like "I was provoking", "basically I wanted to" and variants of them are frequent in sexual aggressors who have been arrested, avoiding taking charge of the situation and excusing themselves.
- Burguess, A. G .; Burguess, A.W .; Douglas, J. & Ressler, R. (1992). Crime Classification Manual. Lexington Books.
- Cáceres, J. (2001). Paraphilias and violation. Madrid: Editorial Síntesis.
- González, E .; Martínez, V .; Leyton, C. & Bardi, A. (2004). Characteristics of sexual abusers. Rev. Sogia; 1 (1): 6-14.
- Marshall, W. (2001). Sexual aggressors Studies on violence. Ed. Ariel. p. 107