Rape: A Crime without Justice

Rape is a world issue playing out in neighborhood communities, places of worship and even countries ravaged by war. It is a crime that almost everyone knows about, but too many people feel helpless to effectively stand against.

by M. J. Joachim
Rape, a crime of opportunity, oppression and power, is a worldwide epidemic known for dehumanizing victims in multiple ways. According to RAIIN (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network), more than ½ of all victims of sexual assault never report being attacked, and “15 of 16 rapists will never spend a day in jail.” Clearly, these implications indicate that rapists are powerful criminals, capable of wreaking astronomical havoc in society.

The crime of rape is not confined to any particular geographical location. It leaves its mark everywhere, and is a crime which according to numerous resources, is significantly under reported and (too many times) handled insensitively by authorities. "No other crime is treated more poorly by the criminal justice system than rape," states the Women's Justice Center. Rape is a world issue playing out in neighborhood communities, places of worship and even countries ravaged by war. It is a crime that almost everyone knows about, but too many people feel helpless to effectively stand against. Consequently, more than 50% of all victims remain silent and do not report being raped, rather than accusing their attackers for the vile assault against them.

Rape and Trust: A Double Edged Sword

One of the reasons rape victims are not always taken seriously, is because the crime is much more subtle, personal and intrusive than the way it is depicted in society. Rape, while being an extremely violent crime, stereotyped by violent criminals and 'cloak and dagger' scenarios, most commonly takes place between people who know each other. According to Victims of Violence, "Rape is most likely to occur, not with a stranger, but with someone you know and trust." Most rape victims, therefore, have a double edged sword to contend with: being victimized by a violent crime, as well as overcoming the broken bonds of trust which were already established in the relationship. 

Research overwhelmingly reveals rapes perpetrated by someone the victim knows are less likely to be reported, investigated and prosecuted, because they are too often dismissed as poor judgment, misinterpretation and lack of effective communication between those involved in the encounter. A Harvard study sheds light on this issue, "Evidence of multiple offenses by these undetected rapists would tend to further underscore the similarities between incarcerated and undetected rapists, and support a more vigorous justice response to these cases."

Common Characteristics of Rapists

Forensic psychologists confirm four distinctly different rapist profiles, each of which depicts a unique perpetrator, variable motives and contrasting methods to carry out their crimes. Whether a victim knows her attacker or not, these profiles categorize rapists by common characteristics, and attempt to provide prospective rape victims with some necessary tools for survival. While forensic psychologists acknowledge that some rapes are crimes of opportunity, most rapes fall into categories of power and anger.

Power-reassurance Rapist

Characteristics:  needs to feel masculine, social ineptitude, doesn't intend to harm or degrade, threatens with power (weapon or physical force), courteous and gentlemanly

Dealing with the power-assurance rapist requires finesse. Victims should express their emotions and tap into his. They should be kind and understanding, responding favorably to the rapist polite manners.

Power-assertive Rapist

Characteristics:  expresses sense of entitlement, blames victim, egocentric and proud of manhood, victim is object, forceful, degrading and cruel

Fight like hell to get away from the power-assertive rapist. This rapist has no problem subduing victims by force. Victims need to scream and get people to notice what is happening to them. 

Anger-retaliation Rapist

Characteristics: extreme temper, abhors women, punishes victims, absolutely brutal (often causing victims hospitalization), tyrannical

Victims of the anger-retaliation rapist need to be submissive, and do everything within their power to prevent him from getting angry. Sadly, victims need to allow the anger-retaliating rapist to rape them, and do their best to minimize his punishment against them. 

Anger-excitation Rapist

Characteristics:  charismatic, smart, manipulative, sexual deviant, gets off on pain and suffering of victims, extremely dangerous, selfish, stalks victims, practices rape before acting on it (premeditation), often kills victims, documents details

Victims need to rely on instincts, pray and submit to the anger-excitation rapist.

Opportunity Rapist 

Opportunity rape is often a crime of convenience and impulse. The rapist is likely to be high on drugs or drunk, and unable to control his sexual urges. Statistics indicate that another crime is usually in progress, when an opportunist rapist attacks his victim. 

Victims need to surmise the situation, trust their instincts and determine what, if any action to take. Opportunist rapists may exhibit traits correlating with each of the above rapist profiles listed. Responses of victims will vary.

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©2011, 2012 All Rights Reserved Teresa DePoy