Rape is often believed to be a
purely sexually motivated crime, where the offender's only objective is
sexual gratification. However, this does not seem to be the case, as rape is
more often motivated by the offender's need to displace anger toward, or
exert power over the victim. Again, rapists are often categorized into
groups based upon these motivations.
Power Reassurance (Compensatory)
This offender has fantasies that involve a consensual relationship with the
victim, and although there may be violence involved, it is more likely that
he will try to avoid doing so in order to preserve the fantasy. When victims
fight with this type of offender, he is more likely to attempt to compromise
or leave because an attacking victim has destroyed the fantasy. This type of
offender does not wish to hurt the victim, and there have been cases where
this sort of offender attempts to contact the victim after the attack.
Power Assertive (Exploitative)
This offender may have self-esteem problems and rapes the victim in order to
prove to himself that he is a man. This offender does not want the victim to
be a participant like the power reassurance rapist, as he must prove to
himself that he is able to dominate the victim. If the victim attempts to
fight with the offender, the violence will escalate to maintain the dominant
Anger Retaliatory (Displaced)
This offender is one who is punishing the victim for real or perceived
wrongs done to him early in life. For this individual, the act of rape is
justified by the fact that he is taking revenge upon those (type of victim)
who have hurt him in the past. Like the Power Assertive rapist, he may use
great violence as a means to punish or degrade the victim.
Anger Excitation (Sadistic)
This offender is the most dangerous because he is sexually excited by the
pain and suffering of his victim. He will use tremendous violence to hurt
his victim and will become angered and perhaps more violent if a victim does
not resist. This individual can be diagnosed with
using the DSM-IV(1994) criteria, and is the opposite end
of a continuum from the Power Reassurance type.
Opportunistic offenders are those who may rape a victim while committing
another crime such as burglary. This offender's primary motivation is sexual
rather than anger or power.
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Douglas, J.E., Burgess, A.W., Burgess, A.G. & Ressler, R.K. (1992). Crime
classification manual. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Groth, A.N. (1979). Men who rape: The psychology of the offender. New
York: Plenum Press.
Hazelwood, R.R., & Burgess, A.W. (Editors) (2001). Practical aspects of
rape investigation: A multidisciplinary approach. (3rd ed.) . Boca
Raton: CRC Press.