A Snapshot of Serial Rape: An Investigation of Criminal Sophistication and Use of Force on Victim Injury and Severity of the Assault

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4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior research on rapes reported to law enforcement has identified criminal sophistication and the use of force against the victim as possible unique identifiers to serial rape versus one-time rape. This study sought to contribute to the current literature on reported serial rape by investigating how the level of criminal sophistication of the rapist and use of force used were associated with two important outcomes of rape: victim injury and overall severity of the assault. In addition, it was evaluated whether rapist and victim ethnicity affected these relationships. A nation-wide sample of serial rape cases reported to law enforcement collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was analyzed (108 rapists, 543 victims). Results indicated that serial rapists typically used a limited amount of force against the victim and displayed a high degree of criminal sophistication. In addition, the more criminally sophisticated the perpetrator was, the more sexual acts he performed on his victim. Finally, rapes between a White rapist and White victim were found to exhibit higher levels of criminal sophistication and were more severe in terms of number and types of sexual acts committed. These findings provide a more in-depth understanding of serial rape that can inform both academics and practitioners in the field about contributors to victim injury and severity of the assault.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-619
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Keywords

  • criminal sophistication
  • force
  • serial rape
  • severity of assault
  • victim injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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