Rapist Types and Methods of Avoidance


Power Rapists – Goal to Humiliate


q       Power Reassurance (a.k.a. “gentleman rapist,” opportunity rapist, compensatory)


q       Motivation

§         Insecure

§         To possess, not harm

§         Feels inadequacy with women – much self-doubt

§         Restore self-confidence

§         Confirmation of manhood – ensure she enjoyed it

§         Often done in conjunction with another crime

q       The Attack

§         Method of Approach

·         Blitz

·         Peeping Tom’s (to pre-select victim)

§         Method of Attack

·         Mainly verbal

·         Threat of weapon, but often without having one, and any use of weapon will be one of opportunity

·         7-15 day cycle (biological clock)

q       Behavior

§         Verbal

·         Often socially awkward

·         Reassures victim’s safety

·         Will often attempt to instigate the victim to talk dirty to him, but he will rarely speak obscenely

·         Complimentary

·         Apologetic/expression of guilt

o       “I won’t hurt you, I just want sex”

o       “I want you to enjoy this, I’m sorry, I want anal sex, grab the lubricant because I don’t want to hurt you too much”

o       “I’m sorry I don’t know why but I had to do this, tell me if I hurt you but do as I say because if you don’t it might hurt”

o       “If you cooperate I will be your boyfriend, you are beautiful”

§         Sexual

·         Attempts foreplay

·         Involves victim in sexual activity

·         Generally does not engage in alternate sexual practices, and if does, apologize to victim

·         Often asks the victim to undress herself, like in a relationship

·         Low aggression exhibited

·         Unselfish

§         Physical

·         Does not cause unnecessary harm

·         Relies on threat of weapon for compliance

§         Modus Operandi (MO)

·         Non-lethal

·         Unorganized

·         Selects victim in advance

·         Victim in close proximity of rapist

·         Attack for short period of time; longer with more compliance

§         Signature

·         Contacts victim post attack

·         Records attack

·         Takes personal items from victim

·         Often believes the experience was pleasurable for the victim

§         Personal Information

·         Average education level is 10th grade

·         Most often single and living with one or both parents

·         Few friends and no sex partner

·         Aggressive and possibly seductive mother

·         Menial occupation; steady worker

·         May be a transvestite, voyeuristic, exhibitionist, fetishist

·         Interested in pornography

·         Often unathletic and socially awkward

q       Methods of Avoidance

§         Will tend to terminate the rape if victim resists

§         Most likely of all rapists to be dissuaded if scream, cry, plead, or fight

§         Could be dealing with power assertive rapist starting off with softer approach – do not want to upset that rapist type

§         Start off with nonviolent tactics – crying, pleading, praying aloud – if he becomes verbally abusive, you do not have a power reassurance rapist

§         If you can attack his conscience, or his weak point, the better luck for avoiding the rape

§         Do not attempt to “talk him out of it” – he will interpret that as your enjoying it, like in a relationship – you must use more angry and shocking tactics

§         With this type of rapist, fight; although he will occasionally have a weapon, it is generally an empty threat and he will not want to deal with an overly resistant victim


q       Power Assertive (a.k.a. entitlement, exploitative, can be a “date rapist”)


q       Motivation

§         Insecure, but comes across to have no self-doubt

§         To possess, not harm, but harm often occurs

§         Feels inadequate with women – overactive ego

§         Restore self-confidence

§         Confirmation of manhood – rapes because he is a man and entitled to

§         Express virility and personal dominance

q       The Attack

§         Method of Approach

·         Con

·         Blitz

§         Method of Attack

·         Mainly verbal threats

·         Control, mastery, humiliation

·         Force with a weapon, but often only to ensure cooperation

·         20–25-day cycle

q       Behavior

§         Verbal

·         Often socially competent

·         Desires little victim interaction; rapist’s pleasure in primary

·         Stereotypically known as “macho”

·         Use of obscene language

·         Explicit sexually; demanding

o       “I want you on top, play with yourself”

o       “I can give you the wildest sex of your life”

o       “You have sex written all over your face”

§         Sexual

·         Goal is capture, conquer, and control

·         Often repeatedly attacks single victim

·         Sexually punishes by pulling, pinching, biting

·         Bondage often employed

·         Similar with anger retaliatory – goal is to humiliate victim

·         Selfish

§         Physical

·         Moderate to high aggression exhibited

·         Rips clothing in order to intimidate

·         Use of force to gain compliance, especially with resistance

§         MO

·         Non-lethal goal, but death can occur due to brutality employed

·         Tends to be unorganized as has little control over impulses, but weaponry planning can show organization

·         Victim selected in advance at times, but often opportunistic

·         Finds victim often at single bar locations

·         Selects safe location, victim dependent; often transports victim to assault location

§         Signature

·         Victim held captive during rape

·         Risky – zero respect

·         Desire to control sexually

·         Desire to leave victim physically and emotionally traumatized

§         Personal Information

·         69% raised in single-parent family

·         74% physically abused as a child

·         High school dropout

·         Serial marriages – has existing consistent sex partner

·         Dishonorable discharge from the military

·         Domestic problems (in attempt to validate macho image)

·         Frequents single bars

·         Image conscious

·         Masculine type job – construction, police officer

·         Often athletic

q       Methods of Avoidance

§         Begging and crying ineffectual

§         If you’re going to resist, scream and fight violently, but realize that when you do so, they will get more and more angry

§         The rapist’s manhood is in question and to be aggressive to him is showing that is isn’t coming off as strong or manly enough

§         Still, compared with other rapist types (because he is not an anger rapist) trying to escape might be worth it as the punishment if caught is not generally death

§         Keep in mind that his goal is to humiliate, not to torture

§         You must be smart if you try to escape

§         If you choose to not try to escape, try to anger him as little as possible to increase your chance of survival


Anger Rapists – Goal to Torture


q       Anger Retaliatory (a.k.a. displaced anger)


o         Motivation

§         Rage towards one person/punish women expressing his rage

§         Often misdirected impulses of hatred toward random victim

§         Sometimes in name of politics or religion, but in general it’s a crusade to hurt women who have hurt him

§         Believes self-importance is most important

o         The Attack

§         Method of Approach

·         Blitz

§         Method of Attack

·         Brutal and violent initially, using sex as the weapon

·         Weapon (e.g., explosives)

·         6 months–year cycle

o         Behavior

§         Verbal

·         Selfish

·         Not negotiable

·         Blames victim for their unfortunate life

·         Extremely angry; displaces anger onto victim

·         Obscene language

o       “This is what is going to happen if you ever think about leaving me”

o       “I will kill your new boyfriend”

o       “Where is your boyfriend now?”

§         Sexual

·         No foreplay

·         Selfish

·         Violent – extension of physical attack

·         Forces acts to humiliate victim – “This rapist may rape his victim anally and then force her to perform oral sex on him immediately afterward. Following oral sex, he may ejaculate on her face in a further attempt to degrade her”

§         Physical

·         Rips clothing

·         Prepares for the rape (dressing in military fatigues, police uniform)

·         Excessive brutality – much injury

§         MO

·         Often lethal

·         Tends to be unorganized, but is organized in process

·         Stranger attack; unplanned and emotional

·         Victim population planned; symbolizes whom/what offender hates

·         Seeks women of his own race and age group, sometimes older

·         Depending on level of organization, weaponry can be extensive

§         Signature

·         Offender sees their own life as a message to others

·         Attack is short and emotional; experiences satisfaction once anger discharged

·         Short period of time – diffuses anger and escapes, generally leaving body if victim is killed

§         Personal Information

·         On average, completed 9th grade education

·         Physical harm before sexual harm

·         Often drug/alcohol abuser

·         Socially competent; likely to be married and does not assault wife

·         Tends to be an adulterer

·         Comes from unhealthy home, with more than half having been abused by parents.

·         80% come from a divorced home; more than half spent time in foster care

·         Athletic and masculine self-image

o         Methods of Avoidance

§         Any resistance may enrage him

§         Not looking to kill you, but the beating could be fatal – more so than either of the power rapists

§         Do not challenge or enrage – try to escape or incapacitate rapist

§         If not trying to escape, try to limit the level of violence

§         Pick a path and stick with it – either try to outsmart the rapist or be highly compliant. The reasoning for this is that that the rapist is of such a violent nature and has a low frequency of between crimes, so the anger he possesses resembles someone else to him and tends to be highly volatile. A victim must choose her path cautiously and must not act on a whim because he will have zero tolerance for erratic behavior.


q       Anger Excitation (a.k.a. sadistic)


o         Motivation

§         Sexual gratification from victim’s suffering

§         Control, physical aggression, torture

§         Often similar victims, reflecting something the rapist wants to destroy

§         Sexual-aggressive fantasies

§         To inflict physical and psychological pain on victims – with the goal to kill the victims

o         The Attack

§         Method of Approach

·         Con

§         Method of Attack

·         Physical force

·         Weapons (e.g., rape kit)

·         Difficult to predict, but those with a pattern show a 30-day cycle

o         Behavior

§         Verbal

·         Initially charming and intelligent

·         Gains trust through planned con

·         Hostile language more than profane language

·         Extreme mood swings during encounter, if long encounter

·         Demands to be called certain names during attack (usually to establish dominance–submission relationship)

·         Asks victim if inflicting pain for self-gratification

·         Humiliates through torture; professing victim’s meaninglessness

o       “Keep your voice down or I will kill you”

o       “You’re going to earn it you bitch, stop your whining, if you don’t shut up I’ve got a knife”

o       “Shut up bitch, don’t move and it will not hurt”

o       “Do you like that, bitch?”

§         Sexual

·         Owns extensive pornography collection, typically involving bondage

·         Excited by victim’s emotional/physical pain

·         Rehearses, possibly with compliant victim

·         Bondage usage; bizarre ritualistic quality

·         Insertion of objects into vagina/penis/anus, often no usage of perpetrator’s digit; biting – whatever will cause the most pain

·         Rough anal sex followed by oral sex is common

·         Records attack – videos, photographs, journals

·         Souvenirs of types – panties, jewelry

·         Selfish

§         Physical

·         Tie, gag, blindfold – less to control but to terrify

·         Brutal and prolonged pain over long period of time

·         Fetishes – body parts mutilated (e.g., necrophilia)

·         Injury increases with anger

§         MO

·         Lethal

·         Organized

·         Opportunistic in victim selection

·         Authority positions; easily trusted

·         Plans all details (con, pick-up, attack in comfort zone, disposal)

·         Methodically murdered – highly ritualistic

·         Victim type – vulnerable, seducible, nonaggressive, low self-esteem

·         Aggression increases with each attack

·         Disposes of victim (this is the offender type most likely to hide the victim’s body)

§         Signature

·         Special instruments to attack

·         Sexual aspect predominant – eroticized sex and violence

·         Portrays themselves as caring

·         Victim always a stranger

·         Long attack, ranging from hours to days

·         Rapist often mildly intoxicated during act

§         Personal Information

·         Often will lead a secret life – married, middle-class family man, white-collar occupation, etc.

·         Intellectual – some college education

·         Drugs/alcohol commonly present

·         Often have antisocial personalities

·         Aggressive in everyday life (job type, etc.) – often obsessive-compulsive

·         More than half were raised in single-parent home

·         More than half have divorced parents

·         More than were physically abused

·         May have been raised in sexually deviant home


o         Methods of Avoidance

§         Most criminally sophisticated

§         Escape or resistance is generally out of question

§         If tied up, you will have to attempt to match wits with the rapist and attempt to trick him to untie you to have some chance of escape

§         Injury increases with his heightened anger, so you must resist cleverly. 

§         If you are lucky enough to not be unconscious from the start, you must attempt anything to try to avoid his anger

§         Murder is generally the end result – you must do what you can to escape somehow.  Do not give in.




Holmes, R. M., & Holmes, S. T. (2002). Psychological profiling and rape. In R. M. Holmes, & S. T. Holmes, Profiling violent crimes: An investigative tool (3rd ed.). (pp. 139–157). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Ressler, R. K., Burgess, A. W., & Douglas, J. E. (2004). Rape and rape murder; one offender and twelve victims. In J. H. Campbell & D. DeNevi (Eds.), Profilers: Leading investigators take you inside the criminal mind (pp. 123–132). Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.


On the Web: http://www.csbsju.edu/uspp/CrimPsych/CPSG-5.htm


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