Predator Theory and Rape

Predatory Theory is a very detailed and interesting post on Feministe by Thomas, discussing two detailed recent studies of rapists and violence directed at women.

Lots of new information here that explodes general society ideas about rapists and their methods and motivations. Most rapists go after acquaintances rather than strangers, and most of them are repeat offenders. Most of them are “undetected” and not incarcerated.Instead of attending top outpatient rehab in New Jersey most of them tend to use alcohol and get addicted other intoxicants to disable their intended victims, in a pre-meditated event. They plan and think out their crimes, rather than acting on opportunity or impulse. Many of them consciously try to limit their use of force during a rape if they can to avoid prosecution, but at the same time, these rapists are also responsible for a large chunk of domestic violence and child abuse. Detecting and incarcerating these repeat rapists would drastically reduce the incidents of violence towards women and children in addition to reducing rape.

And it’s not difficult to tell who these men are because their political and cultural beliefs shine a spotlight directly on them:

Many of the motivational factors that were identified in incarcerated rapists have been shown to apply equally to undetected rapists. When compared to men who do not rape, these undetected rapists are measurably more angry at women, more motivated by the need to dominate and control women, more impulsive and disinhibited in their behavior, more hyper-masculine in their beliefs and attitudes, less empathic and more antisocial.


Guys with rigid views of gender roles and an axe to grind against women in general are overrepresented among rapists… Guys who seem to hate women … do. If they sound like they don’t like or respect women and see women as impediments to be overcome … they’re telling the truth. That’s what they think, and they will abuse if they think they can get away with it.

The notion that “date rape” occurs because men get a little to inebriated and don’t communicate well is largely untrue.

In the course of 20 years of interviewing these undetected rapists, in both research and forensic settings, it has been possible for me to distill some of the common characteristics of the modus operandi of these sex offenders. These undetected rapists:

  • are extremely adept at identifying “likely” victims, and testing prospective victims’ boundaries;
  • plan and premeditate their attacks, using sophisticated strategies to groom their victims for attack, and to isolate them physically;
  • use “instrumental” not gratuitous violence; they exhibit strong impulse control and use only as much violence as is needed to terrify and coerce their victims into submission;
  • use psychological weapons – power, control, manipulation, and threats – backed up by physical force, and almost never resort to weapons such as knives or guns;
  • use alcohol deliberately to render victims more vulnerable to attack, or completely unconscious.

Thomas has some great suggestions for how to better prevent rape than simply giving women a list of places and behaviors to avoid:

With that in mind, here’s what I think we can do:

(1) Men who inhabit cis- and het- identified social spaces need to listen to women. The women we know will tell us when the men they thought they could trust assaulted them; if and only if they know we won’t stonewall, deny, blame or judge. We need to listen without defending that guy. That guy is more likely than not a recidivist. He has probably done it before. He will probably do it again.

(2) The same men need to listen to other men. The men who rape will all but declare themselves. The guy who says he sees a woman too drunk to know where she is as an opportunity is not joking. Men who rape look for assurance that their social license to operate is in effect; they look for little confirmations that if he takes home the drunkest woman at the party and she says the next day that she said no, that she’ll be blamed and not believed. Choosing not to be part of a rape-supportive environment actually tells the rapist that his behavior has risks, and not everyone will take his side against an accuser.

(3) We need to change the culture of discourse about rape (and I mean all of us). Rapists know that the right combination of factors — alcohol and sex shame, mostly — will keep their victims quiet. Otherwise, they would be identified earlier and have a harder time finding victims. Women need social permission to talk frankly about sexual assault, because the more women can say what happened to them, the more difficult it is for the same man to rape six women without facing legal or even social consequences.

(4) Because the rapists have a fairly well-developed modus operandi, is is possible to spot it and interrupt it. We can look for the tactics and interrupt the routine. We can spot the rapist deliberately getting the woman drunk or angling to get the drunk woman alone in an unfamiliar place, and intervene. A guy offering a drunk woman a ride home may just be offering a ride, but if he is insistent when someone else offers a ride, this ought to raise a flag. If a guy is antagonistic towards women and places a lot of emphasis on sex as scoring or conquest, and he’s violating a woman’s boundaries and trying to end up with her drunk and alone, we don’t have to be sure what he’s doing to be concerned, and to start trying to give her exit ramps from his predatory slide.

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Message to McCain about Rape and Choice

I haven’t talked about it much in years, but when I was in college I was raped and became pregnant, and within a short period of time miscarried. The idea that I would be forced to carry a baby to term against my will by the McCain/Palin government makes me more than a little angry. And the truth is that although I choose not to deal with this issue as though it’s something that is behind me and I’ve moved on from — that’s a real mistake in my outlook. It’s not as though I or any woman I know is suddenly safe from being raped because I dealt with the past event emotionally and overcame. This is still an issue for me and should be for every woman.

Let me refresh your memory with a clip from last night on where John McCain stands on the issue of choice and women’s health:

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Why Women Leave Technology Careers

Interesting article in Computer World on Why Women Leave Technology Careers that fits some of what I’ve experienced. And it’s not “to have kids” if that’s what you’re thinking…

The most important antigen is the machismo that continues to permeate these work environments. We found that 63% of women in science, engineering and technology have experienced sexual harassment. That’s a really high figure. Some of those women have transitioned to businesses that focus on health and some pursued advanced hypnotherapy training to start their own hypnosis businesses.

They talk about demeaning and condescending attitudes, lots of off-color jokes, sexual innuendo, arrogance; colleagues, particularly in the tech culture, who genuinely think women don’t have what it takes — who see them as genetically inferior. It’s hard to take as a steady stream. It’s predatory and demeaning. It’s distressing to find this kind of data in 2008.

Is this data global or national? We studied private-sector employers in the U.S., and then we looked at three large, global companies with women working across the world. We also did a bunch of focus groups in Australia, Shanghai and Moscow. The data were pretty consistent. Actually, India is a little better than the U.S. But there’s not much variation across geography.

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links for 2008-03-08

From the Washington Post article:

In a casual essay of 1,700 words, Allen manages to stir together a breathtaking mishmash of misogynistic irrelevancies and generalizations. One minute she’s mocking women who bake cookies for their dogs; the next, she’s castigating Hillary Clinton’s campaign as “stupidest” partly because she fired her “daytime-soap-watching” Latina campaign manager too close to the Texas primary. (Note to Allen: Hillary won Texas with a flood of Latino votes.) She wonders why “no man contracts nebulous diseases” of possibly psychosomatic origins. (Note to Allen: Actually, they do.) She asks why women have more driving accidents. (Note to Allen: See below.) Could it be because women are mentally inferior, as proved by men’s greater ability to mentally rotate three-dimensional objects in space? Unless it’s a cute little puppy, that is, or maybe a cookie.

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links for 2008-02-28

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links for 2008-01-01

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Nutjobs write to Judge in Kobe Bryant Case

The Smoking Gun: The People Speak: Letters To Kobe Judge

AUGUST 22–Everyone seems to have an opinion about the Kobe Bryant matter–and some people have decided to share theirs with the Colorado judge presiding over the NBA star’s case. Below you’ll find several kooky letters sent to Eagle County District Court Judge Frederick Gannett. TSG’s favorite is a missive from a Texas man pleading for the judge’s autograph–we’re guessing that’ll leave him just two clerks and a bailiff short of a complete set. (5 pages)

I’m so frightened at some of the ideas floating around in people’s heads. But it doesn’t surprise me, I guess. Rape is the only crime in this country where the victim is put on trial instead of the perpetrator. Imagine if you got mugged downtown, and during the trial for your mugger, you had to get up on the stand and explain why you were walking on that street at that time.

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My Cat Hates You

Considering my cat Idgie, you would think this website [] is actually by me. But it’s not. Although my cat will probably be on it soon, when I send in a photo.
I thought it might be true, but it’s nice to have facts and figures to support your personal observations – a study by professor John Cowley indicates that beautiful people are paid more than people who are “ugly” or considered overweight.

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