Power, Anger and Sadistic Rape Information from Men Who Rape by Nicholas Groth
     Rape is a distortion of human sexuality. It is sexuality in
the service of nonsexual needs. Rape is the sexual expression of
hostility and aggression - a behavioral act not a psychiatric
condition. Rape typically reflects deep seated feelings of
     For the most part, offenders report finding little if any
sexual satisfaction in the act of rape. Their subjective reactions
range from disappointment to disgust. When rapists discuss
pleasure they speak of being aggressive and having power over
their victim, her actions, her life. "It gave me pleasure knowing
that there was nothing that she could do."

Of the men interviewed by Groth in his work:

55% - power rapists 
40% - anger rapists 
 5% - sadistic rapists

Power Rape: Sexual Conquest

     For these men, sexuality becomes a means of compensating for
underlying feelings of inadequacy and serves to express issues of
mastery, strength, control, authority, identity and capability.
     The offender may say that his offense was prompted by sexual
gratification, but examination of his behavior shows that he
didn't pay any attention to the woman's receptiveness. Instead,
his aim is to capture, conquer and control his victim. Consensual
sex is available; this is not consensual sex.
     Frequently, the power rapist denies that the sexual encounter
was forced. He needs to believe the victim wanted and enjoyed it.
Following the assault, he may insist on buying the woman a drink
or dinner and express a wish to see her again. This reflects his
fantasy expectation that sexual conquest has created a desire for
him on the part of the victim. The offender can not accept that
the victim was not attracted to him but rationalizes that she had
to allege rape to protect her reputation.
     The intent of the power rapist is to assert his competency
and validate his masculinity. Sexuality is the test, and his
motive is conquest.

Anger Rape: Expressing and Discharging Feelings of Pent-up Anger and Rage

     The assault is characterized by physical brutality. Far more
actual force is used in the commission of the offense than would
be necessary if the intent were simply to overpower the victim and
achieve penetration. This type of offender attacks his victim by
grabbing her, striking her, knocking her to the ground, beating
her, tearing her clothes, and raping her. The rape experience for
this type of offender is one of conscious anger and rage, and he
expresses his fury both physically and verbally. His aim is to
hurt and debase his victim and express his contempt for her
through abusive and profane language.
     These men consider rape the ultimate offense a man can commit
against another person. Sex is this man's weapon and rape
constitutes the ultimate expression of his anger. Sex is a weapon
to defile, degrade and humiliate the victim.
     "I wanted to knock the woman off her pedestal and I felt rape
was the worst thing that I could do to her."

Sadistic Rape: Fusion of Sexuality and Aggression

     For these men, there is a sexual transformation of anger and
power so that aggression itself is eroticized. The offender finds
the intentional maltreatment of his victim intensely gratifying
and takes pleasure in her torment, anguish, distress,
helplessness, and suffering. The assault usually involves bondage
and torture and frequently has a bizarre or ritualistic quality.
Sexual areas of the victim's body become a specific focus of
injury or abuse. In extreme cases, there may be sexual mutilation
of the victim's body or sexual intercourse with her corpse.
     For these men the rape experience is one of intense and
mounting excitement . The rapist may find the victim's struggling
with him an exciting and erotic experience Excitement is
associated with the inflicting of pain upon his victim. Hatred and
control are eroticized, and he finds satisfaction in abusing,
degrading, humiliating and, in some cases, destroying his captive.
His intent is to abuse and torture. His instrument is sex; his
motive is punishment and destruction.
     The sadistic rapist is often believed to be blatantly
psychotic, but these men are usually able to conceal these
impulses from others. One of the disconcerting features of such
offenders is that they are often quite personable--a quality they
capitalize on to gain access to unsuspecting victims.

In Groth's study, victims able to resist assault successful:

     -managed to keep self-control and refused to be intimidated
     -did not counterattack, were assertive without being
     -did or said something that registered with the offender and
     communicated to him that she was a real person not just an
     But there is no one defense strategy that will work
successfully for all victims against all offenders in all
situations, The goal of survival is more important than the goal
of escape.
     Every strategy that has succeeded in some cases has failed in
others. There is no guarantee that any other strategy a woman
decided to use would have been more effective.

Alcohol and Rape

Intoxication reduces inhibitions, impairs reasoning and judgment, distorts contact with reality, and increases insensitivity to the impact of one 's behavior on others. But alcohol is not what causes a man to commit a rape. It may be a catalyst and play a contributing role, but it is not a causative one. Alcohol is a releasor only when an individual has already reached a frame of mind in which he is prone to rape.

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