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NCJ Number: 70220 Find in a Library
Title: Rape Victim - Psychological Patterns of Response
Journal: American Journal of Psychoanalysis  Volume:36  Issue:1  Dated:(1976)  Pages:27-34
Author(s): M Symonds
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The psychological patterns of rape victim response are explored in this study that defines rape as a crime of violence and not a sexual act.
Abstract: Terrorization is the common denominator of all violent crime and is employed by the criminal to insure the immediate compliance of the victim. This is always true in forcible rape. There are two major categories of rapists: the compulsive rapists whose goal is the symbolic gratification of unresolved sexual problems, and the predatory criminals whose primary aim is to rip off the victim, taking her property and pride along with her body. Predatory rapists commit the act following robberies and often act in groups. Compulsive rapists want the victim to participate in their symbolic fantasies. The first, immediate response to rape by the victim is shock and disbelief. When realization sets in, the vast majority of victims then experience fright bordering on panic. In fright, all the victim's efforts are expended to remain externally calm and not upset the criminal. There is no energy for overt resistance, and the victim feels profoundly exhausted. The behavior of the vast majority of women during their contact with rapist demonstrates this traumatic psychological infantilism and helplessness. Their reponse is one of frozen fright which resembles cooperative behavior, but frozen fright actually has its roots in profound primal terror. The individual submits in order not to be killed. When rape is viewed as a crime of violence, victim behavior becomes more understandable and can be of immense practical value in police work. When policemen responded sympathetically and compassionately to victim behavior, the traumatic pyschological consequences for the victim were minimal. References are cited.
Index Term(s): Psychological victimization effects; Rape; Rapists; Sexual assault; Sexual assault victims
Note: This paper was presented on April 10, 1975, at the Seminar on Rape, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and American Academy for Professional Law Enforcement, New York (NY).
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