Differentiating sexual violence: A comparison of sexual homicide and rape

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The present study sought to identify consistent patterns in the actions of sexually violent offenders to determine whether sexual homicide and rape reflect different behavioral emphasis of a single thematic model of sexual assault. Crime scene behaviors of 74 (37 sexual homicides and 37 rapes) solved cases of sexual assaults were compared, and results of a multi-dimensional analysis revealed three thematic styles of interacting with the victim during a sexual assault (Exploit, Control, and Violent). Further analysis indicated that offender–victim interactions in sexual homicide and rape are predominantly distinguished by the degree of violence, such that behaviors associated with each type of offense were found to occur in two discrete areas along a single continuum. Findings are discussed in terms of producing a general framework for understanding sexual violent interactions.

Keywords: Homicide; crime scene behaviors; profiling; rape; sexual assault; violence

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10683160500036871

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, New York, USA 2: Department of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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