Violence Against Women: Psychology of Rape (2)

Violence Against Women: Psychology of Rape (2)

Shared HuffPost 9 Images Capture The Raw Violation Of Sexual Assault

Warning: This article contains photos depicting sexual assault and rape that some readers may find triggering. 

The photographs are obviously uncomfortable to look at, but what’s more distressing is the fact that Mazurkevich told Buzzfeed that they were all based on “an accumulation of personal experiences… that my friends have been through.”

“This happens to real people, people close to you, people who you know,” added the photographer.

But by putting work like this out there, she’s helping to remind us of this, which hopefully will one day mean there’s less of a stigma around victims opening up.

YANA MAZURKEVICH “This topic is hard to discuss, which is why it needs to be discussed,” photographer Yana Mazurkevich said.  A picture of a raw and honest look at the devastating costs of rape and sexual assault. Source Huffingtonpost

A recent photo series is taking a raw and honest look at the devastating costs of rape and sexual assault.

The series titled “It Happens” was created by photographer Yana Mazurkevich in collaboration with the sexual assault awareness media platform Current Solutions. The images are a powerful ― borderline-graphic ― look at just how ubiquitous sexual assault has become in our society.

Yana Mazurkevich, 20, a student at Ithaca College in New York  created the project in response to former Stanford student Brock Turner’s early release from jail July, 2016. The 21 year old student athlete from Stanford University was prosecuted for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a bin at the beginning of 2015, but for reasons not wholly understood (although we can take a guess) he only served three months of his six-months sentence in prison, an embarrassingly light sentence.

Brock Turner

 Brock Tuner image Cosmopolitan

The main photo in the series, featured above, is supposed to depict Brock Turner’s victim after she was assaulted by him. The caption Mazurkevich included beneath the photo is from the Stanford sexual assault survivor’s victim impact statement that went viral in June. “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today,” the caption reads.

This is Mazurkevich’s second series in response to the Brock Turner case. The first one, “Dear Brock Turner,” focused on the victim-blaming so many sexual assault and rape survivors experience.

“It Happens” features nine images, each paired with a real survivor’s story. According to Current Solutions, survivors submitted their stories anonymously to the media platform. The people pictured in each photo are models, not the survivors themselves, and not all of the anecdotes are directly depicted in the corresponding images.

YANA MAZURKEVICH“He made me feel guilty if I didn’t do what he wanted. I remember on prom night, I was exhausted and just wanted to go home, but he insisted we mess around because that was the whole point of prom night, and that’s what we were supposed to do. I still wonder if he knew just how manipulative he was.”

Mazurkevich told HuffPost she created such a raw depiction of assault “because this is the reality.”

“This topic is hard to discuss, which is why it needs to be discussed,” she said.

Every 2 minutes a person is sexually assaulted in the U.S., according to RAINNOne in 6 American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes and 1 in 10 rape victims are male. The statistics for sexual assault are even more glaring for transgender people, with 50 percent of transgender people experiencing sexual violence at some point in their lifetimes.

“I just want a conversation,” Mazurkevich said in reference to why she created the series. “I want people to see that these things happen, and that without a dialogue and awareness, people here and all over the world won’t be obligated to finally take a stand.”

And her pictures certainly make an impact; with all the photos containing the words “it happens”, followed by the likes of “suddenly”, “anywhere” and “without a reason”, reminding us that this kind of traumatising assault occurs a lot more than you’d think.

Yana covers all bases with her photographs, reminding us that sexual assault can even occur when you’re in a relationship with the person abusing you; that it can occur even to the most unlikely of people – the macho high school jock, for example; and that it can happen anywhere, even (or especially) in the workplace.

“It happens at any time.”
                                    Yana Mazurkevich

“I was tattooed by a guy and while he was tattooing me, he kept inserting his fingers up my vagina. He said he had to keep his hand there to keep the skin taut for tattooing. The most ironic part is that the tattoo is the symbol for female; I wanted the tattoo as a sign of feminism and got sexually assaulted in the process.
“It happens unwillingly.”
Yana Mazurkevich
“I can’t remember details or the order of things, but she was very, very aggressive. She left bruises all over me and I was bleeding the next morning. She held me down and forced a lot. I didn’t say no clearly, but I definitely didn’t agree to the aggressive actions she took. Lack of consent is not the presence of a no, it’s also the absence of a yes.”
“It happens anywhere.”
Yana Mazurkevich
“I lost my virginity at a party when I was in middle school. He gave me a drink and I can’t really remember what happened after that. Just bits and pieces for the most part… but I couldn’t say no or push him off while he made me have sex with him. I woke up next to him and I was really sore but i couldn’t tell anyone what happened.”
“It happens suddenly.”
Yana Mazurkevich
“I blacked out and just remember very short flashing images… I remember him asking me if I was on birth control, but I was too incoherent to talk. I was trying to explain that I wasn’t. We had sex anyway. I didn’t want to and I barely remember it.”
“It happens to anyone.”
Yana Mazurkevich
“When I was in high school, the only place to live for me was my uncle’s place. I thought I could trust them, but there were nights when I would wake up to one of them, the biological one, in my room, or he would sneakily try to touch my junk. I never really resolved it.”
“It happens unexpectedly.”
Yana Mazurkevich
“I was at a party once, sober, and two of my good female friends pulled me aside, telling me that someone needed help. They pulled me into this room and pinned me against the wall and started kissing me and taking my pants off, but I was able to push them off and leave. The two girls who were my friends claim that they don’t remember the incident since they were drunk.”
“It happens without reason.”
Yana Mazurkevich
“We had been drinking and, by the end of the night, I had lost all control. I was falling in and out of consciousness. I remember waking up with him on top of me but I kept passing back out before I could do anything about it. I always thought it was my fault for getting too drunk.”

DO RAPISTS SUFFER FROM ANY DISORDER?  What is the psychology of a rapist ? Do they lose control over themselves or don’t they know what they are doing?

Rape in most cases, including legal, is gender specific where it talks of women as victim. This in-spite of the fact there are homosexual rapes, male rapes. Rape, an extreme form of sexual crime, is more common than suspected. Nobody is exempt from itchildren, prostitutes, road side orphans, residents of sheltered homes, etc

Rape involves a perpetrator and a victim. The perpetrator may or may not be a psychiatry patient. Victim suffers psychological consequences, most often silently. Generally cases of rape are not referred by law to psychiatrists for opinion regarding the mental status of the accused, unless the defence pleads mental illness, which is not common. Never the less such a plea was put forward by accused all over without success. Rape victims are referred by courts in case of doubt to ascertain the victim’s competency as a witness, ability to consent for the act and age. It indirectly implies that public and law do not considers it as a medical, more so a psychiatric entity. Even though public generally see madness in everybody else, do not see that in a rapist. Recently there was a ruling by a division bench of Madras High Court that Rape is a crime and not medical diagnosis. It further ruled that to constitute the offence of rape under criminal law, it is not necessary that there should be complete penetration and rupture of hymen. “Partial penetration within the labia majora or the vulva or pudenda, or even an attempt at penetration is quite sufficient for the purpose of law.

Psychiatric classification does not mention it anywhere. Then can it be taken that rape is not an abnormal human behaviour and can be considered as normal one? Is rape only a legal problem?

Rape is more stigmatising than suicide and mental illness. The accused are shunned. In prison, hierarchically rapists occupy the lowest position. Sexual offenders are looked down as despicable persons by co-prisoners and are at a risk for being assaulted.


The victim suffers life-long; society disapproves it; perpetuator also suffers-society detests the person; may have fear of detection and detention; may have remorse; guilt feelings; may be emboldened to repeat it; may enjoy the power; may not have any reaction. All these reasons warrant psychiatric attention and intervention. When psychiatric intervention is needed a diagnosis is warranted. It could be personality disorder or sexual sadism. But not all cases fit into these. It could be a symptom of any psychiatric label. It could be deviant sexual behaviour. In recent times the defence of consensual sex turning into allegation of rape is on the increase. For an orderly functioning of society, safety of individuals, rape cannot be allowed and condoned. Since psychiatrists are part and parcel of society in which they live, they have a duty to perform, duty to protect the patient and society from self and the other.

What was hypothesised regarding what motivates serial sexual killers to commit their crimes range from the seeking of sexual gratification to the achievement of power and control to the expression of anger may also be true for the act of rape. No single factor can explain the act and no single theory can explain all the types of the act. Is it possible to consider rape as a case of sexual sadism, which is a diagnostic entity? Though some common features exist between them, they are different entities. Violence is part of sadism; a goal along with sex while in rape it is not the primary aim but to make the victim submit. Cruelty is deliberate and intended in sadism while it may be incidental. While rape is a legal crime, sexual sadism is both a legal crime and disorder. A rapist can also be sexual sadist. Labelling should not be based on value judgement but should be on investigative judgement. Labelling something as a disease, more so as a psychiatric disorder, has various implications and repercussions. It will have an impact on the individual, society and economy. If for example rape is labelled as a psychiatric disease or disorder the individual may have to spend the rest of his life in a psychiatric institution. It will be a double whammy for the family – stigma of crime and also mental illness. The society and government has to foot the bill for the care as it is a disease. The individual will escape legal punishment.

A clear concept of disease is essential for a variety of reasons including planning. What counts as a disease at a particular time also changes over historical time, partly as a result of increasing expectations of health, partly due to changes in diagnostic ability, but mostly for a mixture of social and economic reasons . Homosexuality is a classic example. Undoubtedly, both time and culture play a role in defining the diverse range of paraphilic interests and bring with them criminal, legal and political contentions. Rape does not fit the concept of syndrome, disease, or disorder as defined. Rape is anything but a psychiatric condition. Already there are allegations of over diagnosis and drugging by psychiatrists. Champions of caste see caste in every deed; financers see profit in every issue; religious person will see God in everything; corrupt person will see a fast buck in every file but Psychiatry should not see illness in every crime. (Gopala Sarma GP. Psychiatrist view of rape/


Extensive research over the past 3 decades (and more) suggests that several mental health issues underlie sexual violence and offending, particularly rape. Much of this research comes from the west and the lack of meaningful research on rapists in other country highlights a serious lacunae in knowledge and skills required to manage mental health factors that underlie criminal activities, a role that forensic psychiatrists generally play. (Gopala Sarma GP. Psychiatrist view of rape/


In sociobiological theories of rape explore how evolutionary adaptation influences the psychology of rapists. Such theories are highly controversial, as traditional theories typically do not consider rape to be a behavioral adaptation. Some object to such theories on ethical, religious, political, or scientific grounds. Others argue that a correct knowledge of the causes of rape is necessary to develop effective preventive measures.


The idea that rape evolved under some circumstances as a genetically advantageous behavioral adaptation was popularized by biologist Randy Thornhill and anthropologist Craig T. Palmer in their 2000 book A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion.


It has been noted that behavior resembling rape in humans is observed in the animal kingdom, including ducks and geese, bottlenose dolphins, and chimpanzees.Indeed in orangutans, close human relatives, copulations of this nature may account for up to half of all observed matings.[Such behaviours, referred to as ‘forced copulations’, involve an animal being approached and sexually penetrated whilst it struggles or attempts to escape. These observations of forced sex among animals are not controversial. What is controversial is the interpretation of these observations and the extension of theories based on them to humans. “Thornhill introduces this theory by describing the sexual behavior of scorpion flies. In which the male may gain sex from the female either by presenting a gift of food during courtship or without a nuptial offering, in which case force is necessary to restrain her.”


It is hypothesized that rape is homologous to similar behavior in other animals. “Human rape appears not as an aberration but as an alternative gene-promotion strategy that is most likely to be adopted by the ‘losers’ in the competitive, harem-building struggle. If the means of access to legitimate, consenting sex is not available, then a male may be faced with the choice between force or genetic extinction.”

Thornhill and Palmer write that “In short, a man can have many children, with little inconvenience to himself; a woman can have only a few, and with great effort.” Females therefore tend to be more choosy with partners. Rape is seen as one potential strategy for males for achieving reproductive success. They point to several other factors indicating that rape may be a reproductive strategy. It is during the potentially childbearing years that women most often are rape victims. Rapists usually do not use more force than necessary to subdue their victims which is argued to be the case since physically injuring the victims would reduce the chance of reproduction. Furthermore, “In many cultures rape is treated as a crime against the victim’s husband.”

Anthropologist Edward H. Hagen states in his Evolutionary Psychology FAQ from 2002 that he believes there is no clear evidence for the hypothesis that rape is adaptive. He believes the adaptivity of rape is possible, but claims there is not enough evidence to be certain one way or the other. However, he encourages such evidence to be obtained: “Whether human males possess psychological adaptations for rape will only be answered by careful studies seeking evidence for such cognitive specializations. To not seek such evidence is like failing to search a suspect for a concealed weapon.” He also describes some conditions in the ancestral environment during which the reproductive gains from rape may have outweighed the costs:

  • “High status males may be have been able to coerce matings with little fear of reprisal.”
  • “Low status women (e.g., orphans) may have been particularly vulnerable to being raped because males need not have feared reprisals from the woman’s family.”
  • “During war, raping enemy women may have had few negative repercussions.”
  • “Men who were low status, who were likely to remain low status, and who had few opportunities to invest in kin may have realized reproductive benefits that outweighed the considerable costs (e.g., reprisal by the woman’s family).”



McKibbin et al. (2008) argue that there may be several different types of rapists or rape strategies.

1. One is rape by disadvantaged men who cannot get sex otherwise.

2. Another is “specialized rapists” who are more sexually aroused from rape than from consensual sex.

3.A third type is opportunistic rapists who switch between forced and consensual sex depending on circumstances.

4.A fourth type is psychopathic rapists.

5. A fifth type is partner rape due to sperm competition when the male suspects or knows that the female has had sex with another male.

There are varying degrees of empirical support for the existence of each of these types. More generally they mention research finding that at least one-third of males “admit they would rape under specific conditions” and that other surveys find that many men[quantify] state having coercive sexual fantasies. They, as have others, “propose that rape is a conditional strategy that may potentially be deployed by any man.” (WIKIPEDIA)

There are several types of rape that exist in law

1. Penetrative rape: The vagina is penetrated by penis, finger, or other objects

2. Statutory rape: The penis is touched on vagina but no penetration takes place. This type of rape does not exist in Indian statutes yet

3. Marital rape: When rape occurs within a marriage. This is not yet recognized in some countries

4. Date rape: When rape occurs during an exploratory platonic romantic meeting between a man and a woman, where often an intoxicating agent is mixed in the food or drink of the victim

5. Gang rape: When more than one person rapes the victim

6. Male rape: When man on man rape takes place.


Since events in late December 2013 which has sparked a wave of soul-searching, several narratives of what rape is all about has emerged from various people – in public offices, religious communities, and special interest groups – plugged on mainstream media. Some of these discourses have merely rehashed what are known to be myths. Some of these myths are: (a) women ask for sex by the way they dress and behave, (b) they enjoy being raped, (c) women are raped only by strangers, (d) women could avoid being raped if they really wanted to, (e) women cry rape for revenge on powerful men, (f) rapists are crazy or psychotic (“animals” is a word that is often used), and (g) most rapists are “different”, “not like us.” None of the above are generically true even if there may be some truth in some rare individual cases. (US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health PMC)

nirbhaya gangrape case, Delhi gangrape case, nirbhaya verdict, nirbhaya gangrape, 2012 Delhi gang rape‬‬, nirbhaya gangrape judgment, nirbhaya gangrape sentence, december 16, supreme courtMedical students protests at Jantar Mantar, on the anniversary of Delhi gangrape (Express file photo by Ravi Kanojia)Medical students protests at Jantar Mantar, on the anniversary of Delhi gangrape (Express file photo by Ravi Kanojia) Source The Indian Express


Women may have developed several defenses against and strategies to avoid rape. One is a partner preference for men that are effective bodyguards against other men such as physically and socially dominant men (although there may also be other evolutionary reasons for such a preference). Another is great psychological pain which according to some research is greatest during the childbearing years. Other research[who?] have argued that the emotional pain may cause the women to focus on the social circumstances that enabled the rape with the aim to prevent future rapes.

Other research[who?] have found that during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle women perform fewer behaviors that may increase the risk of an assault. Studies have also found that sensitivity for potential coercive behaviors in males as well as handgrip strength (but only in a simulated coercive situation) increase during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle. On the other hand, a 2003 study found that the frequency of pregnancy from rape is significantly higher than that of pregnancy in non-coercive intercourse, and advanced the hypothesis that male rapists disproportionately target women exhibiting biological indications of fertility. ((Wikipedia)


Thornhill and Palmer (2000) suggest a number of possible strategies for preventing rape. One example is explaining to males that they may have predispositions to misread the female invitation of sex. They believe that viewing rape as being due to a desire for domination, and not related to sexual desire, is generally harmful. One example being the claim that the way women dress will not affect the risk of rape. They argue that the much greater societal freedom of dating without supervision, and removal of many barriers between males and females, have created an environment that has also removed many earlier societal controls against rape. It is recommended that “men and women interact only in public places during the early stages of their relationships”. (WIKIPEDIA)


Rape may a be associated with organic brain damage and learning disability,disorders associated with congenital or acquired brain damage. Marshall and Barbaree proposed that a critical developmental task for adolescent males involves learning to distinguish between aggressive and sexual impulses, as this has consequences for their ability to control aggressive tendencies during sexual experiences and activities. They argue that both types of impulses – violent and sexual – originate from the same brain structures. For vulnerable individuals with adverse early developmental experiences, differences in hormonal functioning will make this task even more difficult. Rapists were found to have head injuries (3.9%) in a large sample in Sweden, and sadistic rapists have shown abnormalities within the temporal horn, although the clinical significance of these findings remain unknown at the present time. For an excellent review of neurobiological factors underlying sexual offending, the reader is directed to a paper by Bradford.  (US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health PMC)

Psychiatric disorders

Most rapists are not mentally disordered. People with schizophrenia or related psychoses may often commit rape or show abnormal sexual behavior which is related either directly to the psychosis or indirectly to disinhibition. Similarly, patients with hypomania and mania become sexually disinhibited leading to such offences. It has been reported that those diagnosed with schizophrenia are four times more likely to have been convicted of a serious sexual offence than those without mental illness. It has been proposed that schizophrenia patients who engage in sexually offensive activities (not just rape) fall into four broad groups: (1) Those with pre-existing paraphilias, (2) whose deviant sexuality arises in the context of illness and/or its treatment, (3) whose deviant sexuality is one manifestation of a more generalized antisocial behaviour, and (4) other factors such as dementia, head injury, or substance misuse. In terms of incidence, Langstrom et al.,] carried out the most extensive study in which they retrospectively analyzed psychiatric diagnoses in an in-patient Swedish sample of 535 rape offenders discharged from Swedish prisons. The most prevalent diagnoses were alchohol abuse or dependence (9.3%), drug abuse (3.9%), personality disorder (2.6%), and psychosis (1.7%). (US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health PMC)


Thornhill and Palmer write that “Rape is viewed as a natural, biological phenomenon that is a product of the human evolutionary heritage”. They further state that by categorizing a behavior as “natural” and “biological” they do not in any way mean to imply that the behavior is justified or even inevitable. “Biological” means “of or pertaining to life,” so the word applies to every human feature and behavior. But to infer from that, as many critics assert that Thornhill and Palmer do, that what is biological is somehow right or good, would be to fall into the so-called naturalistic fallacy. They make a comparison to “natural disasters as epidemics, floods and tornadoes”. This shows that what can be found in nature is not always good and that measures should be and are taken against natural phenomena. They further argue that a good knowledge of the causes of rape, including evolutionary ones, are necessary in order to develop effective preventive measures.

Evolutionary psychologists McKibbin et al. argue that the claim that evolutionary theories are justifying rape, is a fallacy in the same way that it would be a fallacy, to accuse the scientists doing research on the causes of cancer, that they are justifying cancer. Instead, they say that understanding the causes of rape may help create preventive measures.

Wilson et al. (2003) argue that evolutionary psychologists like Thornhill and Palmer use the naturalistic fallacyinappropriately to forestall legitimate discussion about the ethical implications of their theory. According to Thornhill and Palmer, a naturalistic fallacy is to infer ethical conclusions (e.g., rape is good) from (true or false) statements of fact (e.g., rape is natural). Wilson et al. point out that combining a factual statement with an ethical statement to derive an ethical conclusion is standard ethical reasoning, not a naturalistic fallacy, because the moral judgment is not deduced exclusivelyfrom the factual statement. They further argue that if one combines Thornhill and Palmer’s factual premise that rape increases the fitness of a woman’s offspring with the ethical premise that it is right to increase fitness of offspring, the resulting deductively valid conclusion is that rape has also positive effects and that its ethical status is ambiguous. Wilson et al. state that Thornhill and Palmer dismiss all ethical objections with the phrase ‘naturalistic fallacy’ although “it is Thornhill and Palmer who are thinking fallaciously by using the naturalistic fallacy in this way.” (Wikepedia)

Victim counseling in sociobiological theories of rape

Counseling of rape victims may also be improved by evolutionary considerations, according to Thornhill and Palmer. They argue that the view that rape is due to a domination desire, cannot explain to the victim why the rapist seemed to be sexually motivated. Evolutionary considerations can also help explain the emotional pain felt, as well as the form it takes. They may also help the rape victim understand why the rape victim’s partner may see the rape as a form of infidelity. They also argued that the victim’s partner may be helped by such understanding, and be more able to change his reaction. (Wikipedia)


The 2003 book Evolution, Gender, and Rape, written in response to A Natural History of Rape, compiles the views of twenty-eight scholars in opposition to sociobiological theories of rape. One contributor, Michael Kimmel, criticizes Thornhill and Palmer’s argument that female rape victims tend to be sexually attractive young women, rather than children or older women, contrary to what would be expected if rapists selected victims based on inability to resist. Kimmel argues that younger women are the least likely to be married and the most likely to be out on dates with men, and therefore are the most likely to be raped because of opportunity arising from social exposure and marital status.[9] Palmer and Thornhill responded to these critics in an article in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.

Smith et al. (2001) criticized Thornhill and Palmer’s hypothesis that a predisposition to rape in certain circumstances is an evolved psychological adaptation. They developed a fitness cost/benefit mathematical model and populated it with estimates of certain parameters (some parameter estimates were based on studies of the Aché in Paraguay). Their model suggested that generally that only men with a future reproductive value of 1/10th or less of a typical 25-year-old man would have a net positive cost/benefit fitness ratio from committing rape. On the basis of their model and parameter estimates, they suggested that this would make it unlikely that rape generally would have net fitness benefits for most men.

While defending the evolutionary psychology theory of rape against its more vehement critics, Vandermassen (2010) provides a critique of some aspects of the view. She characterises the view of Thornhill and Palmer as “extreme” (p. 736), as they fail to allow for the influence of any non-sexual motivations in the crime of rape. Vandermassen also notes two problems with the data cited by Thornhill and Palmer regarding the psychological trauma caused by the violence associated with rape: firstly, this data is inaccurately and confusingly presented in the book, often obscuring the fact that it does not support Thornhill and Palmer’s “counterintuitive hypothesis” (p. 744) that more physical violence during rape is associated with less psychological pain. Secondly, more recent research has failed to support this hypothesis. A more moderate position, integrating the evolutionary psychology and feminist theories on rape, is presented by Vandermassen, based in part on the work of feminist evolutionary researcher Barbara Smuts.

Hamilton (2008) has criticized Thornhill and Palmer’s definition of rape as the coerced vaginal penetration of women of reproductive age. He has suggested that the exclusion of male rape, rape on women outside the reproductive age range, murderous rape, and non-vaginal forms of rape virtually guaranteed the confirmation of their hypothesis that rape is an evolved reproductive strategy and not a crime of violence. Hamilton has argued that evolutionary psychology fails to explain rape because, by evolutionary psychology’s own criteria, an adaptation to rape children or men, or non-vaginal rape, would have been eliminated in the course of evolution because it did not confer reproductive advantage on our ancestors. (Wikipedia)


I am a psychologist who, for over a third of a century, has been treating and evaluating the risk posed by sex offenders and testifying in the commitment proceedings that Allen Frances describes. I can verify that his assessment of the quality of the work and “expert” opinions presented by psychologists in court is even worse than he notes.

Not only do they use bogus diagnoses, but the vast majority of psychologists who testify as experts in these cases in Massachusetts have very little or virtually no training working with or evaluating sex offenders. It’s astounding. Often, psychologists are recruited and given two or three day workshops on how to evaluate and testify that someone is “sexually dangerous.” Then they go to work.

After they have evaluated a number of men, they can claim that they have done x number of evaluations over y years and thus have lots of experience. But that’s like someone pretending to be a surgeon who reads a textbook and starts operating. If he gets away with it, after a while he can say, “I’m an expert because I’ve performed hundreds of operations.” Though we never get any information about whether his patients lived or died, after operating under false pretenses, he can pass himself off as an expert claiming he has performed hundreds of operations.

Interestingly, almost all of the psychologists who are hired by the defense in these cases actually have been trained to do therapy with offenders and to evaluate risk. What Frances describes is generally true about those hired by the prosecution.

There are many problems with these sexual predator laws as well as with registering sex offenders in general. (Psychology Today)

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM 5 Confirms That Rape Is Crime, Not Mental Disorder

There is no longer any excuse for careless diagnosis in SVP (Sexually Violent Predator) cases.

DSM 5 has considered- and has roundly rejected- two proposed diagnoses that are frequently misused to justify involuntary psychiatric commitment under Sexually Violent Predator statutes. Not only were ‘Coercive Paraphilia’ and ‘Hebephilia‘ denied status as official diagnoses, they were not even given a face saving place in the usually inviting DSM Appendix. This constitutes a total and unequivocal American Psychiatric Association rejection of these pseudo-diagnoses and compellingly confirms that they have no credibility in courtroom testimony.

There was stringent criticism against bringing rape into sexual disorders classification in the run-up for DSM-V. Delineating what is normal versus deviant or disordered sexuality is one of the biggest challenges when using the term paraphilia. In DSM-IV-TR, only those paraphilias that involve immoral deviant sexual behaviour are inconsistent with the definition, but deviant sexual behaviour by itself does not count as a mental disorder . Another study found that there was no empirical justification for the creation of this new syndrome-rape for inclusion in paraphilic coercive disorder. Rape offenders experience many of the deficits and dysfunctions that other mentally disordered individual’s do . There were some proponents for inclusion of rape in sexual disorders in DSM-V . Paraphilias sub work group of the DSM-V Work Group on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders, was forced to decide not to include rape in DSM-V and declare that rape is a crime but not a mental disorder.

All of the other offenders were straight out simple criminals- none of these represented a close judgment call. The hundreds of sloppy reports submitted by the misguided psychologists blithely misdiagnosed ‘Paraphilia Not Otherwise Specified, Nonconsent’ without ever providing any evidence or rationale for their casual equating of criminal behavior with mental disorder.

Fortunately, the Department of Mental Health in California has taken active and effective steps to reform this bad diagnostic practice and to require more careful diagnosis and proper documentation of evidence and rationale. This has resulted in the dropping of weaker cases and a clearer to juries. Overall, more cases are now decided on merit rather than misinformation.

On another note, DSM 5 has also totally rejected ‘Hypersexuality’ and ‘Sex Addiction‘ as diagnostic concepts. They are repudiated as official diagnoses and were given no place in the DSM 5 Appendix. These fake diagnoses also have no place in courtroom proceedings.

One last caution- the text of the DSM 5 Sexual Disorders Section is not public. It should be reviewed with a fine tooth comb by experts in forensic evaluation to make sure that the wording is unambiguous and cannot be twisted in the courtroom. Our DSM IV wording was carefully reviewed by forensic experts- but not carefully enough. At the time, we had no knowledge of the SVP statutes and were not nearly precise enough in our language to protect against the misunderstanding and misuse that now needs cleaning up. Every word in the DSM 5 Paraphilia section should be vetted for clarity and safety. (Psychology Today, Psychiatrist View of Rape)


This really says alot about the objectivity and relevance about the DSM. If you look at all of the sexual disorders they have a few criteria – Causes distress to the practitioner OR involved unwilling OR under aged participants OR trouble with the law. That’s it. Consider this, if i have a fetish for high heels and i try to involve unwilling participants in this activity – i can be labeled as having a disorder BUT if i try to have plain standard issue missionary sex with unwilling partners – there is NO disorder?? WHy is this? This implies that there is something inherently disordered with the fetishtic example contrary to the statement made May 2013 about paraphilias not being ipso facto disorders. The entire paraphillias section need to be removed as being redundant and superfluous. All DSM committee members on the Paraphillias sub committees can benefit from courses in epistomology particularly when it comes to fallacies. ( Psychology Today)


MY VIEW: Rape is a fact of life across cultures. That rape is a part of our evolutionary history just like other animals, and therefore it’s still with us today.


What are your thoughts?