Victimology

militarydefenseattorneys9.49.30 PM copyThe process of analyzing victim types or victims and their behavior after an assault. Victims experience a variety of negative mental health effects from a sexual assault such as:

  • Post-traumatic stress symptoms.
  • Reactions of family and friends.
  • Secondary victimization experiences when they seek help.
  • Processing the rape and post-rape experiences.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Rape is one of the most common causes of PTSD.

Traumatic Event. Experienced an event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.

Rape Trauma “Syndrome”. The acuter phase and the long-term reorganization process that results from a forcible or attempted forcible rape, consisting of behavioral, somatic, and psychological reactions to the attack. This normally not a categorized syndrome. It is a common-sense constellation of reactions that are typical of trauma victims generally, not only sexual assault victims. This term pre- dates PTSD. However, it is not a DSM-IV classification. Many consider it a subcategory of PTSD.

Common and Counterintuitive Victim Behaviors.

  • Easily Explained Victim Behaviors: withdrawal, depression, aversion to being touched.
  • Counterintuitive Behaviors.
    • Delayed Reporting. (More common than not to report 24-72 hours after)
    • Not screaming, lack of resistance (fear)
    • Destroying evidence (bathing, washing sheets = feeling unclean)
    • Denial, Minimization, Recantation. (Common to trauma victims)
    • Inconsistent Disclosure. (Psychologically common to remember trauma in distinct segments)

Other factors to consider

Motivations for False Accusations

Collateral victim consequences, effects on other personal relationships 
2) Military Considerations: DoD recommended deferred action on collateral victim activity until prosecution of offender is complete

Alcohol Intoxication and Memory

Blackout/ passout distinction; incomplete memory of events.
4) Expert Testimony: frequently helpful to explain counterintuitive behaviors, effects of alcohol

Understanding Sex Offenders

Stereotypes/myths (According to the DoD)

Rapists are usually a stranger to the victim. This is rarely true in the military.

Rapists usually use a weapon or inflict significant physical injury. Most rapists use the least force necessary. The most common weapon is alcohol.

Rapists act a certain way. Men who rape frequently appear to be normal members of society. Their methods are not predictable, although most are adept at selecting victims.

False allegations of rape are common

There are no reliable studies for the military. Civilian surveys range from 6-16% of false or exaggerated allegations.

Rapists in the Military

98.9% of identified offenders are male
– 30.2% NCOs
– 35% of perpetrators were in chain of command above enlisted victims — 33% had harassed victim prior to the assault

The Predator Rapist

militarydefenseattorneys9.50.16 PM copyThe rapist who displays behavior often seen in the college dorm or barracks acquaintance rape situation. This offender is motivated by sexual gratification in that they intend to have sex with the victim whether the victims consents or not. The undetected rapist plans the assault. They use alcohol or drugs to reduce the victim’s inhibitions or to incapacitate. They become adept at selecting vulnerable victims. They seldom use a weapon or any threats. Instead they use alcohol, size, and strength to commit the rape.

Undetected rapists

6- 14% of college age men in one study admitted committing some sexual act that met the legal definition of Rape or sexual assault, without ever getting caught. 91% of these rapes were committed by serial rapists (raped more than one victim).