kissing, oral sex, sexual intercourse and all other types of sexual activities are considered sexual assault if done without mutual agreement.
To assault someone who says no, one must have one or more problems. But all aggressors do not act according the same pattern. The aggressors are not alike. A common point, however: the overwhelming majority of aggressors are male, between 96 and 99%. Would the genetic there be a negative influence leading to aggression or lack of empathy? In any case, there are several very different types of sexual offenders behaviour.
Three types have been described by Bagaria:
- the mentally ill sex offenders: they represent only 4% of all sex offends. These mentally deficient people have less awareness of the seriousness of their actions, being disturbed in their head, so less self-controlled.
- some sex offenders are impulsive and unstable: they are people who cannot contain their emotions like other adults. Like a child who cannot stand to be frustrated, they are unable to resist their desires and emotions of the moment. Their intellect is not able to control their sexual feelings. Suddenly, it is their impulses that control them, even if they are at risk to violate the law. They are referred to as “psychopaths”.
- other sexual offenders are perverts: the perverts aggressors enjoy the suffering of others. Their goal is therefore take their pleasure in feeding feelings of horror, of fear, of shame of the assaulted person. We can say that they are deliberately evil.
Seeking to identify the causes of the sexual assault, researchers wondered whether sex offenders had different personality features to those of normal men. Several studies have focused on this issue, but we have little evidence to assert that sexual offenders actually have character traits that predispose them to commit attacks of this order.
It is possible to detect some differences in personality between normal men and sex offenders, but we find these same differences when comparing these normal men to other types of criminals. For example, several studies reveal that rapist records show many feature of their personality characteristic to ‘psychopaths’. However, rapists share these characteristics with many other offenders who have never committed sexual offences. This is why many researchers believe that the attempt to explain the rape by the notion of psychopathic personality does not help us to understand the aggressive sexual behavior.
Studies also showed that the sex offenders have a social maladjustment (difficulties in relations) comparable to those other types of criminals have. For rapists, however, it would be more difficult to acquire self-confidence.
Despite rapists appear to have the same characteristics as other offenders, there should certainly be more research in this area. It is possible that some rapists are pushed to commit sexual assault in cases where their psychopathic tendencies and their social maladjustment are additional to other features and still are ill-defined factors.
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