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Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response Office (SeMPRO)

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Non-stranger sexual assault

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Non-stranger sexual assault is referred to in the media as 'date rape'. The term 'date rape' has in many ways 'softened' the idea of rape. It is often used within social discourse and implies that there may be a grey area with consent and sex, and that such an offence is not really rape.

Research has shown that those who commit non-stranger sexual assault do so in a calculating and systematic way. These offenders share the same motivational matrix of hostility, anger, dominance and hyper-masculinity, impulsivity and anti-social attitudes as those incarcerated for stranger rape1. This conflicts sharply with the widely held view that rapes committed on university campuses (and possibly on Defence training establishments) are typically the result of a basically 'decent' young man who, were it not for too much alcohol and too little communication, would never do such a thing. While some campus rapes do fit this more benign view, the evidence points to a far less benign reality in which the vast majority of rapes are committed by serial, violent predators2.

  1. Lisak & Roth (1988) Motivational factors in non-incarcerated sexually aggressive men. Journal of Personality and social Psychology 55, pps 795-802
  2. Lisak “ Understanding the predatory nature of sexual violence” page 8 Uni Mas Ma (Boston)