The Rapist

Motivations for Sexual Violence
  • A. Nicholas Groth
  • H. Jean Birnbaum


One of the most misleading assumptions generally made with regard to men who rape is that their offenses are motivated by sexual desire. Part of the reason for this misconception is that clinicians have not studied such individuals. Rapists do not characteristically ask voluntarily for help from clinics, hospitals, or private practitioners. And those who are identified through conviction and imprisonment either do not realize that their behavior is inappropriate or symptomatic or else fear that revealing their concerns will result in their being locked up in a prison or a mental hospital. In many cases, treatment facilities are not even available to such individuals through their local community mental health agencies. Because there has been little opportunity to work with and to study a sizable number of men who rape, a body of knowledge has been slow to develop regarding this form of sexual psychopathology. In the absence of such knowledge, the exact nature of this behavior is misconstrued and misinterpreted, with the result that victimization is perpetuated rather than prevented. Without an understanding of the offender, one cannot fully appreciate what the victim experiences.


Sexual Assault Sexual Violence Sexual Desire Sexual Arousal Sexual Gratification 
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  1. Kant, H. S., & Goldstein, M. J. Pornography. Psychology Today (December 1970).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Nicholas Groth
    • 1
  • H. Jean Birnbaum
    • 2
  1. 1.Sex Offender Program, Department of CorrectionsState of ConnecticutSomersUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training CouncilBostonUSA

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