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Rape and Murder - Acts of Desire or Disgust? Narratives by Rapists and Sexual Murderers During Group-Psychotherapy

Author(s): Inga Tidefors | Suzanne Kordon

Journal: Sexual Offender Treatment
ISSN 1862-2941

Volume: 4;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: group-psychotherapy | rape | sadism | sexuality | sexual murder | thematic analyses

Aim/Background: Media often portray rapists as monstrous, dangerous men governed by uncontrolled sexual needs. Possible mechanisms behind these offences are seldom discussed. The aim here was to examine how rapists and sexual murderers talked about their perpetrations, how they talked about consensual sexuality, and how these descriptions could be understood. Material/Methods: The analysis was built upon transcripts from group psychotherapy with four men sentenced to forensic psychiatric care for rape and murder of unknown women. The transcripts were analysed according to thematic analyses. Results: A recurrent feature was an uncertainty and confusion related to consensual relations. Descriptions of consensual sexuality were mainly used as comparison and explanations for the rapes. Desperation and demanding fantasies dominated before the perpetrations, and the choice of victim was often a coincidence. Feelings of aggression were present before and during the perpetrations. Sometimes, aggression turned to sexual excitement. The opposite was also present; the rape was motivated by sexual urges, which turned to aggression during the perpetration. Another recurrent pattern was the participants' difficulties in understanding their own motives and feelings related to the perpetrations. Conclusions: Rape and sexual murder are complicated acts with a lot of underlying dimensions. Knowledge about what the offenders themselves tell about their perpetrations could be of importance in prevention work and treatment planning.
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