Acquaintances, Lovers, and Friends: Rape Within Relationships1

Authors

  • MARGARET A. WILSON,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Kent at Canterbury Canterbury, United Kingdom
      Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Margaret Wilson, Department of Psychology, Keynes College, University of Kent at Canterbury, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP, United Kingdom. e-mail: M.A.Wilson@ukc.ac.uk
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  • SONJA LEITH

    1. University of Kent at Canterbury Canterbury, United Kingdom
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  • 1

    The authors wish to thank Rupert Heritage and the stuff at the Behavioural Science Section of the Surrey Police Force, United Kingdom, for their assistance with the data for this study. Thanks are also due to Rupert Brown and Lorne Hulbert for their helpful comments on an earlier draft.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Margaret Wilson, Department of Psychology, Keynes College, University of Kent at Canterbury, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP, United Kingdom. e-mail: M.A.Wilson@ukc.ac.uk

Abstract

The research examines offender behavior in 98 cases of male-female acquaintance rape reported to the police in the United Kingdom. Each rape is defined according to the predominant style of offender behavior: intimacy, aggression, or criminality. Variations in the style of rape behavior are examined as a function of the prior victim-offender relationship. The level of relationship intimacy between the victim and offender is defined empirically according to 4 variables: time acquainted, degree of familiarity, previous sexual relationship, and previous cohabitation. The results indicate that criminality style behavior is very infrequent in acquaintance rape. At low levels of relationship intimacy, the rape is more likely to be characterized by intimacy, rather than aggression style behaviors. The implications are discussed.

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