Rape Sequence - A Behavioral Analysis of Stranger vs. Non-Stranger Rape

The Rape Sequence diagrams are designed to give a clearer picture of the predatory behaviors of the stranger rapist and non-stranger rapists and provide self-defense options that women can employ in their defense.

Here are the scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: Jill is walking across the parking lot late at night to her car, when suddenly she is attacked from behind. Her attacker pushes her onto the ground and forces himself onto her.

  • Scenario 2: Jill goes to a friend's house along with other guests and has a few drinks. Later in the evening, Jane is introduced to Jack, a friend of one of Jill's friends. The two start talking, but find that it's a bit noisy and move into another room. After an hour of talking, Jack & Jill begin kissing. Jill gets up to go back to the other room with the rest of the guests. Jack pulls Jill back towards him and forces himself onto her.

    Typically, in the first scenario or stranger rape, we are quick to point out that Jill was not responsible for the attack and that the predator had devised a plan to silently wait until an unsuspecting female walked by.

    Unfortunately, in scenario two, people view non-stranger rape or "date rape" as a situation of "miscommunication" or "misunderstanding" between two individuals, and therefore, do not take the resultant rape as serious.

    And although non-stranger rape has some elements of miscommunication, especially by the predator, research suggests that non-stranger rape is just as premeditated as stranger rape.

    The Rape Sequence diagrams that we will be discussing below are based on studies conducted by Dr. James Selkin in 1974 (5 Step Behavior Pattern of Stranger Rape) and a follow up study in 1983 by Dr. Stephen Thompson (7 Step Behavior Pattern of Non-Stranger Rape).

    By understanding the components of rape sequences, women will be better able to identify the early warning signals and take the necessary steps to protect themselves.

    Stranger Rape

    When we review the Stranger Rape Sequence, there are five parts:

  • Selecting a Target
  • Approaching the Target
  • Intimidating the Target
  • Sexually Violating the Target
  • Terminating the Assault

    Selecting a Target

    This is the critical stage. Here the rapist is seeking a viable target based on location. He wants someplace that is quiet, out of the mainstream of others & isolated. He is looking for a target whose body language indicates that she is not aware (eyes down, shoulders inward), not paying attention to her environment (distracted, not scanning the area) and will not resist (lack of confidence in body stance).

    Approaching the Target