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Sexual Aggression: Achieving Power Through Humiliation (From Handbook of Sexual Assault: Issues, Theories, and Treatment of the Offender, P 55-72, 1990, W L Marshall, et al, eds. -- See NCJ-125290)

NCJ Number
J L Darke
Date Published
18 pages
The desire for power and victim humiliation are primary motivations in sexual aggression against women.
Research studies indicate that aggressive cues do not always enhance the sexual arousal of either rapists or normal males. In fact, it is becoming more difficult to identify factors that readily differentiate men who rape from those who do not. Methodological considerations also raise questions about the utility of an approach that emphasizes sexual arousal. Sexuality may instead be viewed as the means by which alternate aims such as exercising power and control are achieved. Several researchers have studied the issues of power, domination, and hostility in rape, but power and humiliation in the rape context have yet to be examined in a controlled or organized fashion. Victims of sexual assault perceive their assaults as humiliating nonetheless, and offender reports suggest an intent to humiliate. Future research should focus on the relation between humiliation and attitudes toward women, sexual activity, sexual assault, and interpersonal violence and on the addition of degrading acts to forced and consenting sex and their effects on sexual arousal. Given the paucity of data relevant to humiliation and sexual assault, specific treatment recommendations have yet to be developed. 93 references.