The Important Truth About Sexual Assault


This is not a fun topic, but, although it is an upsetting one, it is a critical topic to begin to address in our culture.  An article came across my computer the other day, revealing the “startling truth” about sexual assault cases.  Basically, the article reports research that examines the results of backlogged rape kits finally being processed (don’t even get me started on how we have a backlog of rape evidence kits).  The supposedly surprising results?  Well, perpetrators perpetrate.

We have a bunch of the same men raping different victims over time.  Somehow, this is startling information when it should be standard information.  This is information we have known for years.  Since this is information that is too difficult for many to digest, we continue to fuel myths about sexual assault, such as that it is rare (nope: 1 in 3 women over their lifetime, 1 in 5 men over their lifetime, 1 in 5 for women just during their college years).

I have known this personally and professionally, from a distance through studying research and having education from experts, and from up close and personal.  I remember decades ago in college learning to avoid the serial rapist at one of the fraternities.  The women talked to each other in an attempt to keep each other safe.  The young man was protected by his politician father, his vast wealth and his “old boys club” connections.  Thus, although he raped one of my very best friends, along with a string of other young women, he was never charged.

I remember the young man in my Master’s program who stalked me, and when I somehow lucked out of his attention, stalked 3 more women in my program, and was eventually let go of his job on campus for inappropriate conduct.

I have worked with countless victims of sexual assault who had a perpetrator who assaulted them, plus their siblings and their friends.  I recall being profoundly disturbed by the stats cited by one of my offense specific treatment colleagues: lie detector tests revealed an average of 44 victims and a variety of offenses for first time convicted sexual offenders.  That is men charged for one offense, given a lie detector test, demonstrating the pattern of multiple victims, 44 on average.  44!

Perpetrators perpetrate.  It is really that basic.  You know how a runner goes running? Aren’t most dog lovers loving on the dogs they know? How about the cooks you know, I bet they are cooking frequently or at least planning their next cooking extravaganza!  Same thing with perpetrators.  It is a repetitive behavior, unfortunately much less healthy or enjoyable than being an athlete, cook or dog lover.

A few problem men are making life difficult for many women.  This is not startling news, and it is time to bring this problem to an end.  Men are not the problem.  Women are not the problem.  Perpetrators are the problem.  Enough is enough.

Thanks for hearing me out, Dr. C

* For more information on the article see this link:

* This is an article about heterosexual sexual assault.  This in no way should minimize male on male assaults or female assaults on men or women (which although much more rare, do occur).