Types of rapists revealed by kisses
The lack of kissing is one of the traits that separates serial rapists from single-victim rapists.
Serial rapists, unless under the influence of alcohol, will usually not try to kiss their victims and will try to subdue them with threats.
In eight out of ten rapes where the rapist is a complete stranger to the victim, these two tendencies can help researchers determine if the perpetrator is a serial or single-victim rapist.
Researcher Jelena Corovic discovered this trend in her recently completed doctoral dissertation at Stockholm University. Her research investigated the modus operandi of rapists.
“In seven out of ten cases, we could guess if the perpetrator was a serial rapist by ascertaining if he had kissed the victim or not we,” Corovic says.
“If we added information about whether the criminal had drunk alcohol and tried to control the victim with threats or violence, we could guess correctly eight out ten times,” she says.
A serial rapist may control his victim by threatening her with a weapon and preventing her from screaming by muffling her mouth with his hand.
Swedish rape cases
Corovic investigated 66 rapes involving an unknown perpetrator – stranger rapes – that occurred in Sweden.
Thirty-one were one-off, or single-victim rapes, while in the other 35, the rapist had assaulted women sexually more than once – he was a serial rapist.
Corovic compared the first rapes perpetrated by serial rapists with the rapes by single-victim rapists. She wanted to see if there were elements in their behaviour that would indicate whether they would rape again.
She found that she could make predictions with a fair rate of accuracy.
To test the results, she compared single-victim rapes with the second rape of a serial rapist, with the same outcome: Kisses, as well as controlling tactics and the absence of alcohol enabled her to identify serial rapists with a high degree of probability.
Corovic has not found any other research to date that investigates the relationship between the absence of kissing during a rape and the likelihood of the criminal being a serial rapist.
She says more studies would be required to confirm her conclusions. But she wouldn’t rule out the possibility that her findings could be useful in criminal investigations of unknown rapists, as they can help narrow down the pool of suspects.
Even with DNA samples, these kinds of crimes can be hard for police to investigate, because there is often no natural tie between the victim and the offender.
It’s in the kiss
Corovic has various theories about why serial rapists rarely kiss their victims. It could link to how they perceive the persons they rape.
“Those who only rape once have often drunk alcohol. Such rapes can be an impulsive action, a chain of circumstances that end up badly. A kiss is a sign of a wish for contact and can be viewed as an expression or wish for intimacy,” she said.
“A serial rapist is more calculating and can have made a conscious decision to rape someone,” says Corovic.
She said that many of the rape cases she studied were very violent, and that victims had suffered horribly.
“It’s obvious that the victims experienced the rape as critically traumatic. Some of their reports were gruesome,” she says.
It should be noted that her findings show that single-victim rapes can be just as violent as those perpetrated by serial rapists, and the sexual undertakings of the two types of rapes have a lot in common.
Serial rapists tend be more criminally experienced and astute than one-time perpetrators. They are more likely to use weapons to terrorise their victims into submission, gag them in some way to keep them from screaming as well as steal their victims’ wallets and mobile phones.
Serial rapists are also more likely to complete the rape, according to a press release from Stockholm University.
Corovic's research also showed that serial rapists have more often carried out other types of crimes as well.
One of the conclusions of the study is that when rapes show the signature of a serial rapist it would be smart for law enforcers to look for suspects who are in their files of previous law-breakers.
Translated by: Glenn Ostling
- Jelena Corovic, 2013: Offender Profiling in Cases of Swedish Stranger Rapes. Psykologiska institutionen, Stockholms University.