Voyeurism: Does It Predict
Sexual Aggression or Violence
Anne E. Russon Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto
Rapists are recognized as a dangerous group but often too late. It
is believed that earlier identification may be evidenced in behav-
iors such as peeping or breaking and entering. Voyeurs in their
own right are believed to be violent and dangerous. However no
one, to our knowledge, has systematically examined them in a
controlled study to test that hypothesis. Moreover, peeping is so
common that it is difficult to distinguish the normal and abnormal
individual doing it. If the average man peeps, it is a surrogate
outlet, chance, or curiosity. When a sexually aggressive male does
it, a sexual deviation label is applied. Could the peeping not serve
the same purpose for both groups? In the two studies that follow,
we are asking: Are voyeurs necessarily violent? Do they show
tendencies to rape or carry out sexually aggressive acts?
Although voyeurism has played a prominent part in several theories of sexual anomalies, there is almost no systematic research on the behavior. This is not surprising in one sense, because it is a difficult entity to isolate (cf. Gebhard, Gagnon, Pomeroy, & Christenson, 1965). Widespread public interest in pornography and strip shows attests to the power of visual experience to elicit sexual arousal in normal people. However, some theorists consider voyeurs (or "peepers") to be aggressive, to engage in break and enters, and even to rape. For some writers (see Smith, 1976) the object of peeping is also rather broad because
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Publication information: Book title: Erotic Preference, Gender Identity, and Aggression in Men:New Research Studies. Contributors: Ron Langevin - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Hillsdale, NJ. Publication year: 1985. Page number: 77.
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