RESEARCH, THEORIES, AND
Julia C. Houston
Rape and sexual assault clearly have far-reaching consequences for both the individual survivor and for society as a whole. In order to reduce the risk of either initial or future offending, interventions to prevent sexual assault or treat offenders have to be informed by an understanding of the motivations behind this behaviour. This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical research into rape and sexual assault and explores the implications of this for clinical practice. The chapter focuses on male perpetrators of sexual aggression towards adult women. This is not to deny the potential extent of male victimization by women. The studies by Struckman-Johnson and Struckman-Johnson (1988, 1994) indicated that 16-24% of college males reported coercive sexual contact from a woman, the majority of which involved intercourse. However, as it is rare for female perpetrators to be reported, charged, or convicted, we know almost nothing about this population. The limited research on female perpetrators of sexual assault has focused on those who have abused children (Saradjian, 1998). The underreporting of male sexual assault is also generally acknowledged. Similarly, while there is an increasing body of work which explores the effects of this on the survivor (e.g., Rogers, 1997; Scarce, 1997), there is very little about the perpetrators.