Author Betty Kuffel, MD
Sexual predators are men with a sense of entitlement who look for vulnerable victims and do everything they can to avoid apprehension. They may be patient and bide their time. Whether the predation occurs in the workplace or in a dark alley, the predator waits for the right victim, the right time, and in a place where they won’t be caught. Most sexual predators are males and often have many victims. They are serial rapists who cover their actions by lies and threats.
When sexual fantasies ignite and accelerate their desires, they prowl, looking for the victim that excites them and fits the person in their fantasies. Offenders want compliant victims who can’t defend themselves. Isolation, drugs and alcohol are common components to rape. Once the act occurs, the offender may use coercion, threats, blackmail or violence to prevent exposure of the act.
Sexual fantasies are only a part of assaultive behavior, a strong component of predation is a need for power and control. These men are often arrogant, objectify women and may be in a relationship or married. Most are attracted to adults and will prey on people in need. They may offer help, but in the process, force themselves into a woman’s life, cutting her off from friends, isolating and controlling her every move.
I grew up in a small town, in a loving protective family, naïve and complacent until repeated exposure to the criminal element through my work in emergency medicine. Over years, I was threatened, and became more cautious. Stalking episodes led me to marksmanship classes, carrying a weapon or pepper spray, and more recently to Krav Maga self-defense classes.
A great book teaching personal safety behaviors, providing scenarios and protective actions is The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. I purchased many copies, and have given them to relatives and friends. I highly recommend the book for all women. Men would benefit, too.
It wasn’t until many years later, after I began research for the book Eyes of a Pedophile that I learned three members of my family were raped by pedophiles. And, that my great grandfather was an incest perpetrator who impregnated his daughter and raised the offspring as one of her siblings.
Many women have told me of rapes that occurred years earlier, often decades earlier. An incident in the news recently stimulated me to write this blog and clarify how common it is that victims of rape and incest don’t tell.
Of those I interviewed, all of them were afraid. Each circumstance was different, but they did not report due to shame, fear of retribution and fear of not being believed.
All of them carried anxiety and shame that impacted their personal lives. Exposing the truth at a safe time in their lives was beneficial, a weight was lifted. Of the three in my family, one rapist was a church camp counselor, the other two were prominent citizens, well-known in the small community and friends of the family. If the victims had come forward, I doubt that they would have been believed.
Now is the time to report sexual abuse and incest.
Now is a time for healing.
Years later, after the statutes of limitations have run out, prosecution is not possible, but retribution and shaming of the perpetrator, not the victim, can occur.
Rape must be reported. Properly performed rape evaluations can provide DNA evidence and make conviction more likely. After a sexual assault, important treatment for sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy prevention must be considered. My recent booklet on contraception, contains essential information for men and women. It contains a section on prevention of STDs, treatment of infection and how to reduce the risk of sexual assault.
A sexual assault hotline is: 1-800-799-HOPE
Or online information: https://rainn.org/
RAINN is the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network
A valuable source of information is from Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress.