Inside the Mind of a Rapist

Richard Gillmore - Convicted Serial Rapist -

My apologies to my readers! I was helping my 8-year-old mend at the University Hospital of the West Indies and man that ward was depressing! No toys for the children,  no board games to play, there is however, a swing set ironically, with the actual swings disconnected. And definitely no Wi-Fi!

So in the absence of technological distractions you get to spend a lot of time inside your mind while watching your young one sleep for hours on end. I am grateful for the many ideas that came to me during this time and I wanted to share one with you. Beware: some parts of this blog post may be offensive to some, so if you are squeamish shut this page down now.

Rape: Macabre for a sunny afternoon on a children’s ward but hear me out. In analyzing the victimization of rape I have often wondered – What is going on in the mind of a rapist? and why is it that the victim of this specific crime is seemingly the only one directly left with mental and physical scars? what about the rapist?

The themes that came up about this act of sexual violence against women were parenting, behavior management, anger and environment. I do not believe rapists are born. I also came up with these themes, not just because they are always suspect in any case of deviance, but because of the common threads in countless stories I have heard about the rapist from the women they rape.

One story stuck out in my mind of a woman recounting the near counselling session that took place when one of the robbers decided to rape her. She recounts having to hear this man cry and sob about his horribly abusive family life while ineffectively trying to rape her. He eventually knocked her unconscious in a fit of rage, blaming her for his inadequacies of the moment.

Women mistakenly feel something is wrong with them for being raped, and in certain communities in Jamaica, the women are ridiculed for allowing themselves to fall prey to such an act right before being ostracized. This inflicted perspective can lead to years of shame and the development of Depression and even personality disorders. However, I posit, that in the melee of hatred and anger directed at the rapist and to the victim, the underlying pathology of the rapist is often ignored.

Besides the abject horror that I feel every single time I listen to the trauma of rape – by the way 1 in 4 women can expect to be raped in their lifetime according to statistics from W.H.O. (WHAT????!!) – I have often thought the anger that women feel about rape is also apparent in the rapist. Not that he is angry about raping but that he is angry generally speaking.

In my research this is what I found:

Anger: Researching this through the avenues of forensic psychology I found that Anger pervades the mind of a rapist. Its not so much about control- as is often touted- but more about rage. Dr. Barbaree , the principal investigator of  a study found,

“Rapists often recall being intensely angry, depressed or feeling worthless for days or even months leading up to the rape… Very often the rapists say that the trigger for the rape was when a woman made them angry, usually by rebuffing a sexual overture. The men experienced the rebuff as an insult to their manhood that intensified their emotional misery. The same study found that men who had committed rape on one or few occasions named anger at the woman in a particular circumstance as the reason behind the rape“.

We must remember that most rapists know their victim and may rapes take place on dates.Although the study is dated it elucidated a shadowy topic from a fresh perspective.

Then there is…

Arousal : “With the right combination of factors, most men can be aroused by violent sex” . This is one of the findings in the same study listed above. This research was conducted on hundreds of convicted rapists in the USA as well as “normal” men. They found rapists with the most victims were more sexually aroused by forced sex in general, positing evidence for a type of rape based on Sadism. This is fleshed out in the archives of sexual behavior 2005 article  The behavioral characteristics of men accused of rape.

Now that I have thrown in my two cents into the fray, I want to introduce you to a letter I found from a convicted rapist to a his psychologist. It is in the public domain. Once you have a look at it tell me what you think- Richard Gillmore letter.

Finally, although there are reams more to investigate and discuss regarding rape, I want to alert you to the fact that the mind of a rapist is just as complex as the mind of anyone and we all have suffered at some level emotionally and physically in this life – This is what I was really musing about one sunny afternoon on Ward 15.

Also, I am well aware of the pain experienced in rape and in no way wish to diminish the importance of those raped. However, if we are calm enough to investigate and find a solution, whether it be early interventions such as anger management or more vigorous social services as well as parenting workshops, we may be on the road to minimizing this all too frequent act.

This blog post is meant to bring discussion about remedy in the matter of sexual violence in the hopes of arriving at potable solutions. SELAH.