Introduction: Why a Focus on Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Sexual Violence is Essential

Louise McOrmond-Plummer , Patricia EASTEAL, Jennifer Levy-Peck

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The burgeoning literature of the past several decades about perpetrators of rape and sexual assault has focused mostly on convicted stranger rapists and those who sexually abuse children (Greathouse, Saunders, Matthews, Keller, & Miller, 2015). Most discourse on perpetrators of sexual assault excludes men who rape and sexually assault their intimate partners. This contributes to widely held beliefs what only stranger rapists are real rapists, while at the same time those beliefs shape research topics. Social awareness campaigns instruct girls and women to beware the stranger, and how to avoid sexual assault by watching how much or with whom they drink (see, for example, Baty, 2014). The reality, however, is that intimate partner sexual assault (IPSV) has been established as a prevalen crime since the 1980s. Intimate relationships in fact comprise a far greater danger of sexual assault to women (Black el al., 2011; Finkelhor & Yllo, 1990: Myhill & Allen, 2002; Price, 2013; Russell, 1985). Limited focus on these perpetrators ensures a persistent avoidance of detection and accountability, and ongoing danger to women. Therefore, the partner rapist is seldom recognized as a rapist or sexual offender in the same sense as a stranger rapists or pedophile, even though the rape of a spouse has been a criminal act in the Western world for a number of decades. Further, the majority of partner rapists do not see their behavior as criminal (Parkinsosn & Cowan, 2008).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerpetrators of Intimate Partner Sexual Violence
Subtitle of host publicationA Multidisciplinary Approach to Prevention, Recognition, and Intervention
EditorsLouise McOrmond-Plummer, Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck, Patricia Easteal
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781138910454
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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