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Individual sexual violence and group sexual violence: what are they?

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Talking about sexual violence can be controversial, given the impact he has on society and due to historically transmitted popular belief on the subject.

When we hear news about a sexual assault, we automatically imagine a male individual, with some mental disorder and somewhat out of adjustment with society, that he lurks in the darkness to a young woman he does not know to force her sexually in some hidden place and we are greatly surprised to discover that in the vast majority of cases, this is not what happens.

  • Related article: "The 11 types of violence (and the different types of aggression)"

Some statistics to understand the problem

According to a macro-survey conducted by the government in 2017, only in 18% of cases is the sexual assault carried out by a stranger, which means that 82% of sexual assaults are produced by people known to the victim.

Another relevant piece of information highlighted by the report on multiple sexual assaults in Spain (2016-2018) is that in 98% of the cases the aggressors are men, aged between 18 and 47 years, and the female victims between 18 and 32 years of half. Likewise, the most common scenarios where the attacks took place were the street and the victim's home, with the same percentage of 27%.

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It should be mentioned, however, that in sexual assaults carried out by strangers, more violence is usually exercised against the victim by the perpetrator and the experience of this usually leads to a greater feeling of helplessness and fear for the victim's own survival.

How to explain the motivation to sexually assault?

It is difficult to make a profile of sexual offender, although some common traits can be established.

They are normal-looking people with average intelligence, from all cultural, religious and economic groups, who do not necessarily have a psychiatric pathology. Although they can present traits of neuroticism, introversion, immaturity, self-centeredness and low self-esteem. But by themselves, the exposed features would not be sufficient or decisive to commit a sexual assault.

Other factors should also be considered, such as poor learning of behavioral inhibition, poor parental educational models, severe and inconsistent parental discipline, aggressive and / or alcoholic parents, physical and sexual abuse in childhood and notable social deficits, which prevent them from establishing relationships appropriate to their age.

Likewise, the fact of committing a crime of a sexual nature may be preceded by prolonged emotional states of stress, sexual arousal, outbursts of anger, alcohol abuse and moods such as depression, anxiety, anger or loneliness or the interrelation of one or more of these factors.

Finally, it is worth mentioning two important and inherent aspects of the exercise of any type of violence: a distorted thought that can lead to rationally justify the conduct carried out and minimize the damage caused to the victim and a context or circumstances conducive to carrying out the aggression.

  • You may be interested: "The 7 types of gender violence (and characteristics)"

What about group sexual assaults?

What has been exposed so far would help us to explain the sexual assaults that are produced by a single individual with the intention of satisfying her sexual desires and fantasies, but... What happens in the rest of the cases?

Until a couple of years ago group sexual assaults were not considered in the studies and they were almost invisible to society. Since 2016, we have witnessed an increase in complaints of group rapes, going from 15 cases that year to 25 cases, between January and June 2018. Despite this increase in complaints, we still do not have data to help us clarify why these types of attacks occur.

According to the experts, a paradox takes place in gang rapes; most members of an assailant group would never rape alone, it is not necessary for the subject to be a psychopath, a sadist or an antisocial to be involved in a group performance of this type, a fact that differentiates them and moves them away from the profile of an aggressor sexual.

Trying to explain this phenomenon, Dr. N. G. Berrill, a forensic psychologist, states that gang rapes are often carried out by young adults and argues that "there is something related with the typical social psychology of these groups that could contextualize violent group behaviors that would otherwise result inexplicable ”.

Other authors, such as the group of Doctor Oliveros, support the hypothesis of the influence and cohesion of the group as explanatory of the realization of sexual assaults, arguing that adolescents and young adults are in stages of life in which the sense of belonging to the group, the importance of reputation and submission to the leader acquire relevance extraordinary.

Returning to the aforementioned Dr. Berrill, he alleges that the fact that the gang rapists are men is not the product of chance, since the threat of feeling rejected or censored by their peers is sufficient motivation for some young people to commit violations.

Although the author also points to a neurological underdevelopment, characteristic of this evolutionary stage. The frontal lobe, where the execution functions are located, such as the distinction between good and evil, would be still under development.

On the other hand, something that all the authors agree on is pointing to drugs and alcohol as factors that increase the risk of committing a group sexual assault. On the other hand, one of the most significant characteristics, when carrying out violent behaviors in a group, is that responsibility for one's own actions is diluted and it does not fall on oneself, but on all members.

Concluding

Despite the above, there seems to be a lack of arguments to explain this type of aggression and one wonders the weight of traditional, patriarchal and macho cultureIn committing these types of crimes, are they an attempt to demonstrate male superiority? An attempt to subdue the woman? Experts in gender violence advocate this hypothesis, even so, we are faced with a phenomenon with difficult explanation.

Bibliographic references:

  • Alarcón, T. (2017). Madrid. Europapress: Sexual violence in Spain. From statistical silence to noise in the streets. Recovered from: Http://europapress.es
  • Atencio, G. (2016-2018). Sexual geoviolence. Multiple sexual assaults in Spain. Recovered from Htt: //geoviolenciasexual.com
  • Castro, M.; López, A.; Sueiro, E. (2009). Psychopathological profile of sexual offenders. Notebooks of psychosomatic medicine and psychiatry. Recovered from: Http://editorialmedica.com
  • Garza, J.; Diaz-Michel, E. (1996). Elements for the study of rape. Recovered from Http://www.s-lex.europa.eup.org
  • Oliveros, S. (2018). Doctor Oliveros group. Herd rapists: group dynamics and clinical characteristics. Recovered from Http://www.grupodoctoroliveros.com
  • WHO. (2013). Understand and address violence against women. Recovered from: Http://apps.who.int
  • Ramirez, C. (2018). Hufftingtonpost. The Other Herds: Reports of group sexual assault skyrocket in 2018. Recovered from: Http://www.hufftingtonpost.es
  • The U.S. Department of justice. NSOPW. Become aware of sexual abuse. Facts and statistics. Recovered from Http://www.nsopw.gov
  • Tourjée, D. (2016). What Causes Some Young Men To Gang Rape? Recovered from Http://www.vice.com
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