Serial Rapists on Campuses and in the Military

  • Jacquelyn White, PhD

    Many initiatives assume that the vast majority of campus and military rapes are committed by a small group of perpetrators labeled serial rapists or serial predators. The scientific foundation for this perspective is limited; often not peer reviewed, and lacks replication. This presentation will discuss empirical evidence based on a longitudinal trajectory analysis that undermines the assumption of serial predators. The studies that support the notion of serial rapists will be critiqued. Suggestions for researchers, practitioners, advocates, and policy makers will be offered. We suggest the need to (1) exercise more caution in the language used to characterize men who rape; (2) promote sexual and relationship health before high school rapes begin; (3) recognize the heterogeneity of rapists and avoid one-size-fits-all institutional responses to misconduct resolution or sexual violence prevention; and (4) prioritize procedures to identify rapists who are persisting across time.