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Psychological Force in Sexual OffensesForensic and Treatment Implications (From Handbook of Sex Offender Treatment, P 28-1 - 28-11, 2011, Barbara K. Schwartz, ed. - See NCJ-243091)

NCJ Number
Scott A. Johnson, M.A., L.P.
Date Published
11 pages
Two studies address the prevalence and types of psychological force sex offenders use against victims of their offenses.
One study, an attitudinal survey, reports on responses from high school students about situations in which they could justify using psychological or physical force to obtain sexual contact from their partner. Twenty-six percent to 58 percent of the males and 9-38 percent of the females endorsed the use of psychological force to manipulate partners into having sex of some type. One percent to 4 percent of the males and 1-2 percent of the females endorsed the use of physical force to obtain sexual contact in certain situations. Both males and females supported the use of psychological force when a partner changes his/her mind after previously agreeing to have sex; a male feels that that the potential victim is teasing him; and a husband wishes to have sex with his wife. Surveys were collected during the 1990-1991 school year. Thirteen high schools were included in the survey, which involved 1,011 males and 1,062 females between the ages of 15 and 18. Six schools were urban and six were suburban. The second study obtained responses from sex offenders regarding the types of psychological and physical force they used in committing their sexual offenses. The most frequently used form of psychological force was begging and/or pressuring the victim to engage in sex. Boundary violations were the second most frequently used psychological force, such as stealing or sneaking a kiss and abusing power or authority. Other forms of psychological force used were game playing/manipulation, lying, intimidation, and emotional blackmail. The most frequent forms of physical force included holding down; using restraint; and hitting, slapping, or punching. The study involved 115 sex offenders participating in sex offender programs in Minnesota. The offenders had 530 victims. 1 table, 1 figure, and 19 references