Added: November 5, 2016 – Last updated: November 5, 2016


Authors: Lauren E. Wright, Thomas Vander Ven, and Clara Fesmire

Title: American Serial Rape, 1940–2010

Subtitle: An Estimation and Analysis of the Social Profile of Offenders, Styles of Attack, and Historical Trends as Depicted in Newspaper Accounts

Journal: Criminal Justice Review

Volume: Published online before print


Year: 2016 (Published online: October 7, 2016)


ISSN: 0734-0168 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1556-3839 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | American History: U.S. History | Types: Serial Rape


Link: SAGE Publications (Restricted Access)



Thomas Vander Ven, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Ohio University at Athens – ResearchGate

Lauren E. Wright, Department of Sociology, University of Central Florida

Abstract: »Little is known about the social correlates of serial rape or about trends in offending across time and space in the United States. Furthermore, the limited serial rape scholarship that exists was largely generalized from small, captive samples. The current study aims to amplify our understanding of serial rape by pursuing three fundamental objectives. First, guided by theory and research we propose a new, more precise, and comprehensive conceptualization of serial rape. Next, we draw from media representations of serial rape published in five major American newspapers from 1940 to 2010 to develop an offender social profile and to identify patterns in attack style. Our analysis of a broad and diverse sample of serial offenders described in media accounts (N = 1,037) produced the following profile estimates—age: 27 years; race/ethnicity: African American, 46%; Caucasian, 29%; Latino, 19%; Asian, 5%. Most offenders were employed in unskilled or semiskilled occupations and the most common attack strategy was the surprise approach (47%). Finally, our data allow us to estimate and interpret historical trends as depicted in media accounts. Our analysis revealed low levels of serial rape in newspaper accounts during the 1940s to 1950s, followed by a steady increase (with periodic decreases) leading to a peak in 1991. This peak is followed by a steady and dramatic decline from 1992 to 2010.« (Source: )

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of the United States / History of the United States (1918–45), History of the United States (1945–64), History of the United States (1964–80), History of the United States (1980–91), History of the United States (1991–present) | Rape in the United States | Types of rape: Serial rapist