Hugo Maynard

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning

Physical Description

3, vii, 233 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


Rapists -- Family relationships, Parent and child




This dissertation attempts to find out what associations exist between dysfunctional parental relationships in the childhood of rapists and the rapists' violent acts. It also briefly examines the sociocultural effects which nurture such relationships. Almost every possible type of causation for the crime of rape, covering the areas of biology, sociology, psychology and social psychology, has been studied. However, the effect of parental relationships upon rapists has not received much attention. Rape, a crime very prevalent in our society today, is now perceived as an acute expression of men's contempt for and anger against women. The former interpretation of rape as primarily a sexually motivated crime is no longer popular. This dissertation attempts to trace the origin of the rapist's psyche from his dysfunctional parental relationships. A truly empirical study of rape is almost impossible because of the difficulty in obtaining a random sample of rapists. This situation is brought about for the following reasons. Only a certain percentage of rapes are reported and only a certain percentage of the reported rapists are arrested. Furthermore, only a certain number of arrested rapists are charged with a crime-mainly because of the "unfounding" process by the police-and only a certain number of the charged rapists are finally convicted and incarcerated. These incarcerated, hard-core rapists are usually the only available subjects for researchers studying rapists. So, truly empirical data based on a random sample is almost impossible to obtain. In addition to this predicament, data of the rapists' early home environment or their personality development problems are often left out of research. Due to all of the above reasons, good empirical data on rapists' parental relationships are very rare. Rare data on family relations from a recent FBI survey on 41 serial rapists provided the empirical base for this dissertation. In order to enlarge the sample size for this dissertation, relevant information was extracted from an additional 31 rapists' case histories through content analysis and added to the FBI study. These 31 case histories were drawn from three different sources. Information about the rapists' dominant parental figures and the rapists' positive and negative parental relationships were extracted and tabulated in three separate tables. Relevant information drawn from one additional source was also incorporated into the tables. These three tables were used to clarify the nature of the rapists' parental relationships. In addition, 18 case histories selected from the 31 case histories mentioned above were analyzed in order to show, in more detail, the nature of the rapists' negative parental relationship and its role in the creation of the rapist psyche. The combined result of the FBI study and the 31 case histories, the analysis of the 18 case histories, and information from other sources suggest a strong correlation between the rapists' negative parental relationships and their crime of rape. The data on the rapists were compared to survey responses by 41 imprisoned felons, not convicted of a sexual offense, and by 150 male university students. The comparison revealed important differences in the family relations of the rapists and the other two groups. Our society's self-abusive, aspiritual cultural tendency was briefly examined as the basic influential force in creating negative parental relationships.


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