Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Rapist You Know

The Acquaintance

For most the word "rape" prompts images of dark alleys, attacks by strangers, weapons, and the threat of death. Stranger rape stories quickly make their way onto our nightly news casts and into our morning papers. The media sees the need to warn women that a predator is loose in the community. Collectively we feel vulnerable when a horrific crime happens where we live. We worry about our sisters, friends, and daughters. However, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, stranger rape accounts for only one third of all rapes committed. Approximately 65% of all sexual assaults are committed by acquaintances. The truth is, a man you know is the most likely man to rape you.

Dru Sjodin
Dru Sjodin

Stranger rape is easy to understand. It is an obvious violent assault against an innocent victim. We provide the victim with resources and support. We condemn the rapist as a violent predator. The current trial of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. in the abduction, rape, and murder of 22-year-old Dru Sjodin mirrors the stranger rape scenario that captures the attention of a nation.

Dru had just left her job at a local mall and was talking with her boyfriend on her cell phone when she cried out, "Oh, My God," and her cell phone went dead. Authorities quickly identified Rodriquez, a registered sex offender, as a potential suspect. Four months later, when Dru's body was recovered in a ravine near Rodriquez' home, he was charged with her murder. Dru's abduction by a stranger in a mall parking lot highlights women's greatest fears. But it takes the spotlight away from a more present and likely danger — acquaintance rape.


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