It Could Happen to Anyone
Shara, who died after jumping from a freeway overpass into rush hour traffic, was
exploited by a rapist who could accurately be described as armed and dangerous; an
accomplished deceiver who had raped before.
Without exception, victims describe two predominant characteristics of their rapists:
They are charismatic, ostensibly attractive personalities, likely to be widely admired,
but with a naturally manipulative nature.
They can completely conceal their true selves.
These two observations draw attention to one of the central features of such behavior:
Emotional rape can happen to anyone. The widely varying backgrounds and personalities
of those who have already become victims demonstrate the danger in thinking otherwise; in
believing "It could never happen to me."
It is sometimes difficult to believe that no moral responsibility rests with the victim -
because he or she was weak, naive, or otherwise "to blame" - but that it lies
with the rapist, whose ability to conceal his or her true self is such that almost anyone
could be deceived.
The next chapter (which addresses the question, What Makes Emotional Rape Possible?) looks
at the reasons why such a wide range of people are vulnerable to this traumatic
The focus here is mainly on the rapist, examining what it is that makes an individual
capable of this form of psychological aggression.