Sexual Assault Sequence: 'Nice Guys' Do Rape -Part 2

Updated: Sep 28, 2018

Familiar predators engage in a pattern of behavior that involves seven progressive steps. Each step is clearly identifiable and builds upon the preceding step. He must find success with each one before he proceeds to the next. From the desk of Steve Thompson, here is the Sexual Assault Sequence as found in the results of the interviews with familiar sex offenders and their targets from 1983 to present.

Step One: TARGET SELECTIONThis is perhaps the most critical step.

What the predator is looking for is a woman he knows, one who he feels will be flattered by his attention, and easily controlled. Physical appearance such as beauty or clothing seldom have anything to do with being selected as a target. If he has more than one potential target that meets his criteria, physical appearance may then enter the selection criteria. She could be a friend of a friend, co-worker, someone he sees regularly in a bar or other setting. She will generally be younger than him. For example, he is a junior or senior in college and she is a freshman; he is the high school junior that takes the freshman to prom, he is the high school graduate that takes the high school junior or senior to homecoming, he is the worker that has been on the job a few years and she is the new hire. He will select her in a social setting where she has friends and feels comfortable.

Step Two: APPROACH AND EVALUATE

His goal in this step is to determine if he can get his target away from the group, and ultimately "score" with her. Once he has selected a potential target he needs to get close to her and determine if she is someone who will be flattered by his attention and allow him to exert subtle control over her. For example, he would approach her and ask if he can sit with her while pulling up a chair, giving her little chance to say yes or no.

"Keep in mind this is a person who does not like to be rejected."

He rarely puts himself into a position where his target is given the time and space to maintain her control. He will talk with her and be very attentive. In an environment where alcohol is present, he will attempt to see that her glass is never empty. The more he can get her to drink, the more control he feels he has. He plans to incorporate alcohol and/or drugs as tools to help him succeed. The more alcohol or drugs in her body, the more control he feels he can have over her. Much like a carpenter uses a hammer; the Nice Guy relies on alcohol and drugs.


He wants her to trust him, be attracted to him, and be submissive to him. Shortly before he is ready to move to the third step of the sequence, he frequently engages in some behavior that is somewhat inappropriate. He does this to gauge if she is ready for him to move on to the next step. Does she confront his behavior, or does she ignore it? For example, he might tell a dirty story, his hand may lightly brush her breast, or his leg may rub against hers. Often women whom he preys upon will say that there was a time when they felt uncomfortable by his language or behavior, yet they seldom confront him because he is such a "nice guy".

Date/acquaintance rape predators show a remarkable ability to evaluate a potential target. If he does not get the feeling that he will be successful he quickly moves on to another potential target. However, if he finds success with her he will move on to the next step.

Step Three: SEPARATION This third step in the assault sequence is critical.

If he cannot get his target to a location where they are alone, he cannot succeed. During the course of his evaluation of her he has determined if she lives alone, or if anyone would be home that night. If there is no one at her home, and he lives alone or has roommates that would not interfere the process is easier. The statement: "your place or mine?”, takes on new meaning because whichever choice she makes will work to his advantage due to the fact they will be alone.

"Approximately eighty-five percent of the time the location where date/acquaintance assault occurs is either her residence or his."

By this step of the sequence he is relatively sure that when he moves to separate her from her friends, she will agree. Typically, he will use an excuse such as; "it is too noisy, too smoky, I want to be alone with you, let's go to my place to listen to my new CD, let's take a walk, etc..." He is very charming and manipulative in this step. Date/acquaintance predators are very consistent as well. They tend to repeat behaviors and statements that work. Jenny, a student at a mid-western university, told this account of an assault which happened to her: "I went to the bar with several of my friends. We were sitting around talking, having a good time, when this guy I sort of knew came up and sat down next to me. He was really nice, and good looking. He bought me drinks and we talked. Later on, he was resting his hand on my thigh, but I really didn't think too much about it at the time. At about 11:00 my friends wanted to leave. Jeff told them he would take me home. I agreed. In a while we left. Jeff asked me if I wanted a cup of coffee before he took me home. Though I don't drink coffee I wanted to spend more time with him. As we passed the restaurant I asked him where we were going. He told me he likes a special kind of coffee that he already has made at his place. I became uncomfortable and he must have sensed it because he then said, “What's the matter, don't you trust me." I felt foolish and apologized. We went to his place and then...." This is a classic example of familiar predator behavior; nice, charming, yet manipulative. He knew what he was doing.

Because we believe that this subject is so extremely important, this blog is Part 2 of 3 in our "Nice Guys" Rape series. Stay tuned for Part 3: the second half of the Sexual Assault Sequence.


If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual assault, speak out. There is a good amount of support these days. You are not alone. Don't let the perpetrator be allowed to move on to his next victim.

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