David Lisak is a researcher and forensic consultant whose work includes the causes and consequences of interpersonal violence and the motives and characteristics of rapists. He consults with colleges and universities, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other institutions regarding sexual assault prevention policies. A featured speaker at the Dartmouth Summit on Sexual Assault, which begins Sunday, July 13, he agreed to speak withDartmouth Now about his work.
In your presentations and testimony on the forensics of sexual assault on college campuses, what information do your audiences generally find most surprising?
The most surprising information is invariably the data that indicate that sexual assault on college campuses looks quite a bit like sexual assault anywhere else in society. A very large percentage of assaults are committed by serial offenders who are quite practiced in their techniques, including their choice of victims. Like all sex offenders, they target individuals whom they view as vulnerable, and they use ruses and manipulations that increase that vulnerability, including the physical isolation of their victims.