Mind of a serial rapist: Fear excites child sex offenders | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Mind of a serial rapist: Fear excites child sex offenders

Paedophiles such as Sunil Rastogi, the serial rapist who assaulted minor girls across Delhi-NCR, drive gratification from child’s confusion and terror, says Dr Samir Parikh, director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Group of Hospitals.

delhi Updated: Feb 01, 2017 10:02 IST
Sunil Rastogi, the alleged serial rapist, who targeted minor girls aged between 7 and 11 years at several locations in Delhi-NCR and other states, in police custody.
Sunil Rastogi, the alleged serial rapist, who targeted minor girls aged between 7 and 11 years at several locations in Delhi-NCR and other states, in police custody. (HT Photo)

Girls weeping in terror amused and aroused alleged serial rapist Sunil Rastogi, the 38-year-old tailor who wore his “lucky” red jacket to rape countless minors over 13 years across three states.

“Fear arouses child sex offenders and gives them a sense of immense control. Paedophiles by definition target prepubescent children and get immense sado-masochistic gratification from the child’s confusion and terror,” says Dr Samir Parikh, director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Group of Hospitals.

Rastogi, who was driven out of his Kalyanpuri home in east Delhi in 2004 after he assaulted two minors, moved with his wife and five young children to Rudrapur in Uttarakhand, from where he regularly took a train to Delhi to molest girls aged 7 to 11 years.

“Paedophiles often show behaviours linked with impulse control, such as obsessive-compulsive and addictive behaviours,” says Dr Rajesh Sagar, professor of psychiatry at All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

“The impulse control, however, doesn’t make them rash because their lack of guilt and remorse makes it possible for them to clinically plan ahead,” says Dr Sagar.

Read: Delhi ‘serial rapist’ brings back fears, worries for parents of school kids

The lack of impulse control is very different from, say, road rage, where people act on a trigger. “Paedophiles have sexual fantasies and a time comes when they are no longer able to handle it, so they work towards getting gratification,” says Dr Sagar.

Studies using fMRIs and PET scans show structural abnormalities in the frontal and central regions of the brain (low volume of gray brain matter in the central striatum) linked with compulsion, poor judgement and repetitive thoughts.

Rastogi displayed all these traits. He was superstitious bordering on obsessive-compulsive –he travelled to Delhi wearing his “lucky” red jacket only on Sampark Kranti Express on odd dates.

He was so organised that he would mark the dates on a calendar, carry clothes for his victims to entice them, tell his wife he was travelling on work before heading to Delhi to rape little girls.

“This kind of ‘grooming behaviour’ to build trust is typical of paedophiles, who are often people the child trusts. That’s a major reason why disclosure of rape is less than 10% in cases involving children,” said Dr Sagar.

Paedophilia cannot be cured as the sexual urges never go away, which is why treatment focuses on preventing further offences. “Child sex offenders show no remorse and exhibit poor judgement, which keeps rates of repeat offence very high,” Says Dr Parikh. “Knowing they are likely to get away with it adds to the high.”