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Chapter 4

CRIM 316 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Social Constructionism, Etiology, Female Promiscuity

Course Code
CRIM 316
Eric Beauregard

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Chapter 4: Cycle of Sexual Offending
Cycle of offending includes planning that goes into offense + cognitive process offender uses to be able to
continue offending (*individuals rarely commit sexual offenses spontaneously)
Rationalization/justification continue offending with little/no remorse, guilt, or shame  cycle repeat
Offense cycle: describes interaction between offender’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors  Shows that
sexual abuse is not random set of acts but is the result of multideterminant decisions
oOffense cycle is able to continue because sex offenders neutralize feelings of guilt, shame, and
responsibility through CDs (Crucial to maintenance of offender’s deviant fantasies, thoughts, and
Includes planning the offense (potential victim & action against victim), grooming (if child), fantasizing
about victim, making decisions to commit offense, and rationalizing offending behavior
The Offense Cycle
Seemingly Irrelevant Decisions (SIDs)  offenders tend to make a series of SIDs decisions that, when taken
together, lead to sexual abuse
oThe decisions on its own don’t constitute as deviant sexual behavior but these SIDs place offender
in environments where they can have access to potential victims through their routine activity
oEx. rapist going to a bar - prior offense occurred against a woman he met at a bar while he was
Offense cycle involves interaction of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Determinants may be:
oSituational (situation where offending is possible); Negative affective states (depression, anger,
loneliness); Based on past learning (abused as child in similar way); Offender’s action reinforced
(pleasure from act)
Steps of offense cycle:
oNegative thoughts (self-pity) lead to Negative feelings (anger, frustration, loneliness, inadequacy)
oFeelings & thoughts interact and lead to Negative behavior (SIDs that lead to withdrawal from
oMore loneliness & isolation = lack of communication = Original negative thoughts & feelings
unresolved = further heightens intimacy deficits of offender
oOnce offender settle in negative thought-feeling-behavior cycle and may experience inappropriate
sexual thoughts or fantasies which lead to masturbation (positive reinforcement from pleasure)
oNegative thoughts & feelings begin to wane, further reinforcing negative behavior
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oBegin showing deviant behavior, target victim, & engage in fantasy rehearsals of future abuse of
the victim
oOffender begins to plan abusive acts and “groom” victim then abuse (positive reinforcement from
oLead to negative feelings (anxiety, guilt, & fear) despite release of tension  Offense cycle repeat
Grooming and Planning
Grooming: premeditated behavior intended to manipulate potential victim into complying with the sexual
1. Seduction (& testing of the child) – sexual activity initiated after common interaction such as tickling or
2. Catching victim by surprise – offender plans for lengthy time but no opportunity to offender manipulates
situation to that he is alone with victim or takes advantage of opportunity that presents itself
3. Verbal or physical coercion – manipulation, threat or physical force or physical force (ex. weapons)
4. Masking sex in game context – schemes meant to trick victim into participating in sexual acts (ex.
5. Emotional and verbal coercion (most common) – Tactic often used by incest offenders – bribery, lack of
disciplinary action in exchange for sexual favour, emotional blackmail if no comply, incentives such as
6. (Claim) Victim initiated contact and instigated sexual behavior – Claim to be carrying on behavior once
victim initiates  plausible explanation is that offenders have distorted perception of abuse and believe
victim culpable
Opportunistic offenders, particularly rapists, tend not to recognize level of planning that goes into offense
but later realize there was planning involved
Persistence of Offending behavior
Before offense: Offender must overcome internal or external inhibitions in order to commit the offense
After offense: additional factors must be present to maintain deviant behavior
oAlmost universally exhibit distorted thought process of CDs = allow them to continue with no
oFantasies + CDs = allow offender to continue participating in inappropriate relationship
Often blame external factors: stress, alcohol, strained marital relations  They act as “triggers” for sexual
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