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Chapter 4

CRIM 316 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Xist (Gene), Cognitive Distortion, Emotional Blackmail

Course Code
CRIM 316
Eric Beauregard

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CH 4: Cycle of Sexual Offending
Offence cycle Planning that goes into the offence + cognitive process that the offender uses to be able to continue
o Offence rarely spontaneous, usually with a level of planning/grooming that leads up to the offence
o They neutralize their feelings through cognitive distortions feel little or no remorse, guilt or shame
The Offence Cycle
Offenders make a series of decisions prior to committing the sexual act decisions may transpire long term or may also
occur quickly if there is a situation where an abusive opportunity is present
Rarely a straightforward decision to just abuse but series of decisions, taken together, lead to abuse
o Series of seemingly irrelevant decisions (SIDs) create a pro-environment for the offenders
Eg: rapist go to bar where his prior offence occurred against a woman he met at bar while he was
intoxicated; convicted child sexual abuser who goes to the corner deli at 3pm when children in his
neighborhood get out of school and stop to get snacks
These SIDs do not make deviant sexual thoughts normally, but it place the offenders in environments in
which they have access to potential victims through their routine activates
Cognitive Distortions
Offence cycle involves multiple determinants, including the integration of thoughts, feelings and behaviours
o Determinants may be situation in nature (in a situation in which offending is possible)
o May involve negative affective states (Depression, anger, or loneliness)
o Based on past learning (offender was abused in a similar way as a child)
o Offender’s action may be reinforced (pleasure derived from the abusive act)
Ties together theories from earlier (preconditions, opportunity structure, cognitive distortion)
Several steps involved in the offence cycle:
o Offender has negative thoughts (lead to self-pity-nobody likes me, I’m no good) Leads to negative feelings
(anger, frustration, loneliness, inadequacy)
Negative thoughts + feelings interact lead to negative abusive behavior; make SIDs that withdraw from
others Result is further loneliness and isolation lack of communication that causes the original
negative thoughts and feelings to go unresolved further heightens the intimacy defects of the offenders
o Now in this negative thought-feeling-behaviour cycle experience inappropriate sexual thoughts or fantasies
May not act upon fantasies right away, but can lead to masturbation where pleasure is derived
Positive reinforcement (masturbation) = offender’s negative thoughts are reinforced
o Then targets victim and engaging in the fantasy rehearsal of future abuse of victim
Then begin planning / grooming when adequate, will abuse the victim
Positively reinforce original fantasy
Sometimes can lead to negative feelings (anxiety) “What have I done? Will I get caught?”
Grooming and Planning
Child abusers tend to have a greater awareness of the planning than do those who sexual assault adults, because “groom”
children before engaging them in a sexual act
o Grooming (not specific, but most in sexual abusers) = premeditated behavior intended to manipulate the potential
victim into complying with the sexual abuse
o Some do not recognize the behavior, and deny, but some develop elaborate schemes
Pryor describes several METHODS by which child abusers approach and engage their victims in sexual behaviors
o Emotional and verbal coercion
Most common tactic
Victims almost always given incentives in order to comply (money, gifts)
Eg Bribes or lack of disciplinary action in exchange for sexual favors;
Emotional blackmail if the victim does not comply
Often tactic with incest offenders; or offenders who have regular contact with their victims
o Seduction and testing = sexual activity is initiated after a common interaction (tickling or bathing)
Child is seduced and sexual behavior is ‘tested’, increasing incrementally unless the child overtly said to
stop (eg dad bath child, touches, eventually intercourse)
o Catching the victim by surprise
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