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CRIM 316 Chapter Notes -Sex Offender, Karl Abraham, Child Abuse

Course Code
CRIM 316
Eric Beauregard

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Most victims know their attackers – aggravates the recovery process
Lifetime victimization – 30% girls; 13% boys
Often multiple forms of direct (assault, maltreatment, sexual vic) and indirect (witness
crime) victimization
Sexual abuse happens across social, economic, and ethnic boundaries
CJS exacerbates feelings of critogenesis for victim – revictimization by legal processes +
hospital + police, etc
Overview of Research On Sexual Victimization
1907 – early classifications (by Karl Abraham)
o accidental = violent abuse; perpetrator stranger; victim they have been wronged
o participant victims = victim knows perpetrator; victim does not fully understand
but often given reward; often more than one experience
Early research – did not think abuse was common
o Freud: said abuse was fantasy; woman predisposed to bring false accusation
against men
1930s – victim blaming
o Child ‘unusually attractive’, act seductively manner; child was actual seducer
1940s – Victimology: focus on typologies, and victim precipitation of abuse, understand
individual vulnerability to victim ! little attention on prevalence and impact of
1960s – Victim’s right movement began
o 3 elements: (1) guaranteeing victim participation in criminal proceedings (2)
securing financial benefits and service (3) secure more certain and harsher
punishment for perpetrators
o Increase research of child sex abuse – findings:
" Most perpetrators were adults who knew the children they abused
" The long term damage to children who were abused could be
1970s – sexual abuse became focus: child protection professionals, child welfare
organztns, feminist movement
o Empirical research; launch of journals
o Critical issue: the extent of Intrafamilial abuse and abuse by those in a position
of authority
o Far more common than once believed
o Correlation between child sex abuse and adult psychological symptoms and
1980s – focused on the trauma of sexual abused
o Psychological trauma, DSM-III added PTSD – sex abuse trauma was considered
1990s – full protection movements
o Court proceedings: introduced victim impact statements
o More research continues

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Physical Harm
Victims of rape and sexual assault are NOT likely to face armed offenders
o Less likely to do so than victims of any other violent offences
o Only 6% of sex offenders threaten victims with weapon
Even if no weapon; often physical injuries (bruises, black eyes, cuts, etc)
Some medically unexplained symptoms (experienced by victims of sexual abuse long
term in childhood)
o Somatization ! allows the victim to express emotional pain through physical
symptoms (eg back pain, pelvic pain, headaches)
Other medical problems:
o sexually transmitted disease (30% of rapes; HIV 0.2%)
o pregnancy (5% of rapes)
Psychological Reaction
Victimized as youth -> show higher levels of mental health problems as adults
o Fear + Anxiety = more prevalent psyc reactions
" Fear during crime, lead to nervousness, specific anxiety about future
assaults, then generalized anxiety
" Anxiety-related disorders (phobias, panic disorders, OCD, eating
disorders, sleep disturbance)
o Depression
" Esp if ongoing abuse and offender was someone close
" Fatigue, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, suicidal thoughts; emotional
deprivation, Low self-esteem, self blaming
" Withdraw from social interaction – further cycle of depression
" Lead to PTSD
Link b/t childhood victimization and future delinquency, including sexual offending
o More often in males
" Sex offender more likely experienced sex abuse when child, than non sex
" Adult sex offenders who abuse male child – more likely to have history of
abuse – than those who abuse against female child only
o Affect sexual trajectories ! sexual dysfunction, avoidance/loss of sexual
satisfaction, increased sexual activity
" Masturbate at earlier age than non-abused
" May link to deviant interests
" Confusion about sexual identity (esp in men)
o *overall no strong link between
Women: Internalize their reactions
o Suffer psychological and emotional problems / Physically harm themselves rather
than others
o Experience behavioral responses - crying, pulling out hair, hitting or burning
themselves, substance abuse, and adverse sexual behavior

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o Some talk about experience in details; many remain in denial and do not talk to
o Some act out and abuse others: research found those in prison experienced more
prior abuse; abused both as adults and young; many have parents with alcohol and
drug problems – more likely to harm others if do not have support of a secure
family unit
Men: Externalize their feelings
o As a reaction to the assault, they attempt to reassert their masculinity through the
stigmatization of others -- feelings come from anger and a need to retain socially
constructed feelings of power and control associated with masculinity today
" Inclination to act out- some will go on to physical or sexually abuse others
(not all!)
o Commonly experience confusion over sexual identity as a reaction to assault
o Also experience self-blame and embarrassment ! some may experience erection
and ejaculate, common reaction to pain but may associate with pleasure and
consent ! rapist may try to get victim to ejaculate and thereby reinforce feelings
of power and control and the myth that victim ‘wanted it’
Rape Trauma Syndrome
Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS) = stress response pattern of the victim following forced,
nonconsenting sexual activity
o Long term responses; recurrent recollection of event, reduced involvement in
environment, hyper-alertness, disturbed sleep patterns, guilt, avoidance of
activities that arouse recollection
Stages after victimization:
o Denial, anger, grief, depression, taking action, acceptance
o Anticipatory, impact, reconstitution, resolution
o Shock (anxiety, guilt, fear) -> denial (tries to forget, depression, grief) ->
integration (cope and return)
o Victims experience these stages, but everyone different
o Factors: type and severity of assault, environments in which they recover, type
and timing of interventions
Secondary Victims
Secondary victims = friends, family, people close to victim – also also significantly
affected by the sexual abuse
3 types of mothers of incest survivors:
o Collusive mother: knows the abuse is occurring and ignores it
" Lack guilt and anxiety about the abuse; she may psychologically impaired
+ has pushed the child into the abusive situation
o Powerless mother: want to help child cannot because she is weak and defenseless
to father
" Mother is a victim herself
o Protective mother: help child if becomes aware of abuse
" Has alternative resources outside marriage – surprise about abuse and feels
guilt and empathy towards child
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