Criminology has often been presented as one of the male-centered (otherwise termed androcentric) area of study in the category of social sciences. Much of the research and theories have majorly inclined towards male criminality and the way the justice system has responded to such male offenders. Women have only been the focus in instances of stereotypes. Criminality in the context of the female gender has only been applied in a paternalistic view with scholars claiming that women have possibly been represented in negative perspective or when they have failed to adhere to social, traditional models relevant to society. Further, in the quest of making criminology an independent social science, most of the research has been based on official records. The impact of this is that this science has failed to capture the important patterns of crime and how they are related or influenced by gender. Feminist criminology is therefore majorly based on exploring male and female offenses as well as how the justice system responds to such crimes.
Feminist criminology ideally places gender in focus in highlighting crimes committed by women and how various justice systems respond to the criminal activities.
It is evident that males traditionally commit offenses on a larger scale and importantly those that the society considers to be more sensitive and serious compared to those committed by women. Because women commit less crime and those that are comparatively less significant, criminology in women was less explored initially.
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It is this that feminist criminology seeks to address.
Feminist criminology focusses on various theories and methodology applied in criminology. This field concentrates on a vast range of issues surrounding female offenders. Not only does this field focus on the gender explanation of crime, but it also touches on special needs of female convicts and response to crimes committed by women by the justice systems. However, this concept majorly highlights how the gender structure of the society influences crime. Feminist criminology, therefore, tends to incline towards questioning the victimization of women.
This philosophy tends to explain the cause of criminal behavior in women.
The law has been structured to nab male offenders. Naturally, men are known to commit more crimes. With this and the fact that most research has been focused towards male offenders, there has emerged a great disparity between the sentencing and action towards offenders based on their sexes. Women tend to be protected by the law regardless as to whether they are victims or offenders. This notion has been drawn from the notion that women and weaker and vulnerable and, therefore, have to be protected. Women, therefore, tend to exploit this fact encouraging them to commit the crime where they could have avoided.
Victimization is a complex concept cutting across a given number of elements. The effects and costs of victimization are drawn from these the elements of primary victimization.
Certain crimes have an element of emotional or psychological impact on the victims. Some of the psychological effects suffered by victims include such things as depression and anxiety disorders. These effects can cause a direct effect on the quality of life of the victim.
Social relationships and interactions can often be affected by victimization. Social relations between the victim and interested parties is often strained due to the tension that may surround a certain case that touches on the rival interests of the two groups.
Victimization may cause financial challenges to the victim. Legal tussles often come with an aspect of cost. There may be a cost of hiring an attorney that is considered an indirect cost to the victim. The crime itself can also cost the victim regarding damages.
Exposure/lifestyle theory (developed by Hindelang, Gottfredson, and Garofalo) attempts to explain the concept of victimization. This theory purports that an individual is more likely to face victimization based on their lifestyles. This exposure theory is founded based on certain principles; that criminal victimization is distributed over time and space. This leads to a situation in which there exists both high-risk times and high-risk places. The offenders are not essentially drawn from the general population. They constitute a separate high-risk population that is more likely to commit an offense CITATION Got81 p 125 l 2057 (Gottfredson & Hindelang, 1981, p. 125)Lifestyle influences the likelihood that someone may be victimized due to the variables of association and exposure. Personal lifestyle, therefore, influences the exposure and association to crime.
This theory is rather accurate in its attempt to link lifestyle and the concept of victimization. It is clear that people are more likely to enter the zone of victimization based on the kind of lifestyle they live and the people they associate with. Simply put there is a direct association between the two variables. For instance, if you choose to sleep early, you are deemed to be less at risk compared to if you stay up late in bars. This is simply because lifestyle spans the things that one does daily whether discretionary or obligatory.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Gottfredson, M., & Hindelang, M. (1981). Sociological aspects of criminal victimization. Annual Review of Sociology, 107-128.
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