Criminology Feminist Victimization Theories
Courtney Crittenden, Christina Policastro
  • LAST MODIFIED: 11 January 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0231


Much of feminist theory focuses on offending, particularly among women. However, there is a growing body of literature related to feminist victimization theory and/or examining victimization through a feminist lens. This research attempts to better understand how gender influences victimization risk, types of victimization experienced, and other key factors. A major component of all feminist theories is that gender is socially constructed. Yet, even though it is “only” a social construction, it has very real and tangible consequences in our society. While feminist theories have historically noted the privilege differential between men and women in society, current feminist theories often include other social dimensions such as race, class, and sexuality. All of these social dimensions illustrate privilege and marginalization in American society (and many other Western nations) and have an impact on the victimization of individuals. In this bibliography, feminist victimization theories are categorized into gender and victimization, the gendering of traditional victimology and criminology, patriarchy and victimization, feminist theories explaining violence against women, feminist theories of intersectionality and victimization, and feminism and its impact on the broader field of victimology and criminal justice.

Gender and Victimization

There is much literature which examines how gender impacts victimization in general and then more specifically by type of victimization. For instance, Belknap 2014 focuses on women’s experiences with various components of the criminal justice system, including how victimization shapes the female experience with offending and justice. Other research examines specific types of victimization such as Lauritsen and Carbone-Lopez 2011 and Daigle and Mummert 2014 which examine risk factors for violent victimization and Wilcox, et al. 2009 which explores school victimization. Some works like May, et al. 2010 have also investigated how gender influences individuals’ fear of crime and perceived victimization risk. Another line of inquiry examines how women’s victimization experiences influence involvement in criminal behavior. Chesney-Lind 1997 underscores the influence of violent victimization in childhood and how this leads to offending in adulthood, while Miller 1998 and Miller and Decker 2001 examine how female involvement in gangs influences female adolescents’ offending, as well as victimization risk. Daly 1992 examines women’s pathways to crime and how these often involve violence and trauma for women and girls.

  • Belknap, J. 2014. The invisible woman: Gender, crime, and justice. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

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    This book provides an in-depth look at how gender affects the experiences of females who enter the criminal justice system as offenders, victims, and/or professionals with special attention to how females’ early childhood experiences with victimization and trauma affect life trajectories and the nature of offending.

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    • Chesney-Lind, M. 1997. The female offender: Girls, women, and crime. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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      Chesney-Lind, in her seminal work, discusses the importance of trauma and abuse in the lives of female offenders across the life-course and how the criminal justice system may be used to further subjugate or marginalize girls and women.

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      • Daigle, L. E., and S. J. Mummert. 2014. Sex-role identification and violent victimization: Gender differences in the role of masculinity. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 29.2: 255–278.

        DOI: 10.1177/0886260513505148Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Daigle and Mummert investigate how one’s identification of being feminine, masculine, androgynous, or undifferentiated influences the risk of being the victim of a violent, non-sexual victimization.

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        • Daly, K. 1992. Women’s pathways to felony court: Feminist theories of lawbreaking and problems of representation. Southern California Review of Law & Women’s Studies 2:11–52.

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          Daly categorizes women who commit crime and explores how women’s lives including experienced victimizations lead women to crime.

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          • Lamb, S., ed. 1999. New versions of victims: Feminists struggle with the concept. New York: New York Univ. Press.

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            Lamb highlights the limitations of the social constructions of victims as either individuals to whom nothing of significance happened or were at fault for their victimization or as individuals who will have to bear lifelong suffering due to their trauma and how victimologists should work to overcome these oversimplified categorizations.

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            • Lauritsen, J. L., and K. Carbone-Lopez. 2011. Gender differences in risk factors for violent victimization: An examination of individual-, family-, and community-level predictors. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 48.4: 538–565.

              DOI: 10.1177/0022427810395356Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Lauritsen and Carbone-Lopez use data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to examine whether victimization risks vary by gender when assessing individual, family, and community level factors on violent victimization and find that often risk factors among males and females are similar, however there are some important gender differences.

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              • May, D. C., N. E. Rader, and S. Goodrum. 2010. A gendered assessment of the “threat of victimization”: Examining gender differences in fear of crime, perceived risk, avoidance, and defensive behaviors. Criminal Justice Review 35.2: 159–182.

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                Based on data from a sample of two thousand adult residents in a single state, this study demonstrates that gender differences exist in the different dimensions of Rader’s latent construct, threat of victimization which includes the culminating factors: avoidance, defensive behaviors, perceived risks, and fear of crime.

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                • Miller, J. 1998. Gender and victimization risk among young women in gangs. Journal of research in crime and delinquency 35.4: 429–453.

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                  Relying on qualitative data, Miller highlights how female gang members navigate risk within and outside of their gangs, establishing that some behaviors (i.e., abstaining from criminal activity) may be protective against violence from rival gangs while simultaneously placing females at risk of victimization by their fellow gang members.

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                  • Miller, J., and S. H. Decker. 2001. Young women and gang violence: Gender, street offending, and violent victimization in gangs. Justice Quarterly 18.1: 115–140.

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                    A multi-method analysis involving qualitative interview data with young female gang members and quantitative homicide data reveals gender influences the social structure of gangs in such a way that female members are at a decreased risk of physical victimization compared to their male gang-involved counterparts.

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                    • Wilcox, P., M. S. Tillyer, and B. S. Fisher. 2009. Gendered opportunity? School-based adolescent victimization. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 46:245–269.

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                      Drawing upon the concept of the principle of homogamy, this study investigates how gender moderates the effects of criminal opportunity on youth victimization and provides evidence for gender-specific, as well as gender-neutral, risk factors for victimization within the context of school victimization.

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                      Gendering Traditional Victimology/Criminology

                      Victimologists often rely heavily on the integration of two theoretical perspectives, Routine Activities Theory and Lifestyle Exposure Theory, to provide an understanding of individual victimization risk. An integrated Lifestyles/Routine Activities Perspective allows for an understanding of how individual variation in lifestyles affects the key elements of victimization risk: the convergence of a motivated offender with a suitable target lacking capable guardianship. As with feminist criminology, there are several methods in which theories focusing on gender can be developed. One method of including women into victimization theories is to incorporate gender into existing theories that have not traditionally examined how gender impacts crime and victimization. This is particularly true with integrating gender into the Lifestyles/Routine Activities Theory in an attempt to understand differential risk of victimization across the sexes as many of the articles below have attempted to do. Specifically, Henson, et al. 2010; Jensen and Brownfield 1986; Peterson, et al. 2016; and Popp and Peguero 2010 all examine the influence of sex on lifestyle/routine activity behaviors, and subsequently how these behaviors influence victimization risk. Button and Worthen 2014 also attempts to include feminist concepts into the General Strain Theory when examining non-heterosexual youth. Additionally, Fox, et al. 2016 incorporates gender and feminist themes into several traditional criminological theories in an attempt to explain victimization.

                      • Button, D. M, and M. G. F. Worthen. 2014. General strain theory for LGBQQ and SSB youth: The importance of intersectionality in the future of feminist criminology. Feminist Criminology 9.4: 270–297.

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                        The authors apply an intersectional framework using the general strain theory in order to better understand how the relationship between victimization experiences and negative outcomes of high school age youth varies by gender, sexual identity, and sexual behavior.

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                        • Fox, K. A., M. R. Nobles, and B. S. Fisher. 2016. A multi-theoretical framework to assess gendered stalking victimization: The utility of self-control, social learning, and control balance theories. Justice Quarterly 33.2: 319–347.

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                          Noting that studies have rarely applied theoretical frameworks to explore the causal processes underlying stalking victimization, the authors examine the utility of three distinct criminological theories for understanding stalking victimization risk for male and female university students.

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                          • Henson, B., P. Wilcox, B. W. Reyns, and F. T. Cullen. 2010. Gender, adolescent lifestyles, and violent victimization: Implications for routine activity theory. Victims & Offenders 5.4: 303–328.

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                            This study investigates the mediating and moderating effects of gender on minor and serious assault victimization risk with a focus on how gender’s effects on delinquency affect risk, and provides more support for the idea that the effects of gender on victimization risk are mediated by lifestyle behaviors.

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                            • Jensen, G. F., and D. Brownfield. 1986. Gender, lifestyles, and victimization: Beyond routine activity. Violence and Victims 1.2: 85–99.

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                              An analysis of the effects of delinquency on victimization risk among youths with emphasis on how gender differences in victimization are reduced when controlling for delinquent behavior.

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                              • Peterson, S., N. V. Lasky, B. S. Fisher, and P. Wilcox. 2016. Gendered opportunity and school-based victimization: An integrated approach. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice.

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                                This research expands upon prior work by exploring how adolescents’ friends, in addition to other key theoretical constructs (i.e., low self-control, routine activities), affect the opportunities for youth to be victimized and reveals that the effects of peers and peer characteristics vary across sex.

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                                • Popp, A. M., and A. A. Peguero. 2010. Routine activities and victimization at school: The significance of gender. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 26.12: 2413–2436.

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                                  Expanding on prior applications of routine activities theory to youth victimization, this study considers how gender interacts with routine activities, namely participation in extracurricular school activities, to influence risk of students being violently victimized at school.

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                                  Patriarchy and Victimization

                                  Feminist researchers have historically and continually examined the role of patriarchy and its effects on the perpetration of violence against women. It is often argued that the gender hierarchy in most Western societies elevates the status of men and marginalizes women. When women attempt to fight against or disrupt patriarchal norms, it is argued that they will face a backlash which may include victimization. Hunnicutt 2009 discusses the usefulness of patriarchy as theoretical tool for explaining violence against women, while Crittenden and Wright 2012 attempts to better understand factors leading to patriarchal endorsement. Smith 1990 and Sugarman and Frankel 1996 examine male perpetrated abuse toward their female partners in relation to patriarchal ideology. Additionally, Adinkrah 2001 discusses the gap in knowledge of the effects of patriarchy in non-Western nations, while Brown, et al. 2007 examines how patriarchal ideals impact the treatment of girls.

                                  • Adinkrah, M. 2001. Patriarchal family ideology and female homicide victimization in Fiji. Journal of Comparative Family Studies 32.2: 283–301.

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                                    Adinkrah notes the almost exclusive focus of femicide in Western nations leaving a gap of knowledge in non-Western and developing nations. In order to address this gap, Adinkrah focuses on femicide in Fiji and the factors that sustain violence against women in this country.

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                                    • Brown, L. M., M. Chesney-Lind, and N. Stein. 2007. Patriarchy matters: Toward a gendered theory of teen violence and victimization. Violence Against Women 13.12: 1249–1273.

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                                      Brown and colleagues examine the role of the sex-gender system in shaping the context of girls’ violence and victimization by arguing that the increase in girls’ crime is due to increased enforcement, rather than increased criminality, and that relabeling girls’ victimization in gender neutral terms is detrimental to addressing the issues surrounding their victimization.

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                                      • Crittenden, C. A., and E. M. Wright. 2012. Predicting patriarchy: Using individual and contextual factors to examine patriarchal endorsement in communities. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 28.6: 1267–1288.

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                                        Crittenden and Wright attempt to examine what factors in communities influence the endorsement of patriarchal views which have been consistently linked in feminist literature with violence against women.

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                                        • Hunnicutt, G. 2009. Varieties of patriarchy and violence against women: Resurrecting “patriarchy” as a theoretical tool. Violence Against Women 15.5: 553–573

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                                          Hunnicutt argues that explanations of violence against women should be couched in patriarchy despite criticisms of the theory.

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                                          • Smith, M. D. 1990. Patriarchal ideology and wife beating: A test of a feminist hypothesis. Violence and Victims 5.4: 257–273.

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                                            Smith examines the influence of patriarchal endorsement and socioeconomic characteristics of husbands and their influence on whether they commit acts of wife beating and finds a correlation between the characteristics, endorsement, and violence.

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                                            • Sugarman, D. B., and S. L. Frankel. 1996. Patriarchal ideology and wife-assault: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Family Violence 11.1: 13–40.

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                                              Using a meta-analytic review, Sugarman and Frankel examine the relationship between patriarchy (e.g., attitudes toward violence, gender attitudes, and gender schema) and men engaging in assaultive behaviors against their wives and found that patriarchal endorsements coincide with higher levels of assault.

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                                              Feminist Theories Explaining Violence Against Women

                                              Feminists have utilized many different viewpoints for examining victimization, particularly violence against women. As previously stated, patriarchy is one explanation that has been expanded upon in attempts to explain violence against women. However, other studies have looked at how the social construction of gender or gendered behavioral expectations may also influence such violence. Several articles in the following section highlight the importance of emerging literature on cyber/internet gender harassment and the problems posed for women by this harassment such as Citron 2009, Halder and Jaishankar 2011, and Shalhoub-Kevorkian and Berenblum 2010. Additionally, Vieraitis, et al. 2007 and Vieraitis, et al. 2015 explore the effect of women’s status in the United States on their homicide rates, while Yodanis 2004 examines more general violence against women based on their statuses in several countries. Finally, Wesely 2006 carefully explores the cumulative victimizations of women who are homeless and work as exotic dancers in an effort to explain how gender constructs impact victimization.

                                              • Citron, D. K. 2009. Law’s expressive value in combating cyber gender harassment. Michigan Law Review 108.3: 373–415.

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                                                Through a feminist lens, Citron discusses the trivialization of cyber gender harassment by not only society but law enforcement and the criminal justice system as well, even though this type of harassment has a profound impact on women’s freedom and behavior.

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                                                • Halder, D., and K. Jaishankar. 2011. Cyber gender harassment and secondary victimization: A comparative analysis of the United States, the UK, and India. Victims & Offenders 6.4: 386–398.

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                                                  Halder and Jaishankar conduct a comparative analysis of cyber gender harassment and the reactions of the criminal justice systems in the United States, the United Kingdom, and India.

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                                                  • Shalhoub-Kevorkian, N., and T. Berenblum. 2010. Panoptical web: Internet and victimization of women. International Review of Victimology 17:69–95.

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                                                    Young, Palestinian women’s experiences using the Internet from a conflict zone are examined to determine if the Internet is used as a tool to misuse and further victimize women or if women may be able to use the Internet as a way to speak out and resist political forces.

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                                                    • Vieraitis, L. M., S. Britto, and T. V. Kovandzic. 2007. The impact of women’s status and gender inequality on female homicide victimization rates: Evidence from U.S. counties. Feminist Criminology 2.1: 57–73.

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                                                      Vieraitis and associates utilize data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources to determine if women’s relative and absolute socioeconomic status in relation to men impacts female homicide victimization rates.

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                                                      • Vieraitis, L. M., S. Britto, and R. G. Morris. 2015. Assessing the impact of changes in gender equality on female homicide victimization: 1980–2000. Crime and Delinquency 61.3: 428–453.

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                                                        In a longitudinal study, Vieraitis and colleagues examine the influence of women’s absolute status and gender equality on female homicide victimization rates and found that these factors have influenced such victimization.

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                                                        • Wesely, J. K. 2006. Considering the context of women’s violence: Gender, lived experiences, and cumulative victimization. Feminist Criminology 1.4: 303–328.

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                                                          Wesely conducts in-depth interviews of homeless women and women working as exotic dancers to explore the victimization patterns of these women and the cumulative effects such victimization has on their lives and how this is related to gender constructs.

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                                                          • Yodanis, C. L. 2004. Gender inequality, violence against women, and fear: A cross-national test of the feminist theory of violence against women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 19.6: 655–675.

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                                                            Yodanis examines international data to test the feminist theory of violence against women and finds that the status of women in a country influences their rates of sexual victimization.

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                                                            Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse

                                                            Research on intimate partner violence (IPV) has been heavily influenced by feminism. Much of the IPV literature, however, has focused on explaining offending behavior rather than differential risk of victimization. A developing body of research has begun to focus on identifying the causal mechanisms underlying individual IPV victimization risk. For example, Policastro and Daigle 2016 examines how childhood bonds to mothers, school, church, and peers influences risky behavior in adolescence which in turn shapes risk of IPV victimization, while Franklin and Menaker 2014 focuses on employment status and how this relates to victimization. Further, works like Burgess-Proctor 2012 have explored how victims respond to IPV, while Alvi, et al. 2005 examines how attitudes toward IPV impacts victimization for women of color. Letellier 1994 critiques mainstream feminist work for its lack of attention to gay and bisexual males and their IPV victimization. This work has significant implications for IPV prevention and effective social responses to this form of violence.

                                                            • Alvi, S., M. D. Schwartz, W. DeKeseredy, and J. Bachaus. 2005. Victimization and attitudes towards woman abuse of impoverished minority women. Western Criminology Review 6.1: 1–11.

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                                                              Using the Revised Attitudes Toward Wife Abuse Scale, this study investigates how the minority females’ attitudes toward violence against women influence their risk of experiencing physical intimate partner violence.

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                                                              • Burgess-Proctor, A. 2012. Pathways of victimization and resistance: Toward a feminist theory of battered women’s help-seeking. Justice Quarterly 29.3: 309–346.

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                                                                Relying on the feminist pathways model, Burgess-Proctor uses qualitative data to explore how female IPV victims’ childhood experiences which serve as a trajectory for adult behavior inhibit and/or promote their adult help-seeking behavior, and findings suggest that it is important that agencies and professionals incorporate help strategies that address childhood victimization.

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                                                                • Franklin, C. A., and T. A. Menaker. 2014. Feminism, status inconsistency, and women’s intimate partner victimization in heterosexual relationships. Violence Against Women 20.7: 825–845.

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                                                                  In addition to contextual variables, this study focuses on how inconsistencies in the power men and women hold in relationships (e.g., employment status, educational attainment) contribute to IPV victimization.

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                                                                  • Letellier, P. 1994. Gay and bisexual male domestic violence victimization: Challenges to feminist theory and responses to violence. Violence and Victims 9.2: 95–106.

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                                                                    Letellier critiques mainstream theories of domestic violence and contemporary feminist explanations for lack of attention to gay and bisexual male survivors of battering and advocates for the integration of sociopolitical and psychological theories into feminist current popular explanations in order to better account for violence among this population within the context of a heterosexist, homophobic culture.

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                                                                    • Policastro, C., and L. E. Daigle. 2016. A gendered analysis of the effects of social ties and risky behavior on intimate partner violence victimization. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

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                                                                      Employing separate multiple mediation models for men and women, Policastro and Daigle explore the indirect relationship between social ties and intimate partner violence victimization via the effects of social ties on risky lifestyle behavior.

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                                                                      Rape and Sexual Assault

                                                                      A large body of research has explored sexual victimization, particularly the sexual victimization of college women. This literature has aimed at identifying the prevalence, as well as risk factors for sexual violence. One area that is particularly relevant to feminist victimology involves studies that seek to identify the environments that foster sexual victimization, as well as factors that place individuals at an increased risk of being victimized. Multiple works, such as Schwartz and Pitts 1995 and Franklin, et al. 2012, are centered on insights provided by lifestyle-routine activities theory and feminist theory to examine how the attributes of the college environment and lifestyle contribute to sexual assault. Other works like Martin, et al. 2006 take a more broad approach to analyze how macro-level processes affect sexual victimization rates. Additionally, works like Mardorossian 2002 provide critiques for the current scope of the literature and its theorizations of sexual assault, while works such as Schwartz, et al. 2001 and Turchik, et al. 2016 examine males and their roles regarding guardianship, perpetration, and victimization.

                                                                      • Franklin, C. A., T. W. Franklin, M. R. Nobles, and G. A. Kercher. 2012. Assessing the effect of Routine Activity Theory and self-control on property, personal, and sexual assault victimization. Criminal Justice and Behavior 39.10: 1296–1315.

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                                                                        This research draws upon lifestyle-routine activities theory and the general theory of crime to investigate how various individual and situational characteristics contribute to female college students’ risk of different forms of violence against women and property victimization.

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                                                                        • Mardorossian, C. M. 2002. Toward a new feminist theory of rape. Signs 27.3: 743–775.

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                                                                          In this piece, Mardorossian criticizes the lack of feminist theorizing on rape, posits that postmodern feminist explanations of rape are flawed, and calls for an alternative theoretical explanation for the rape of women in society.

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                                                                          • Martin, K., L. M. Vieraitis, and S. Britto. 2006. Gender equality and women’s absolute status: A test of the feminist models of rape. Violence Against Women 12.4: 321–339.

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                                                                            This study empirically assesses the conflicting arguments advanced by different branches of feminism regarding the relationship between women’s socioeconomic status and rates of rape victimization.

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                                                                            • Schwartz, M. D., W. S. DeKeseredy, D. Tait, and S. Alvi. 2001. Male peer support and a feminist routine activities theory: Understanding sexual assault on the college campus. Justice Quarterly 18.3: 623–649.

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                                                                              Using data from both sexes, this work expands upon the earlier work of Schwartz and Pitts 1995 by focusing on male peers as a potential source of lack of guardianship on college campuses via their encouragement for sexually abusive behavior and explores how increased substance use among both males and females may contribute to offender behavior, as well as victim vulnerability.

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                                                                              • Schwartz, M. D., and V. L. Pitts. 1995. Exploring a feminist routine activities approach to explaining sexual assault. Justice Quarterly 12.1: 9–31.

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                                                                                Schwartz and Pitts integrate feminist theory into lifestyle-routine activities theory to account for the motivation and target selection processes of sexual assault offenders on college campuses.

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                                                                                • Turchik, J. A., C. L. Hebenstreit, and S. S. Judson. 2016. An examination of the gender inclusiveness of current theories of sexual violence in adulthood: Recognizing male victims, female perpetrators, and same-sex violence. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse 17.2: 133–148.

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                                                                                  The authors provide an overview of literature on the gendered nature of sexual violence including both victimization and perpetration and focus on how the current emphasis on the exclusivity of sexual victimization which emphasizes males as perpetrators and women as victims can result in negative consequences for victims who do not fall within this conception of sexual violence and discusses the relevance of gender exclusivity for theoretical and policy development.

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                                                                                  Feminist Theories of Intersectionality and Victimization

                                                                                  The focus on the intersection of social dimensions in people’s lives and how this impacts their experiences with offending, victimization, and the criminal justice system is an emerging field within criminology. Scholars argue that there is no “master status” which influences criminality and victimization, but rather it is a combination of social hierarchies. Black feminists (Collins 1998, Collins 2000) have shed light particularly on the lives of African American women in our society, and how their status as both a racial and gender minority often leaves them split between black males and white females. These works also discuss how this double minority status influences victimization such as Crenshaw 1991 does, while Donovan and Williams 2002 discusses how oppressing images impact reporting patterns for women of color who have been victimized. Intersectional research often focuses on hierarchies of race, gender, class, sexual identity, and other social hierarchies and how violence is used to maintain these hierarchies as discussed by King 1988. Also, intersectional research is concerned with how an individual’s relative position in these hierarchies influences their victimization risks, offending patterns, and treatment by the criminal justice system as Potter 2006 discusses.

                                                                                  • Collins, P. H. 1998. The tie that binds: Race, gender and US violence. Ethnic and Racial Studies 21.5: 917–938.

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                                                                                    Collins discusses how the definition of violence is linked to power relations of race and gender and how neither race-only or gender-only approaches can explain African American women’s experiences with violence and the implications for expanding and reconceptualizing our understanding of violence in America.

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                                                                                    • Collins, P. H. 2000. Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. 2d ed. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                      In this seminal piece, Collins expands upon the ideas of black feminism including distinguishing features of this theoretical framework, black women’s oppression and victimization, and rethinking activism.

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                                                                                      • Crenshaw, K. 1991. Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review 43.6: 1241–1299.

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                                                                                        Crenshaw focuses on male violence against women, particularly battering and rape, and how racism and sexism influences the experiences of women of color.

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                                                                                        • Donovan, R., and M. Williams. 2002. Living at the intersection. Women & Therapy 25.3–4: 95–105.

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                                                                                          Donovan and Williams examine how oppressive images of black women influence their reporting patterns for rape victimizations.

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                                                                                          • King, D. K. 1988. Multiple jeopardy, multiple consciousness: The context of a black feminist ideology. Signs 14.1: 42–72.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1086/494491Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            In this article, King expands upon the idea of black feminism, the lived experiences of women of color, and how sexism and racism put women of color in “multiple jeopardy.”

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                                                                                            • Potter, H. 2006. An argument for Black Feminist Criminology: Understanding African American women’s experiences with intimate partner abuse using an integrated approach. Feminist Criminology 1.2: 106–124.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/1557085106286547Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              In this article, Potter proposes a Black Feminist Criminology (BFC) and applies this framework to the battering of African American women by making links between structural, cultural, and familial components and battering.

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                                                                                              Feminism and the Broader Field of Victimology and Criminal Justice

                                                                                              Feminism has had a far-reaching impact on victimology and the broader fields of criminology and criminal justice. For instance, the integration of sex and gender as key variables in any theory of crime/victimization and response to offenders, as well as victims, has helped move the field forward from an androcentric discipline. Kruttschnitt 2016 discusses the contributions of a gender-centered approach to understanding crime and victimization, while recognizing the need to also account for other sources of social inequality that may supersede the effects of gender. Similarly, Schneider 1993 urges feminist theorists to critically examine how crime victims, particularly females, view and define their experiences with violence against women. Victimologists have also brought their own ideas and theoretical constructs forward to resolve issues with traditional feminist arguments. Numerous pieces including Mawby and Walklate 1994 and Walklate 2003 have commented on the current state of the field and feminism’s place in victimology in order to help advance both fields and reconcile inconsistencies between the two. Further, research like Wattanaporn and Holtfreter 2014 has highlighted the overall impact feminist research has had on our understanding of victimization and policies that serve offenders as well as crime victims.

                                                                                              • Kruttschnitt, C. 2016. 2015 presidential address to the American Society of Criminology: The politics, and place, of gender in research on crime. Criminology 54.1: 8–29.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/1745-9125.12096Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Kruttschnitt provides a reflection and commentary on the current state of criminological research that has incorporated discussions of gender into research on offending and directs attention to the need to move beyond the field’s more limited focus on just gender and into a more nuanced understanding of the interactions between multiple levels of inequality including race and class, as well as how these constructs may take precedent over gender in a given situation.

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                                                                                                • Mawby, R., and S. Walklate. 1994. Critical victimology: International perspectives. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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                                                                                                  This book provides an overview of significant issues facing the field of victimology with an emphasis on examining how context, including gender and its intersections with other sources of inequality, influences victim experiences.

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                                                                                                  • Schneider, E. M. 1993. Feminism and the false dichotomy of victimization and agency. New York Law School Law Review 38:387–399.

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                                                                                                    The author argues that feminist theorists cannot overlook how female victims exercise free-will in an effort to exert control over their lives and must consider how what scholars might define as victimization (e.g., pornography) could be viewed by the individual as a source of agency and resistance.

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                                                                                                    • Walklate, S. 2003. Can there be a feminist victimology? In Victimisation: Theory: Research and policy. Edited by P. Davies, P. Francis, and V. Jupp, 28–45. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                                                                                                      Walklate provides a critique of the field of victimology focusing on the androcentric roots of the discipline, and also questions the validity of those who claim to provide a “gender neutral” approach to the study of victims, while outlining new directions for a more “critical” victimology that objectively considers contextual factors contributing to victimization risk.

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                                                                                                      • Wattanaporn, K. A., and K. Holtfreter. 2014. The impact of feminist pathways research on gender-responsive policy and practice. Feminist Criminology 9.3: 191–207.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/1557085113519491Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        The authors summarize the pathways theoretical model and its contribution to the study of offending and victimization, as well as discuss the influence this body of research has had on programs, policies, and responses to victims/offenders.

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