What I Did this Summer: Summer School.

I decided to show one my presentation here on the blog that I took part in from my fourth year class in Criminology. I wanted to show some of you what we do in these classes, or in particularly, some of the directions we are moving towards in the future of Law and crime.

Just click on top of the presentation to view each slide. There are 52 slides. Sorry, you can only click forward through it…

I spent 14 weeks studying in depth the subject of Sexual offenders and deviancy. What I expected and saw in this course were two totally different perspectives. My initial reaction in judging sexual offenders was born from what I gathered from the media and my general public opinion. What I got was a world different from the reality that I was living in.

The stereotyping that we lump sex offenders into is so far from the actual truth that we really forget that are several levels and classes of sex offences, and that when we compare these offenders to other classes of crime, sex offenders are very distorted in our perception of criminality. The media likes to lump or categorize all sex offenders into one blanket class. For the public, all sex offenders get the same level of labelling. In law, we look at sex offenders in a totally different light. Just look at the Criminal Code of Canada to see how these are broken down.

When I tell people that 90 percent of all people convicted of sex offences will be put back into the public, freed with short sentences, most are a gasp at that thought. Our principle of law says that the punishment must fit the crime, or that there be a proportional congruency of the offence to the criminal act. Also, and we don’t realized it, but we tend to discriminate between the types of offenders. For example, when women are convicted of sexual offences, we tend to treat them differently. Think about that for a moment? A Female sex offender? how could that be? There are several cases of woman who have been charged in Canada and the USA of sexual offence, and yet the media does it job of telling the news, the effects are somewhat not as drastic as they should be. Nonetheless, they are sex offenders, and they get charged as such.

In my presentation we were to do research on juvenile sex offenders. So, the thorny issue of youth criminal sex offenders is a hot topic because a lot of lay people will challenge that notion of acknowledging that there are youth sex offenders. Yet, our courts have several cases over the years. Some cases are very disturbing, while others are not. Many researchers stated that there is so little data that can be found that for criminologists, this is a real black hole, and much more work needs to be done.

Sadly there is not enough research on the subject of sex offenders. We have so many unanswered questions about this class of criminality. What makes someone act out this way? How do we “cure” someone of their sexual criminal acts? …and so on. Let me know what you think of our slide-show?

9 Thoughts on “What I Did this Summer: Summer School.

  1. Hey Tom
    Great presentation – there’s alot to mull over!
    Gudrun

  2. The presentation looses a lot of its meaning when we are not there adding to each slide. Plus we have a huge Q&A session afterwords.

  3. I guess the ultimate would be prevention – how could society assist with this task?
    Yesterday I read in the Sun about a faith healer from Abbotsford who has a huge following in Florida (where he is living/working right now). Part of his schtick is that he comes clean with all the less than desirable parts of his past, which includes being a sex offender at age 14. It didn’t say a whole lot in the article but it was an interesting read. A real character.

  4. Prevention can be achieved by doing a number of things. Unfortunately we as a society can be blamed for most of the ignorance because of the very nature of our culture e.g., bad sex education and promoting abstinence with our children rather than constant communication and openness. Sex is such a taboo subject with most corners of our communities that for most young people they learn through uncontrolled mediums and peer education–not through properly trained people and parents.

    One research study says that one in five children have been victims of sexual assaults. Because sex is such an intimate process, the crime reporting of sexual assaults have one of the largest “dark figure,” i.e., lack of reporting, It is still possible for this person that you spoke of to become charged under the Criminal Code of Canada with Sexual Assault, especially to very young women, if the police find his victims. There are no statute of limitations under the Criminal Code in most cases. It would be very interesting to see if the police act on this man’s confession?

  5. Great presentation Tom. To be quite honest, and this may be a totally stupid question, but I have never understood male sex offenders (rapists). This may be a totally not safe question for your blog, but … how can a rapist sustain intercourse … under those stressful circumstances. I mean, I can’t even begin to imagine…

  6. Hey Raul, thank you for comment, and I hope all is well with your family.

    Your question is a valid one, and I am prepared to answer it. As long a your question is a serious, I see nothing unsafe about bringing it up here–I am a criminologist. Also, talking about Crime is like talking about Religion and Politics, everyone has an opinion, and some may become upset talking about it. I think we really need to spend more time talking about these dark subjects that happen daily in our society so that we can learn from them, and lower the crime rates. That being said, Let me dive into your question.

    First, some male sex offenders have learned through conditioning that they must engage in sexual actives through violence. This could be done from watching TV, peers or upbringing. There are several means of sex offenders using violence, such as drug induced violence, mental illness to learned behaviour and peer pressure. In some cases males could not have sex without inflicting violent behaviour.

    Second, domestic violence seems to be the most common of sexual assaults. Men could easily over power their spouses for sexual gratification–and we would call this sexual assault, even though they are married.

    Lastly, I have read about some males having such a high sex drives that they may masturbate up to 25 times per day. In B.C. we have one offender who fits into this category.

    One of the biggest drives for law enforcement on the Intranet is stopping any form of pornography that depicts sex with violence–any violences. This is because of the psychological effect that sex has as a stimulation that can easily be associated with conditioning such as violence.

    So, these are some examples of sex offenders easily having a sex drive during any sexual assault.

    note: we don’t use the word rape any more in the Criminal Code of Canada.

  7. Thanks for the answer Tom. One more question – if we don’t use rape, then what do we use?

    I am still somewhat shocked that someone could sustain an erection during a violent act. That is, not domestic violence but attacking someone in a public park or things like that?

  8. Since 1998, “Sexual Assault” has replaced the word Rape. This was done for several reasons, but the main one was that giving this change in categorization meant a truer meaning of the crime. Rape had a clearly defined meaning before, where as assault means causing harm.

    There are three main levels of sexual assault. I’m going by memory now…
    1. sexual assault. [summery conviction].
    2. sexual assault cause bodily harm. [indictable offences]
    3. aggravated sexual assault (weapons – causing death) [up to life in prison].

    I should point out that there are three main categories of sexual acts:

    1. sexual acts with contact.
    2. non contact sexual behaviour.
    3. Viewing, possessing, or producing child pornography.

  9. Thanks Tom! 🙂 this is really very informative

    FWIW, the reason why I ask all these questions – both my parents are lawyers, and my Dad used to be a prosecutor, and I studied Criminology for a couple of years (and forensic science) because I wanted to know if I could do it as a profession.

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