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NCJ Number
San Diego Justice Journal Volume: 1 Issue: 1 Dated: (Winter 1993) Pages: 57-64
M E Lewyn
Date Published
8 pages
This article examines several possible explanations about why women fear criminal victimization more than men, although statistics show that men are significantly more likely than women to be victims of a violent crime.
Some explain women's greater fear of crime as due to their greater likelihood of being victimized by strangers. This explanation is based on a false assumption; crimes against women are far less likely to be "stranger crimes" than crimes against men. Another explanation of women's greater fear of crime is their greater physical vulnerability. Studies show, however, that women are not more likely than men to be physically injured during a crime. A third explanation for women's greater fear of crime is that they have greater appreciation for the risk of victimization and take precautionary measures. This theory fails to take account of many women's failure to take precautions against those crimes for which they are at greater risk, that is, threats of spouses and acquaintances. A fourth explanation of women's greater fear of crime is their risk of being sexually assaulted. This explanation does not explain why women are more fearful of many other crimes for which they are at low risk of victimization. The author supports the theory that women fear crime more than men because women are culturally conditioned to view themselves as vulnerable and as targets for victimization, while men are raised to perceive themselves as strong, brave, and invulnerable. 34 footnotes


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