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Pornographic Exposure Over the Life Course and the Severity of Sexual Offenses: Imitation and Cathartic Effects

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 40 Issue: 1 Dated: January/February 2012 Pages: 21-30
Christina Mancini; Amy Reckdenwald; Eric Beauregard
Date Published
February 2012
10 pages
In addressing a gap in the research literature, this study examined whether a sex offender's exposure to pornography during various life stages increased the violence of a sex offense.
Study findings indicated that a sex offender's exposure to pornography as an adolescent was associated with an increase in the humiliation experienced by their sex-crime victims. In contrast, using pornography just prior to the commission of the crime had a tempering effect on violence; specifically, it resulted in reduced physical injury of the victim. The authors speculate that such an offender was intent on sexual gratification and not domination of the victim. No effects of exposure to pornography as an adult were linked to increased violence toward victims. Victim resistance emerged as a significant predictor of violence in all of the models. In addition, some support was found for Lussier et al.'s argument that the "successful sex offender," due to prior crime experience, may be less likely to resort to physical violence during the offense. The study sample consisted of 624 adult males convicted of a sex crime who received a prison sentence of at least 24 months between April 1994 and June 2005. All were housed in a Federal correctional institution in Canada. For 330 of these offenders, detailed and complete information about their current offense was available. In order to test whether exposure to pornography affected the violence of a sexual offense, the study examined two separate dependent variables, i.e., whether the victim experienced either physical injury or humiliation during the current sex crime. The study controlled for several factors thought to be related to the offender, victim, and offense. The study determined offenders' exposure to pornography during adolescence, adulthood, and immediately prior to the offense. 3 tables, 8 notes, and 93 references