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Contribution To Victimology And Marginalisation

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The ‘Gender Agenda’ has developed to portray women in particular to be at risk when places in certain situations. As a result, women can be deemed to be viewed as victimised and socially and culturally vulnerable (Davis, 2011). There is further emphasis placed on the marginalisation of women’s experiences of victimisation and how this has further shaped and supplied a much deeper and broader contribution to victimology (supplied&contribution –almost like repeating itself. Victimology is reported as the study of how the behaviour of victims of crime contribute to their own victimisation (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2018). Therefore, this study intends to examine how the behaviour of women, in their lives of marginalisation, can help victimology understand why it is that women are victimised. This study is significant since, as noted by Ferguson and Turvey (2008, p.2), victimology has the potential to reshape the entire discipline of criminology. Therefore, it can be suggested that victimology focuses on the behaviours of individuals and their vulnerabilities and how this results in violent incidents (Dillenburger, 2007).

Defining the ‘Victim’ and ‘Marginalisation’

Walklate (2017, p.1) reported the definition of a victim stating that a victim is “someone who has suffered, sometimes willingly, sometimes not, as a result of forces more powerful than themselves”. For this reason, stated Walklate (2017, p.1), “suffering, power relations, and choice are central to how we understand who is, and who is not, given the label victim, and as a consequence, who acquires or does not acquire victim status. Victimhood is therefore highly contested”. Horan (2014, p.1) reported that individuals who are marginalised may be defined as those who are not a part of the dominant group in society, who face numerous severe social problems and whose situations are highly unstable and crisis-prone due to a variety of factors, including societal disinvestment. It is reported that historically, various ways of referencing victimology have been applied including: positive; radical; and critical victimology (Walklate, 2017).

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However, it is the relationship that exists between choice, suffering, and power relations that are features retained in each of these views. Yet, there is reported to be an increase in the weight applied to the factor of suffering, since according to Walklate (2017), this is due to the increases in a culture of compensation to victims for suffering. However, women who are marginalised are more likely to be victimised (Horan, 2014). For example, individuals who are marginalised and who include individuals who are homeless and workers in the sex trade are reported by Horan (2014, p.1) to be among the most highly victimised members of society and is further accentuated by their characteristics and lifestyle choices (Pease & Tseloni, 2014, p. 30).

Marginalisation and Victimisation of Women

Di Cesare (2014) reported that each year there are millions of girls and women that are on the receiving end of some type of psychological or physical discrimination of violence, since gender discrimination begins even before the birth of a female.(Too long sentence/comma needed) Women are marginalised throughout the world, resulting in their being victimised, with the label of marginalisation hurting rather than assisting these women. It does not help, according to Walklate (2012, p.4), that data gained from the first of all British Crime Surveys was politically used in a deliberate manner for underlying crime’s (crimes’ ?) extent and nature. In fact, according to Walklate (2012), the purpose of doing so (these words don’t add value/not required) was to allay the concerns of the public related to crime as well as the justification of economic demand for efficiency related to the expectations for the England and Wales system of criminal justice. (too long/comma)This was further politicized resulting in the victim of the crime’s role changing from that of a complainant to a consumer of the services of the criminal justice system.

Walklate (2012) reported that the victim was viewed, until recently, as being the party that was forgotten in the system of criminal justice and the system of criminal justice itself, “underestimated, ignored and undervalued” (Lehner-Zimmerer, 2011, p.11). The marginalisation of women historically is reported by Walklate (2012, p.22), to have rendered victims who are women impotent in addressing crimes committed against them because of the existing barriers which are familial, structural and even religious. Walklate (2012, p.41) reported the statement of the Society of Victimology as follows: “Not only has the ‘science’ of victimology suffered because of its inauspicious origins as the wayward sub-discipline of criminology but its’ very subjects, ‘victims’ have been weighed down by negative imagery that connotes that status with that of the ‘weak’ underdog”.These facts would lend credibility to the idea that when it is made known by news reports that women are marginalised in a certain sector of society, that there is likely to be an increase in the marginalization of those women resulting in even further victimization since they are labelled and viewed as weak and indefensible. Therefore, it can be noted that marginalised individuals, including sex trade workers and homeless individuals, are among the most highly victimised members of society (Horan, 2014, p.11).

Effects of Marginalisation on the Behaviours of Women

Marginalisation results in many adverse behaviours among women and one of these being the use of, and dependence on, illegal drugs (Horan, 2014). This marginalisation results in risk-taking behaviours as well as making it much more likely that their risk of being victimised is increased. Especially where women do not have shelter and who are located close to areas of high crime (Horan, 2014). Finally, a lifestyle characterised by vulnerability and dependency, according to Horan (2014, p.11), makes them attractive targets to offenders, including sex offenders. Therefore the ‘violence against women and girls’ (VAWG) toolkit helps to support prosecutors in providing a prosecutorial approach to ensure allegations are properly assessed and in line with the Code for Crown Prosecutors (The Crown Prosecution Service, n.d.). For example, when individuals who are marginalised disappear, they are much less likely to be noticed immediately or reports given to the police and the investigation delayed as a result (Horan, 2014). In addition, Horan (2014) reported that those offenders who prey on marginalised people use strategies that impede the success of investigations. Reckdenwald and Parker (2008) reported that gender inequality and the marginalisation of women often leads to women committing crimes due to economic disadvantage. This is reported to be because economic marginalisation is a predictor that is strong for female offenders (Reckdenwald & Parker, 2008).

Olsvik (2010) reported on what is called ‘the concept of multiple victimisations’ and references certain individuals who are victims and who have suffered multiple incidents of violence against them within a certain time period. Olsvik (2010, p.9) stated that repeat victimisation is defined as, “a time-ordered sequence of similar events suffered by the same individual victim or target” citing Hope et al. (p.596). Power relations, also known as ‘intersectionality’, is reported to refer specifically to the interaction of different social identities such as gender, and places an emphasis on the manner in which various power relations impact one another by the reinforcement, weakening, competing, or supporting of one another in an interplay that is dynamic (Olsvik, 2010, p.13).

However, the Geneva Declaration (2012, p.113) notes the structural factors that play into the victimisation and marginalisation of women stating: “impunity and government permissiveness, which serves as a crude expression of institutional violence.and this can be attributed to a lack of due diligence”. Therefore, the marginalisation of women is not only driving but ultimately supporting the continued victimisation of those women. Davies, Francis, and Greer (2007, p.9) noted that the crime problem is one that is socially constructed and specifically reported that “media representations influence what the issues of crime and victimisation mean to people”. Davies et al. (2007) also wrote that while those victims who receive publicity could be considered lucky since it is possible that they will receive some type of support or assistance, that in reality, these victims often are victimised further by the system of criminal justice. This second victimisation may be due to the victims being on the receiving end of treatment that is highly insensitive and having their integrity and honesty questioned. For this reason, and due to these types of experiences, more often than not victims will not seek the help of the system of criminal justice.

For others, who are victims on the receiving end of social harm or criminal victimisation, services are difficult for them to access and others are denied services for their fear of making their victimisation public. Women who are victims of crime only rarely seek formal assistance (McCart, Smith, & Sawyer, 2010). Instead, these women often seek informal support in the form of friends or family. Additionally, for those women who are victimised by a family member, these women are not as likely to report this to law enforcement as are women who have been victimised by a stranger (McCart, Smith & Sawyer, 2010). It is also true according to Storbjork (2011) that for women who are marginalised and who fall into drug use, these are viewed much more negatively than are men. Storbjork (2011) reported that in countries with higher levels of gender equality, such as Sweden, alcohol abuse among women is much lower. For marginalised women who become addicted to drugs or alcohol, the likelihood that they can access substance abuse treatment is much lower than others with the necessary resources to seek treatment. Marginalised women who live in poverty are much more likely to enter into prostitution to survive.

According to the Directorate-General for Internal Policies (2014, p.17), “the reasons for entering prostitution are diverse but women selling sex often belong to vulnerable groups of society” as well as lacking in alternatives for making a living and the outcomes is that these women enter into a life of prostitution. A lack of education and limited opportunities for employment coupled with gender discrimination in the labour market drives many women into prostitution. Women are forced into prostitution and slave labour by human traffickers (Hossain et al. 2010). Prostitution increases the risk for victimisation among women. However, it is reported that the Palermo Protocol views women in poverty who are prostitutes as being vulnerable and as victims since the majority of these women “were in need of protection because they were either forced into prostitution violently, or because of the lack of income alternatives” (Directorate-General for Internal Policies, 2014, p.18). However, these marginalised women are not only victimised by those holding them in prostitution but are many times arrested for committing the crime of prostitution and in turn further victimising them (Directorate-General for Internal Policies, 2014). It is important to note according to the Directorate-General for Internal Policies (2014) that approximately 70% of the female prostitutes in Europe are those who are migrants. Poverty is driving many groups of marginalised women into prostitution (Khan et al., 2009).

A Case Report

Johnston (2016) reported the case of a woman, who was a human trafficking victim, and who arrived at a hospital in Britain seeking an abortion. (Johnston, 2016, p. 1) related that the woman told the nurse in the hospital, “If I don’t go ahead with it, I’ll be dead.” Johnston (2016) stated that a study that the Department of Health in the UK had commissioned revealed findings that the majority of human trafficking female victims, once they escaped, suffered from depression that was severe or post-traumatic-stress (Hossain et al. 2010). Women who have been trafficked are also reported to have issues with their physical health related to failure to use condoms (Hossain et al., 2010), tooth, back, and stomach pain (Oram et al. 2012), and mental illness (Hossain et al., 2010). The result is that once having escaped the situation of human trafficking, these women were still suffering marginalisation in the form of physical and mental health problems. Government support is limited, although they do receive some practical assistance, during the 45 periods when the government is giving their case consideration (Johnston, 2016).

Theoretical Foundations on Victimology

Walklate (2012) reported that victim-precipitation was used to identify the relationship that exists between the victim and the offender, how each of the parties exerts influence on the other’s conduct, and how crime potentially takes place. Walklate (2012, p. 50) also noted that individuals who have a tendency to be in some type of trouble, generally are offenders as well as victims and ultimately, “people who tend to be repeatedly victims also have a much higher chance of being arrested.” The theory of routine activities is reported by Walklate (2012), as a theory which holds, it is possible to predict the occurrence of crimes where time and space converge, in which people likely to be offenders are present with targets that are suitable, and where no guardians who are capable are present. Because marginalised women are in places where offenders congregate such as in the streets, where drugs are present, and where prostitution takes place, these women become the suitable targets for those likely to offend and ultimately are victimized because there is no restraining force or guardian in such settings. This theory is much like the victimological theory of lifestyle exposure, an approach that Hindelang, Goffredson, and Garofalo (1978) set out and which spoke of the variations in the risks for victimization across social groups and which supports the target-selection theory (Meier & Miethe, 1995).

Summary and Conclusion

It is clear from the literature reviewed in this study that the marginalisation of women drives behaviours among these women that ultimately results in their victimisation. Whether their behaviour involves being homeless and living in the streets exposed to the sociological environment characterised by crime or they are driven out of economic desperation into prostitution, the behavioural component of marginalisation offers a way to understand victimization. Repeat victimisation is also more effectively comprehended in light of the marginalisation-related behaviour of women. As noted in this study, in countries with higher rates of gender-equity, there are lower corresponding rates of female marginalisation and victimisation. One serious problem with addressing victimisation of women is the fact that only a small percentage of women who are victimised report the crimes against them.


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