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Criminology: Sex and Crime Research Paper

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Updated: Mar 21st, 2019


Consent refers to compliance or an agreement to do a certain action after engaging in a thoughtful reasoning achieved after considering various variables in existence. The term consent also can refer to a permit or approved set of actions preceded by a careful reflection of the same.

Consent can be either implied or expressed. In implied consent, the use of verbal expressions does not occur but rather inferred from the actions and the situations in existence at that particular time. On the other hand, expressed consent is articulated either through written, verbal or nonverbal communication in a clear and understandable manner.

Informed consent is often used or applied in law in reference to the kind of the consent given by a person and has should meet certain stipulated standards.

Therefore, an informed consent is the kind of consent given by a person clearly knowing the future repercussion, consequences, facts or implications of the actions at stake. Therefore, before an individual gives consent, there is need to have all the facts at hand in order to avoid any future indictments or accusation as it might even lead to imprisonment.

According to the criminal justice system, informed consent implies an agreement between two parties to allow something to happen or to do something having full knowledge of its important or relevant facts, knowledge of the risks or any other alternatives involved (Ehrlich 2002, p.6).

Therefore, it passes for a crime that amounts to accusation when proved that a person acted on an issue knowing the repercussions.

Criminal justice system has the responsibility of ensuring that the civilians or the society coexists well without any worries and mistreatments from criminals. Criminal justice system has three main areas of function (DiQuinzio & Young 1997, p.54).

These include law enforcement responsibilities, adjudication in the courts and ensuring corrections to the offenders by imprisoning, jailing or putting the perpetrator on probation.

Therefore, in the context of sexual assault, consent refers to the voluntary agreements of two parties to en and authority of inducement to engage in sexual activity without agreement amounts to absence of consent and the accused when sued is liable for harassment. Therefore, an assault amounts to violation of a person sexual integrity passing for an offense under the law.

Consent is a concept viewed and understood differently from various perspectives by the society. Different factors ranging from traditional beliefs, geographical locations and values play a fundamental role on how society take views on what consent entails.

A good example to illustrate this is how different societies carry out customary laws and traditional cases (Daly 1994, p.78). Other examples to illustrate this are in the area of medical health where the society regards the decision of a doctor as the final one.

In addition, most of the decisions that patients reaches seems based on what the doctor tells the patient. Therefore, in circumstances where patients make decisions based on the information provided by the doctors, it may lead to wrong decision making.

Therefore, there seems to be instances where the society overlooks other people’s decisions as the guiding ones. Although in some occasions, this imbalance projects a lack of consent, some societies never find a problem with it.

Therefore, in the case of medical health, it calls for an equal sharing and participation of all the parties on issues pertaining to the administration of medical services in order for the whole parties to be contended with the outcomes of their past agreements or approvals.

The society has a broad range of information outlets: it depends on informing up its stances and thought about consent. The most relied way in which the society gets enlightened about consent is through the media.

Television, radio and internet have provided an interlude for the society by ensuring that the people remain informed and updated concerning various issues relating to problems facing them. Sexual assault cases and abuses committed across the globe get to reach to the society through the media (Howe 1997, p.90).

The ruling on some of these cases presents a debate in the society as some of the rulings contravene the beliefs and the feeling of the society. Therefore, the most relied upon form of imparting knowledge in the public domain is the media.

Furthermore, there have been an ever-rising number of nongovernmental organizations and civil groups, all of which assume the forefront in campaigning and lobbying the society about issues of crimes particularly those affecting small children and women.

These groups employ different strategies aimed at educating the public on the repercussions and the impacts that will befall on any one assaulting or indulging in any sexual activity without the cones of the other party (Cornell, 1998, p.54).

These groups have also helped in prosecution of the offenders by sponsoring cases and providing evidence in the courts and presenting. Therefore, these groups have also provided awareness in the society and encouraged the members of community to report any incidences immediately they occur.

Furthermore, they have provided information and guided the society on how to avoid indulging in such criminal offenses. Hence, these mobilization and campaigns by these groups has done a lot in ensuring that the society knows its rights.

Different views emanating from either the media or any another body may not be right per se, as they may seem (Howe 1995, p.65). Each media, which acts as a link between the cases and the society, brings in their own views about the cases.

Media adds on some commentary that may not be the real information, which may have decided on. On consent, society has a varied perspective when it comes to crimes relating to sexuality as some have their own values and beliefs, which the criminal justice system does not agree to.

Such difference in opinions raises many queries. However, to solve this, national law in the constitution overrides these other cases. Cases, which have raised debate, include those cases where the adult assaults children of tender age.

Many societies around the globe have their own perception on the gender especially on consent and femininity. There exists a number of issues that surrounds this concept on how female or femininity view consent. Female gender has complained repeatedly of overlook in many issues like in economics, and domestic matters.

They have continued to fight for what they term ‘equality” in term of social grounds and all sectors of economy (Cavender, Bond, & Jurik 1999, p.650).These fights illustrate how the society disregards the position of female in society and especially in male concerning decision-making.

Many of the violence cases reported in various locations a higher number of them are against women and small children. These has been a born of contentious for the need for engaging them or involving them in key decision making so as get their consent.

On many occasions, women have complained of not having a voice even in their marriages as men dominate when it comes to making decisions regarding their conjugal rights. However, this trend is changing with time as different laws and constitution put in place recognize the rights of every person in the society.

Despite the advancements, there are still a lot of people who disregard the fact that women should have a say in key issues pertaining to the day-to-day lives.

The arguments on the opponents of women seeking rights to have a say is that, there are certain tasks or activities that even (Harris 2000, p.780) the male chauvinistic has continued to deny the females an opportunity to speak their mind.

A good case was that of Karen Ellis, a female teacher who was in a sexual relationship with her student aged 15 years. In this case, the court reduced the sentence of the accused for only 22 months of the charges that faced her.

On his ruling, the judge considered the feeling of the defender about the accused thereby allowing “…a degree of mercy in his sentence… the letter said…he will be affected if the teacher goes to prison and sentenced” (Chan & Rigakos 2002, P.750).

In addition, that she was the one initiated the relationship and it did not affect her in anyway. The defender, a 15-year student had written a letter expressing his feeling about the teacher, which saw the judge extend or reduce the duration (Belknap 1996, p.34).

Furthermore, the judge cited that the teacher had accepted the charges. Therefore, her reputation seemed exposed to destruction thereby welcoming no reason to put her behind bars for a long time.

The public, who termed it as a leeway to encourage sexual assault since they felt that the period of detention was minimal received this ruling negatively. They claimed that it was enough way of making society change as perpetrators face less charge.

Therefore, in this case, the idea of consent seemed to play a critical role in the eyes of judge through the presentation of the boys’ letter. Regardless of detention of the teacher, the boy admitted to have initiated the relationship and therefore he was not in any way affected psychological or physically by the relationship and engaging in sexual intercourse with the teacher.

When it comes to consent and masculinity, the males have an upper hand in making decisions and reaching an agreement on various issues that affects them. Masculinity also comes from the early years of socialization and the teachings the parents give to their children (Mehta & Bondi 1999).

This socialization has great effects in the future of these children and therefore they engage in activities, which they have grown seeing or doing. Most male feel that they have all it take to lead and give direction and therefore they reach their consent faster when compared to women regardless of the consequences of their actions.

In the case of Hopper Gavin, a male teacher who indulged in sexual relationship with his 14-year old student received a severe punishment for the offence. When comparing these cases with that of Ellis, Gavin lawyer was not satisfied with the ruling on Ellis case terming it unfair and a way of promoting other crimes.

However, on the contrary, Ellis judge defended his rule saying that the case were not similar as the latter case, the accused had engaged in relationship for a long period of time and has also caused considerable injuries to the girl. Therefore, these two cases provide a comparison on how consent, femininity, and masculinity may have played a role in reaching at these decisions.

In the case of Ms Naggs, the court found her guilty of engaging in sex with a man using a sex toy. The accused tried to defend her that the party had drunk a lot of alcohol and used drugs and therefore the actions they got involved in were done unconsciously and without any ill motive behind it.

The stripper had received a warning earlier on from her fellow striper that the men were drunk and therefore the party could turn out to be nasty (Mehta & Bondi 1999, p.70). Despite this informed consent, the stripper still ignored and decided to remain in the party.

Therefore, this informed consent could have contributed to her accusation and liability to face the charges. Therefore, these illustrations clearly demonstrated how consent may have played a crucial role in determining the cases on who seemed guilty and not and in determining the kind of punishment (Howe 2005, p.46).

Although in some instances, the society felt unsatisfied with the ruling, like in the Ellis’ case, it beats logic that the judge had to consider various aspects before reaching that decision.

Consent has continued t o elicit debate on what it refers, how can one measure or prove that consent has occurred. Of the various cases determined, many have faced a very strong opposition based on how to arrive at as well as determining consent.

For instance, in the case of Philippines republic and Garcia case any of the citizens felt that the chief justice did not make an appropriate ruling. Bringing closer to the current scenario, a woman by the name Manhattan has claimed that the IMF boss assaulted her sexually as there was no consent between them to engage in the act.

The boss Mr. Strauss Kahn will now appeal before the jury to answer the charges against his actions (Ferrell and Websdale 1998, p.96). Another perspective about the meaning of consent takes the reader to Sweden where an individual may face charges when engaging in sexual intercourse with the condom breaking in the process (Kramer 1997, p.32) because there was no consent.

Therefore, different people use the concept of consent to imply different things as seen from the above examples. For instance, some statute separate consent to actions, which lead to harm of the body getting support from law, which affirms that somebody cannot consent to such acts (Grattet & Jeness 2001, p.660).

Therefore, to sum up the discussion, consent in cases of sexual cases, assault and allegations differ from one type of law to other same to its meaning and definition. Consent principles applied in case of assault too are applicable to sexual assault.

Any victim of sexual harassment for instance touching has to understand the act consenting to and freely do so without coercion. Some jurisdictions de-link consent to acts that can cause harm to the body with laws defining that one cannot consent to such acts (Caiazza 2005, p.1607).

In conclusion, consent differs from one jurisdiction to another and consequently the definitions and meaning in allegations and cases of sexual assault.

Reference List

Belknap, J., 1996. The Invisible Woman: Gender, Crime, and Justice. Belmont: Wadsworth Pub.

Caiazza, A., 2005. Don’t Bowl at Night: Gender, Safety, and Civic Participation. Signs, 30(2), pp. 1607-1631.

Cavender, G., Bond, L., & Jurik, N., 1999. The construction of gender in reality crime TV. Gender and Society, 13(5), pp. 643-663.

Chan, W., & Rigakos, G., 2002. Risk, Crime and Gender’. British. Journal of Criminology, 42(4), pp. 743-762.

Cornell, D., 1998. At the Heart of Freedom: Feminism, Sex, and Equality. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Daly, K., 1994. Gender, crime, and punishment. New Haven: Yale University Press.

DiQuinzio, P., & Young, I., 1997. Feminist ethics and social policy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Ehrlich, S., 2002. Discourse, gender and sexual violence. Discourse and Society,13, pp. 5-7.

Ferrell, J., & Websdale, N., 1998. Making Trouble: Cultural Constructions of Crime, Deviance, and Control. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Grattet, R., & Jeness, V., 2001. Examining the Boundaries of hate Crime law:bDisabilities and the Dilemma of Difference. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 9(13), pp.653-698.

Harris, A., 2000. Gender, Violence, Race and Criminal Justice. Stanford Law Review, 52(4), pp. 777-789.

Howe, A., 2005. Lindy Chamberlain Revisited: A 25th Anniversary Retrospective. Canada Bay, N.S.W: Lhr Press.

Howe, A., 1997. Imagining Evidence, Fictioning Truth – Revisiting. Law-Text-Culture, 3, pp.82-106.

Howe, A., 1995. Chamberlain revisited: The Case Against the Media.England: Dartmouth.

Kramer, L., 1997. After the Love Death: Sexual Violence and the Making of Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Mehta, A., & Bondi, L., 1999. Embodied Discourse: On Gender and Fear of Violence. Gender, Place and Culture, 6, pp. 67-84.

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