Theories of Victimization

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Theories of Victimization


Melissa Marciano


Dr. Dian Williams

The greatest predictor of becoming a victim in the future is if a person was a victim in the past. For example, if a person was sexually molested as a child, it's likely that person will become a victim of rape as an adult. David Finkelhor and Nancy Asigian suggest three types of characteristics increase a person's potential for victimization: Target Vulnerability, Target Gratifiability, and Target Antagonism. Target Vulnerability says someone with a physical disability or psychological distress would make that person incapable of resisting or deterring crime, which makes the victim an easy target. Target Gratifiability explains having attractive possessions, such as a certain quality, skill, or attribute that an offender wants, makes them vulnerable to predatory crime. Target Antagonism describes some characteristics, such as being gay, argumentative, or an alcoholic, may increase the risk of victimization because they "...arouse

anger, jealousy, or destructive impulses in some offenders." (Siegel, pg.89)

Furthermore, some important characteristics that distinguish victims are gender, age, social status, and race. For example, males are more likely than females to suffer from violent crimes, except for rape and sexual assault. In addition, men were two times more likely than women to experience aggravated assault and robbery, while women were six times more likely than men to experience rape and sexual assault. (Siegel, pg.86) Moreover, younger people face a greater risk of victimization than the elderly. Victimization declines rapidly after the age of twenty-five. In addition, the least affluent (poor) are more likely to be victims of violent crimes and the most affluent (wealthy) are more likely to be targets of personal theft. Moreover, "...although crime - especially violent crime - is a serious problem in the poorest inner-city neighborhoods, most of these crimes are committed by...