Sexual Assault On Campus: Routine Activities Theory And Social Learning Theory

2002 Words 9 Pages
Sexual Assault on Campus: Routine Activities Theory and Social Learning Theory
Over the past two decades, sexual assaults against females occurring at universities have become more common, particularly those committed by fraternity members (Boeringer, Shehan, & Akers, 1991). It has been estimated that 20 to 25% of females at university have been a victim of sexual assault (Koss, 1985), and a study conducted in the United States estimates that females at a university which contains 10,000 female students could experience over 350 rapes per year (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000). The alarmingly high rate of female undergraduates who have experienced sexual assaults raises the question of responsibility and accountability. It is crucial to develop
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(Chan et al., 2011). There is a focus on the environmental opportunity for a motivated offender to interact with an available target without the presence of a guardian. However, this theory cannot address all aspects of sexual assault crime on campus. Routine activities theory lacks the ability to analyse at a more micro, individual level. Specifically, this theory does not account for how an individual becomes motivated to perpetrate sexual assault. Motivation is explained through a tautology (Schwartz et al., 2001). It is assumed that if individuals commit crimes, then they must be motivated. Additionally, it fails to account for the presence of many likely offenders in a typically low crime environment where there are few individuals with criminal records. Therefore, in order to provide a stronger application of criminological theory to a crime such as sexual assault, perhaps it would be beneficial to combine routine activities theory with social learning theory, a theory which can address sexual assault from a more micro basis. Social learning theory provides a more in depth explanation for how an offender can become motivated to commit a crime and how certain behavioural learning environments can influence an individual towards criminal behaviour. It is also useful to analyse why some people are more likely to commit sexual assault than others when presented with the three conditions of routine activities theory. However, social learning theory by itself is not sufficient enough to provide an in depth analysis of sexual assault on campus. Unlike routine activities theory, social learning theory lacks the ability to give information about under what circumstances individuals are more likely to commit sexual assault. Additionally, social learning

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