Some studies have been done to examine the resiliency of victims of CSA. Resiliency can be defined as the ability of a person to adjust to adverse life events or circumstances, or possibly both (Lambie, Seymour, Lee, & Adams, 2002). In terms of CSA, resiliency refers to the ability of a victim to “snap back” into normal life and to successfully cope with the sexual trauma they have been through. When this resiliency is absent, individuals have a hard time adjusting back to normal life and often act out as a result. Research by Lambie et al. shows that female victims of CSA that had a strong social support system self-reported successful lifestyles, stable jobs, and happy lives (Lambie et al., 2002, p. 33). These females also are more likely to have a good relationship with peers and parents, as well as had a positive response to the incident from those peers. On the other hand, lack of support and negative responses towards childhood victimization seem to have a significant negative impact on psychological health and developing behavior (Lambie et al., 2002). Lambie et al.’s research led them to believe that “the critical factor in determining whether someone would become a child molester or not was whether, as a child, they had a close relationship with someone they could confide in” (2002, p. 33). In addition, victims that come from a disadvantaged background are less likely to have this resiliency.
The issue of CSA leading to sexual deviancy has been researched over the last few decades. Jacobs, Kennedy, and Meyer found that only nine papers on the subject had been published before 1970, and only ten more in the 1970’s (1997). 28 more came about in the next five years, suggesting that the topic became much more well known. They also found a study that showed that 47% of these juvenile delinquents were themselves sexually molested. (Jacobs et al., 1997, p. 202). Most research on this relationship shows that sexually abused children are at a greater risk to engage in criminal activity, specifically sexually deviant crimes.
Zakireh, Ronis, and Knight observed four different groups relating to sexual deviancy: sexual offenders in residential placement and offenders in outpatient treatment, and nonsexual offenders in the same two scenarios to observe the characteristics of the four groups (2008). They found that sexual offenders in residential placement differed from nonsexual offenders in three different categories: increased hypersexuality, increased violent behavior or fantasies, and sexual abuse history (2008, p. 337). This research supports others’ findings that increased CSA history is a risk factor among those who turn to sexually deviant behavior.
Social Learning Theory
The main focus of this theory is that criminal behavior is learned. In Siegel’s Criminology, he asserts that sexual aggression may be a learned behavior, as any other learned behavior, through interactions with friends and family, or anyone in a...