Juvenile Sexual Assault and Social Learning Theory
This research paper encompasses and discusses the juvenile sexual offenders and their ill-fated victims. The first part explains how the misfortunate occurrence of sexual molestation affects the overall behavior of the child victim. The second parts talks about various forms of sexual delinquencies and the characteristics of sexual assaulters. Later, explanation of different behavioral models has been given to understand the psychology of the juvenile sexual assaulters. Each model is discussed in the light of the Social Learning Theory. Origins and reasons of the particular nature of sexual assailants have also been discussed. In the last part, the Social Learning Theory is used to provide suggestions for the treatment and improvement of the sexual offenders so that they can become fruitful citizens of society.
Juvenile Sexual Assault and Social Learning Theory
Juvenile sexual assault or child sexual abuse is a type of abuse in which a child is used by a mature person or grown-up for sexual pleasure and satisfaction. The abuser is mostly a known person. Sexual abuse can be done by a family member (parents, siblings or relatives) or an outsider (neighbor, tutor, pal or unfamiliar person) (Child Sexual Abuse, "Facts for Families," No. 9, 2008).
Sexual ill-treatment consists of lewd revelation and contact of genitals to a kid, forcing a child to slot in sexual activities, using a child in pornographic actions and touching or looking at the child's private parts. It is a deplorable and shocking reality that thousands of children are physically abused annually. Sexual assault is not limited to a single geographical entity but it takes place all over the world. Men, as compared to women, are mostly found to torture or rape children. When a child is sexually assaulted, he/she is troubled in disclosing the dreadful happening. Such a child needs to be taken care of and the parents or guardians must consider professional facilitation. It is greatly probable that after the occurrence of sexual abuse, a child develops a number of lasting emotional and mental feelings or behavior (Child Sexual Abuse, "Facts for Families," No. 9, 2008). Painful and upsetting thoughts play a vital role in damaging the physical and psychological development of a sexually assaulted child. Professional assistance can benefit him/her in forgetting the abusive happenings and gaining self-confidence for a better life in the future. According to American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, not the sexually molested children but their families too require professional treatment immediately after the incident. It is necessary for the child to muddle through the guilt and surmount the shock (Child Sexual Abuse, karisable.com).
It is a psychological setback for a child to be used as an object for sexual gratification and fulfillment. To cope with such a situation is extremely frightening and painful. Even a toddler of three or four years can have serious problems. Children who are older than five have a sense that involving in sexual activities is erroneous. Such children are often threatened by the abuser. Every child who suffers the terrible experience of sexual abuse at the hands of a family member is fearful of the reaction of others if the secret is unveiled. A lengthened sexual abuse develops near to the ground self-respect and a feeling of triviality in a child. Children who are victims of sexual assault, when grow up; tend to be involved in sexual activities like adopting the profession of prostitution or becoming abusers themselves (Child Sexual Abuse, "Facts for Families," No. 9, 2008).
It is a unanimous conclusion in communities worldwide that any grown person who is engaged in sexual harassment and assault with a child is an illicit and wicked person. To be involved in sexual activities is neither typical nor socially tolerable conduct. However, families whose children are sexually assaulted hesitate to report the awful happening because of the fear of humiliation and embarrassment in society. They try to keep it in confidentiality which is not sensibly correct. It is exceedingly important to report the crime of sexual abuse.
The question crops up that why should there be a concern to penalize and punish juvenile sex offenders? In short, the involvement in child sexual abuse is illegal according to the constitutions and the disgusting activities deserve to be arbitrated legally. However, there are different forms of sexual bustles that have different punishments according to the nature of the sexual activity. Adults engaged in constant ad uncontrollable sexual activities are tagged as paraphilias. These paraphiliacs alarm the public greatly and creates anxiety in the communities they happen to be a part of. Paraphiliacs are obsessed by flight of the sexual imagination and involve themselves in regular masturbation in the beginning. The continuation of these activities advances them to sexual association with others. The effortless and reachable victims are thus, children. Mostly, the paraphiliacs were themselves the victims of sexual abuse in their childhood. When they reach adulthood, their early experiences drift them to sexually assault children (Martin & Pruett, 1998).
Formerly, the sexual offenses were not given a serious heed owing to the supposition that the sexual delinquency is just the satisfaction of inquisitiveness nature of an adult. However, with the passage of time, the general public started realizing that such sex offenders are a grave threat to the society. The confounding number of sex offenders that have been arrested in the last 25 years or so is alarming. The rate of child molestation and assault has mounted up incredibly in the recent years. A number of studies, research and statistics on child molesters helped in finding out that the juvenile sexual offenders committed their first sexual felony when they were below 18 (Martin & Pruett, 1998).
It is very important to know why an individual becomes a sexual delinquent. Many studies and researches have been carried out but it has been impossible to emerge with an agreed reason for sexual criminal behavior. It is because every sexual offender possessed a diverse personality and owned a unique story. Thus, to conclude an undisputed theory to understand the offender's behavior is unviable. However, there are different behavioral models that have been propounded in order to analyze and understand the psychology of juvenile sexual abusers.
It is imperative to know about these models in order to scrutinize and comprehend the behaviors of sexual abusers. However, it is equally important to know on what basis these observations and models have been derived. The Social Learning Theory derived by Albert Bandura has helped sociologists and psychologists to examine and figure out various models pertaining to juvenile sexual assaulters. To understand the models, it is essential to know about the principles of Social Learning Theory.
Any event or learning that has some connection with the society or general public is focused by Social Learning Theory. This theory reflects that people learn by observing, modeling and replicating. Observing individual behaviors make it easier for people to learn and derive conclusions. This theory also suggests that it is not necessary for a person to reflect his learning in his performance. It is not essential that learning can bring a change in behavior. Cognition or "the process of thought to know something" plays a significant role in learning about something. The Social Learning Theory focuses on the learning and observation related to human behavior and conduct. It says that knowledge about prospected fortification or penalty can change the actions of an individual (Social Learning Theory, teachnet.edb.utexas.edu).
The behaviors of juvenile sexual assaulters can be learnt through modeling. Modeling helps significantly to examine and judge the characteristics of an individual.
A Sociology Professor, Carl P. Malmquist has observed the behavior of sexual abusers and has propounded a provocative model. He suggests that sexual deviants who are personally assaulted in their childhood tend to adopt the same behavior when they grow-up. They can be considered as seriously harmed and weakened individuals. He concludes that a male child who has been molested when he was a child becomes a generally bungling youngster. His poor sense of self forces him to stay away from girls. Such juvenile sexual delinquents use children as an alternative to satisfy their sexual hunger. As children are innocent and less frightening, they easily become victims of such teenagers (Martin & Pruett, 1998). The Social Learning Theory suggests that a person's behavior can also affect the behavior of an individual. In the mentioned model, the sexual delinquent has been affected by the person who molested him in childhood. Thus, he imitates the disgusting actions when he reaches the age of adolescence (Social Learning Theory, teachnet.edb.utexas.edu).
Leslie Magolin (Supervisor, Lincoln Regional Center Adolescent Program, Nebraska) has depicted sexual abusers as youngsters who are not subversive when they are in public. As they have a stumpy self-esteem and a near to the ground worthlessness feeling, they tend to turn to children for fulfilling their lack of confidence (Martin & Pruett, 1998). By assaulting children, they think as they have conquered the world and gained self-assurance. According to…