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Myths Regarding Why Sex Offenders Commit Sex Crimes

Many myths exist regarding why sex offenders commit sex crimes. For example, it has been (wrongly) proposed that one must be mentally ill to commit a sex crime (Center for Sex Offender Management, n.d.) and rape, in particular, is caused by offenders who have uncontrollable sexual urges (Michigan State University, 2015). The reasons why people commit sex crimes are varied, and no single theory explains all sex crimes. Chapter 2 presents various theories proposed to explain sex crimes and sex offenders. It should be noted, however, that many of these theories have only moderate empirical support, meaning we still do not know exactly why people commit sex crimes.

Myths Regarding Rapists, Rape, and Rape Victims

It has been proposed that women should be careful when walking alone at night, for fear that a stranger may rape them (Koester, 2015). The research shows that most rape victims know their rapists (Planty et al., 2013). It is also proposed that rape is (always) about sex, female victims are often at fault, and there is a "right" way to respond to a rape (University of Minnesota Duluth, 2001). An entire set of "rape myths" has been identified in the literature, and affects the way many people perceive rape. All of these myths are refuted by research, and are discussed in Chapter 3.

 
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