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This is facilitated by other processes such as deindividuation, which is discussed below. Two individual characteristics in this sample which seem to be pertinent to this theme are the age and ethnicity of the offenders. Additionally, in the co-offending literature, young age has also been associated to co-offending Reiss, Furthermore, it seems that there may be some differences between the young and the adult offenders as the adult offenders stated more frequently that alcohol played a part in their offense and that their co-offenders had a direct influence on their behavior.

Etgar noted that in the literature on lone sexual offending, it has already been established that there are clear differences between adolescent and adult sexual offenders and that these should also be considered in order to tailor therapeutic interventions when working with perpetrators of MPSO.

Etgar highlighted that these differences are apparent in emotions, cognitions, attitudes, and behaviors due to the fact that adolescents experience the world in a different way to adults. Past studies have shown that, especially in young incarcerated populations, ethnic minorities are over-represented Bauer et al.


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Additionally, several risk factors for criminal behavior have been identified in ethnic minority groups which include discrimination in the host society, difficulties in acculturation and integration, and the socio-economic gap between ethnic minorities and nationals Bauer et al. Young age and ethnicity of offenders are not considered to be causal factors of MPSO, but these characteristics could be viewed as risk factors that, in association with other factors e.

Clear evidence is provided for the existence of group processes and dynamics in some of the reasons given by the participants for being involved in MPSO. It is possible to identify group processes proposed by Harkins and Dixon , such as social conformity and social comparison, in the theme related to the influence of others. This conformity is influenced by rewards and punishments controlled by the group. Harkins and Dixon considered that some individuals would participate in MPSO to avoid being rejected or even punished by the group and losing rewards they received from the group.

When the participants of the current study spoke about the influence of others, some of them directly stated that they did not want to look bad, to have problems with the group, or be rejected by their peers, which clearly points to the presence of social comparison and conformity. Others did not report these reasons directly, but disclosed obeying an order without questioning it, and others stated that they participated after the co-offenders either insisted they do or taunted them. This is suggestive of either being scared of the other co-offenders and not wanting to be punished by them, or wanting to belong to the group and therefore acting in a way that would demonstrate that they were part of it.

Why Mae Chose to Forgive Her Perpetrator

Modeling is another group process that is relevant to the theme influence of others. In the current study, some participants reported how they took part after seeing their co-offenders assault the victim. In the theme related to lack of insight, participants described not having insight into their feelings and thoughts and that the events happened quickly and in a confusing manner. This could indicate the influence of the group process deindividuation. In the current study, some participants stated that they could not understand how they had assaulted the victim; that it was something that they had never thought about before.

Leadership and Role-Taking in Multiple Perpetrator Rape

In the theme victim blaming, sociocultural factors related to beliefs and attitudes about women, sexuality, rape myths, and gender norms were implicated. Some participants in the study spoke about how the female victim was judged by her past behavior. This was also apparent in a case with a male victim, who was a vulnerable young adult.

There were some distinct aspects to the cases involving male victims. In the majority of cases they were younger and physically weaker than the perpetrators. In three cases, they were school colleagues of the offenders and the offenses seem to have occurred in a bullying context. In one of the cases, the offenders admitted that their aim was to punish the victim because he had complained to the school when they had previously bullied him.

In the only case in which the victim was an adult male, he had a learning disability and had in the past been abused by other people. A few authors have proposed that men targeted for MPSO are perceived by the perpetrators as not fitting into stereotypical gender norms because, for example, they are considered physically or mentally weak, or homosexual Franklin, ; Lees, Sociocultural factors can also be identified in the theme normalized sexual violence.

More specifically, in this theme, sociocultural factors seem to be interacting with situational factors. This demonstrates how broader sociocultural factors attitudes toward women and sexuality can interact with situational factors crime and gang culture and increase the likelihood of MPSO. The participants that spoke about this theme considered that they would not have committed the assault if they were not under the influence of alcohol. They considered that the alcohol had a disinhibiting effect or had clouded their judgment.

Girls and gangs: Preventing Multiple Perpetrator Rape

Nevertheless, they did not see it as the only factor and, in one of the quotes above, a participant explained how alcohol allowed him to become more susceptible to the influence of others. He felt that he had assaulted the victim not only because he was drunk, but because, by being drunk, he was more susceptible to the coercion and taunts of his co-offender.

Alcohol consumption can have a number of pharmacological and psychological effects on an individual Abbey, Therefore, they would not have the capacity to take in cues such as risks or future outcomes. While self-reports from offenders make it possible to obtain their own accounts and opinions about their involvement in their offenses, they do have limitations.

For example, some offenders may try to minimize or even deny their involvement in the offenses in order to present themselves in a more favorable light, which can affect the reliability of these accounts. Offenders often use minimizations and post hoc excuses when talking about their offenses.

Excuse making has been described by Snyder and Higgins as an adaptive mechanism, which is important in maintaining self-esteem and coping with stress and anxiety. In addition, the post hoc explanations for their offending provided by the offenders might not be accurate because people can have little direct introspective access to their cognitive processes. Nisbett and Wilson suggested that when people try to explain the causes of their behavior they do so based on a priori implicit causal theories about the extent to which a certain stimulus is a believable cause of a given response.

In the main themes identified, there is very little reference to individual factors. During the interviews, a few offenders did speak about individual factors, such as going through a difficult period at the time the offense occurred because of family problems, or considering that at that time they were very young, immature, or irresponsible. Nevertheless, it was not a well-developed theme and this could be due to the fact that the focus of the interviews was on what happened directly before, during and after the assault, rather than specifically prompting for individual factors.

This could be considered a limitation of this study and in future research it would be useful to explore possible individual factors.

Handbook on the Study of Multiple Perpetrator Rape

Another limitation of this study is that the sample consisted exclusively of convicted offenders of MPSO. Furthermore, Andersson, Mhatre, Mqotsi, and Penderis found that victims of MPSO were less likely to report the crime to the police than victims of lone sexual violence. Further research using community samples is needed to overcome this limitation. The results of this study have implications for prevention, assessment, and treatment purposes. Although a number of dynamic risk factors for sexual violence in general have been ascertained e. For some of these offenders, MPSO-related factors might be the only dynamic risk factors present.

The results from the current study highlight the importance of group processes in MPSO. These should, therefore, be identified and addressed in prevention and treatment programs. Both Blanchard and Etgar and Ganot-Prager have noted previously that the dynamics observed between group members during evaluation and therapeutic intervention were similar to those reported to be present during the sexual assault itself. For instance, if it is identified that an offender is susceptible to being influenced by others, therapeutic work could focus on increasing their self-control and assertiveness.

Handbook on the Study of Multiple Perpet

It has also been found that cognitive-behavioral treatment programs e. Similarly, with regard to prevention programs with young people, issues such as peer pressure and group processes should be addressed. Sullivan and Jolliffe evaluated a number of peer influence and mentoring programs which targeted peer relationships and decision making within the context of peer interactions, and found some promising results in relation to the reduction of delinquent behavior.

The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context

The findings support a multi-factorial explanation of MPSO which means that, besides group processes, other factors are also present and should be taken into account for prevention, assessment, and treatment purposes. Themes consistent with sociocultural and situational factors were identified that, in interaction with individual factors, likely led to the offense. As expected, group processes and dynamics were given as reasons for their involvement in MPSO by the offenders we interviewed.

Additionally, other explanatory factors i.

Furthermore, the participants tended to attribute their offending to multiple factors, rather than just one. This supports the proposition of multiple, interacting factors explaining the perpetration of MPSO. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. In this article, the term MPSO is used because it is the term utilized in the main theory examined.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Arch Sex Behav. Published online Aug 7. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Teresa da Silva, Email: ku.