Why Do We Treat Sex Crimes Differently Than Other Violent Crimes?

Source: thecrimereport.org 2/21/23

In a recently published research paper in the Stanford Law Review, Aya Gruber, a law professor at the University of Colorado, considers the concept of “sex exceptionalism” in the United States criminal justice system and asks readers to take a second look at how we treat sex crimes. 

Gruber previously published “The Feminist War on Crime: The Unexpected Role of Women’s Liberation in Mass Incarceration” with University of California Press. 

In “Sex Exceptionalism in Criminal Law,” Gruber argues that treating sex crimes differently than other crimes is not natural or neutral but rather has a political history that should be examined. 

Sex exceptionalism is the idea that sexual behavior and desires are seen as fundamentally different from other human behavior and deserve special treatment. 

“There was this notion that the feminist position on rape was always more, more, more, more incarceration, more policing, more prison.” Gruber told The Crime Report. “But it was also even non-feminists who were just having a hard time talking about it and didn’t approach it like you would approach a burglary or theft or other crimes.” 

Gruber’s paper challenges traditional narratives about the origin of rape laws and their moral underpinnings. 

The article suggests that it is now time to critically examine whether sex crimes should be treated differently than other violent assaults and calls for a further examination of the impact the treatment of sex crime actually has on the legal system.

Read the full article


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CU law professor has it down. This conversation needs to be continued.

I believe our society is so sick and entitled that society needs a group to hate. The vast majority of those that yell and holler about sex offenders have their own closets full of skeletons. I think most feminists that yell about rape have little to worry about. Nobody is interested in them that way. I have very little optimism towards our society. I think we are headed for a collapse and/or revolution

This is a good article that wants to bring up the conversation of empirical support over fear mongering as to why there’s “sex exceptionalism” in our laws. The sex exceptionalism has created a second class citizen, which this article is trying to undercover and trying to figure out where as well as when did this sex exceptionalism come from.

IMO, the bulk of it generated at the Smith v Doe 2003 SCOTUS decision. What should have been identified as punishment was made an exception to call the extended custody as regulatory penalty all because the SCOTUS utilized false information that sex offenders have a “frightening and high” 80% recidivism rates.

The sex exceptionalism pervaded beyond conviction, but also post-conviction reliefs. In most states, there are post-conviction relief laws being passed and anyone on the registry is exempted from those relief.

I do hope professor Gruber does continue to shine the inequality between sex offenses and other offenses. This can be valuable evidence for ACSOL and Janice when they go to SCOTUS. This blatant sex exceptionalism is akin to Jim Crow laws.

just ask Florida’s Ron DeSantis

This is a great article, and I’m glad that there is at least a discussion about this subject. One thing I always think about is the sentence…it is given in court but is irrelevant because the arbitrary laws give discretion to the Judge as to whether it continues or ends. An offender is already left with little representation due to Atty’s that require so-o much money to represent them or Atty’s that don’t want to help the offender, as to not be pegged ” the Atty that helps Sex Offenders “. I think that, in a book, every sentence has a period at the end, right ? Why isn’t there a period at the end of a sentence in these court cases ? Can’t they find a way to satisfy these cases as to not extend their sentences ? What do they want ? There doesn’t even seem to be a requirement in place for an offender, to give to the court, to satisfy their case. Its ” up to the Judge ” – arbitrary. It feels like money is the factor because there are some offenders that ” get out of it “…now that is the real tragedy ! Many of those type of scenarios are family members that assault their wives and children…doesn’t it seem like there should be more analysis of or categorizing the cases ? Its grouping them all together, like apples and oranges, and we all know there is a difference – right ?