Sexual Coercion and Social Learning Theory Essay

Published: 2019-10-13 07:51:10
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Category: Learning

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The Social Learning Theory (SLT) of Ronald Akers provides a way to analyze why certain behaviors not only occur but persist. This paper looks into sexual coercion through internet child pornography with regards to the case of Joshua Kistler through the SLT. The paper attempts at analyzing why Kistlers behavior persisted, predicting and preventing similar cases in the future, and providing recommendations on how to process the offender through the criminal justice system.

Sexual Coercion and Social Learning Theory Pornography is defined as any form of material manifested either through printed words or through images or pictures that is explicitly sexual in nature (Langton, 1990, p. 312). On the other hand, what can be termed as sexually explicit may refer to a type of an indexical term of a concept that selects characteristics based on what has specific consequences or alters specific taboos depending on the identified context or the specific culture (Rupp, 2007, p. 525).

Pornography has been one of the primary social issues that have concerned individuals from all range of ages regardless of racial or religious background and remains to this day as a growing threat to the ethical and religious precepts of various cultures and societies (Rea, 2001, p. 119). Specifically, child pornography has created threats to the integrity of the moral precepts of parents seeking to build a well-defined sense of morality for their children amidst the changing values of the larger society from the economic to the legal doctrines and many others (MacKinnon, 1989, p.316).

There are many reasons behind the existence of child pornography and pornography in general. Apart from reasons of immediate implicit desire to obtain sexual pleasure, certain forms of pornography may be derived from sexual coercion. In general, sexual coercion gives one the idea of the deed of persuading or convincing a minor individual in taking part into a sexual activity that is unwanted by the minor through the use of physical strength or threats of using it as well as the manipulation of the minors emotions (Brantley, 2005, p. 3).

On the other hand, Robert Franklin (2000) views sexual coercion as not necessarily including the employment of physical force, threat, or intimidation as the minor may not necessarily view the behaviors involved as coercive. Nevertheless, sexual coercion remains one of the primary reasons behind the persistence of child pornography in the society as countless prominent cases emphasize such claim, cases such as Ashton v. Free Speech Coalition (Cothrel, 2002, p. 8).

Another instance of child pornography is the case against Joshua Kistler who was convicted to 24 years of federal imprisonment. What separates the case of Kistler from the rest is the fact that he posed through the internet as a teenage boy with a terminal case of leukemia. This he did in order to coerce young girls from 12 to 14 years of age into forwarding Kistler images that are sexually explicit (Associated Press, 2007).

This paper attempts to analyze the case of Kistler by explaining 3 relevant issues pertaining to the topic in the context of Ronald Akers Social Learning Theory: why Kistlers case occurred, how the Social Learning Theory can be used in order to predict and prevent the likelihood of a similar crime from occurring in the future, and the suggestions that the Social Learning Theory will probably give on how to process Kistler through the criminal justice system.

In order to pursue with the goals set forth, it is an imperative to have a brief and concise look into Akers Social Learning Theory. Within the field of criminology, Ronald Akers along with Robert Burgess (1966) formulated the Social Learning Theory (SLT) in order to elucidate on the idea of deviancy through the combination of certain elements that advanced delinquency such as the social pressure from reckless peers with the elements that dissuade delinquency such as the responses of parents after knowing the delinquent status of their child.

Roughly speaking, the concept of deviancy may be interpreted as diverging away from the mainstream precepts or notions in the larger society, of what currently upheld as the norm or the manner in which things are normally conducted such as the dominant behaviors established by a certain society not only as acceptable but also worth promoting.

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