Gay and Lesbian Hate Crime Analysis
CJA 540 Criminological Theory
October 31, 2010
Dr. Shaunita Grase
Gay and Lesbian Hate Crime Analysis
The United States Justice Department defines hate crimes as “the violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or disability” (National Crime Prevention Council, 2010, p. 1). Over the centuries and throughout the world, history shows that dominant people, groups and communities who share ethics, culture, or religion attempt to assert their beliefs and prejudices on others. Often this assertion is an overt act of power similar to the power-control theory and the Gender-based theory. The infliction or assertion of power and control through intimidation and violence can result in a hate group label. Public demonstrations in the last few decades by the previously hidden and quiet minorities have focused on civil rights, woman’s equal rights, and equal rights for gays and lesbians have further fueled the fear and animosity of these hate groups. In the United States, 41 states including the District of Columbia have enacted hate crime legislation. However, the mere belief of a group or even a violent act against someone by a member of a hate group does not substantiate the existence of a hate crime. Hate crimes are confirmed when the evidence obtained sustains that the violent act was motivated in whole in or in part by the perpetrator’s bias (University of Oklahoma Police Department, 2008). Factors of Victimization
The victim group of focus is gays and lesbians. The basis of victimization is primarily sexual orientation with a secondary focus on religion, or a lack of religion. Discovered during the research process for this paper, is a “blog” attached to the “Lez-get-real” website based in San Francisco. The site displays recent heated debates between a member of a local church and a gay man who used foul language, taunted, and bragged that he is gay and an atheist (Lez-get-real, n.d.). The validity and intention of statements as factual or simply directed to be inflammatory is unclear. In either case, members of hate groups feed on this rhetoric and use the information to rationalize their positions and their acts of violence. Most often, no provocation by the victim is given or required for the attackers to strike. Applicable Specific Case Examples
On December 13, 2008, an openly gay, 28-year-old, Richmond California woman was gang raped for 45 minutes in the street because she had a rainbow sticker on her car. The suspects beat her with a blunt object and transported her to a local abandoned building. There, the rape and torture continued until the suspects finally left her naked and badly injured. Throughout the attack, the suspects made homophobic statements (Lez-get-real, n.d.).
On February 12, 2008, a 15-year-old Oxnard, California, boy sat at a computer in his junior high class as a 14-year-old classmate walked up from behind and shot him twice in the head. The press labeled the five-foot four inches tall victim a “notorious sassy gay kid.” The suspect had a plethora of White supremacist material in his room with a racist skinhead philosophy from Tom Metzger and David lane (The Leadership Conference Educational Fund, 2010, p. 1).
In May 1988, two women were making love by the side of a stream along the Appalachian Trail when they were shot eight times by a man the women had seen briefly along the trail. One woman, shot five times managed to walk to a road for help, but her friend who was shot three times, died on the trail (Kelly, 2002).
According Jose Feito, a psychology professor at St. Mary’s college in Moraga, California, in each of these examples “what you get is an immature desire to display power.” The attackers go looking for easy or suitable victims. In the Richmond case, suitable meant someone the attackers could...
References: Herek, G. M. (1999). Psychological Sequelae of Hate Crime Victimization Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults. University of California, Davis. Retrieved from http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/violence.PDF
Kelly, T. L. (2002). Is Restorative Justice Appropriate for Cases of Hate Crime. Department of Conflict Resolution Portland State university. Retrieved from http://web.pdx.edu/-psu17799/WPACJEpaper.htm
Lez Get Real. (n.d.). Hate Crimes. Retrieved from http://lezgetreal.com/2008/12/hate-crimes-open-lesbian-gang-raped-in-california/
National Crime Prevention Council. (2010). Hate Crime. Retrieved from http://www.ncpc.org/topics/hate-crime
Restoration Justice. (n.d.). Restorative Justice Programs. Retrieved from http://www.barproject.org/restorative-justice-programs.htm
The Leadership Conference Educational Fund. (2010). The Leadership Conference. Retrieved from http://www.civilrights.org/publications/hatecrimes/lgbt.html
University of Oklahoma Police Department. (2008). The Police Notebook. Retrieved from http://www.ou.edu/oupd/hate.htm
Williams, F. P., & McShane, M. D. (2010). Criminological Theory (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
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