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Professor Geistman Presents Paper at Midwestern Criminal Justice Association Annual Meeting

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dr. Geistman presented his paper, titled “Attitudes of Criminal Justice and Other Majors Toward the Crime of Stalking” to the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association Annual Meeting. His paper discussed differing perspectives on the crime of stalking, Below is the abstract of his paper.

Stalking is a gendered crime that has plagued females throughout history. Since the passage of the first stalking law in the U.S., stalking victims have regularly suffered from the poor protection and support offered them by police departments. One suggestion as to why is that the majority of stalking victims is female while the majority of police are male. Is police neglect a result of their socialization on the job, or because of prior socialization in a patriarchal society? If it is prior socialization, it is likely that the next “crop” of law enforcement officers will continue to neglect stalking victims. Using radical feminism, especially its focus on patriarchy, as a guide, criminal justice and non-criminal justice majors were compared in order to determine what effect acceptance of interpersonal violence, endorsement of sex role stereotypes and adversarial sexual beliefs, as well as various demographic factors, had on endorsement of patriarchy, knowledge of stalking, and attitudes toward stalking. Data was collected from November 2008 through January 2009 at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.

Results indicate that while both groups of majors revealed an endorsement of patriarchy, the model for criminal justice majors included more factors and indicated that male conservatives who endorsed sex role stereotypes and held adversarial sexual beliefs were more likely to support patriarchy. Regarding knowledge of stalking, criminal justice majors who accepted interpersonal violence and endorsed patriarchy were more likely to report knowledge of stalking, while those who were white and intended to be police officers were less likely to. Regarding attitudes toward stalking, criminal justice majors who endorsed patriarchy and were white were less likely to blame the victim while those who had been in the military were more likely to do so.

Essentially, criminal justice majors tend to be more patriarchal than non-majors, report a better knowledge of stalking (with the exception of those who are white and intend to become police officers), and, with the exception of respondents with military backgrounds, tend to be supportive of stalking victims. Research and policy implications of these findings are then discussed.