An Exploratory Study of Male Young Offenders, Male Peer Support, and the Sexual Objectification of Females

Roberta Lynn Sinclair, Carleton University

The sexual, physical, and psychological abuse of women is a diverse area of resarch currently characterized by an influx of studies documenting the incidence and prevalence of such abuse. Wihin the Canadian context, little attention has been allotted to male abuse of female intimates before marriage. In fact, adolescent dating relationships may very well be a learning ground for woman abuse among older couples.

A growing body of literature suggests that male peer support is a key explanatory factor of woman abuse in dating relationships (Schwartz and DeKeseredy 1997; Totten 1996; Kanin 1985, 1967). One avenue through which male peer support of violence against women can be demonstrated is via the sexual objectification of women. Drawing on narratives from in-depth, personal interviews with thirty-six male young offenders at an Ontario, Canada secure custody detention center, the presentation explores some of the resources provided by the respondents' male peer groups that encourage the sexual objectification of females. The importance of integrating the research findings wqhen developing youth programs will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006