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Sexual predator

Parents: sex crime

Related: sex - predator

Instances: lust murder


The term sexual predator is used pejoratively about a person who is seen as obtaining or trying to obtain sexual intercourse in a metaphorically predatory manner. Analogous to how a predator hunts down its prey, so the sexual predator is thought to "hunt" for his or her sex partners. People who commit sex crimes, such as rape or child sexual abuse, are commonly referred to as sexual predators, particularly in tabloid media or as a power phrase by politicians.

The term is applied according to a person's moral beliefs, and does not necessarily denote criminal behaviour. For example, an adult male who cruises a bar looking for consensual sex from an adult female could be considered a sexual predator by some.

There are problems with the definition. An eighteen-year-old boy who slaps the buttocks of a twelve-year-old girl is considered a sexual offender in some states. Likewise, a seventeen-year-old girl who has consensual sex with a thirteen-year-old boy can be charged with statutory rape and sentenced as a sexual predator. Whilst some people who are personally and/or morally opposed to sex alternatives, especially 'unnatural' ones, are happy with a definition that implies the seeking of sex as possibly unloving, harmful and dangerous, others believe that the definition of a sexual predator or offender should be more tightly defined to mean only those who 'really are dangerous sexual predators'. Some go as far as to say that the phrase is a product of moral panic, which unfairly draws lines between sex (productive) and violence (destructive), marking and fuelling 'unhealthy' misrepresentations of violent acts of physical assault as 'sexual in essence'.

Some U.S. states have a special status for criminals designated as sexually violent predators, which allows these offenders to be held in prison after their sentence is complete if they are considered to be a risk to the public. They can also be placed on a sexual offender or sexual predator list which is viewable by eveyone on the Internet. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_predator [Sept 2006]

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