Sex Crimes Are Influenced By Genetic Factors, Says New Study, Which Is A Major Finding For Rape Prevention

If we’ve learned anything from binge-watching Law & Order: SVU, it’s that sex crimes run in the family. Although it’s not always the case, as Stabler and Benson sometimes discover, a new study has found that men with a father or brother who have committed a sex offense are five times more likely to commit a sex-related crime of their own. Pinpointing this genetic link is great in the hopes of prevention, but scary to those who share blood with a convicted sex offender.

The study of 21, 566 convicted sex offender over a three-decade period found that 2.5 percent of the brothers of these men had also been convicted of at least one sex crime; wherein the general population the amount of men who commit rape or sexual assault is 0.5 percent. When it came to sons and fathers, sons of sexual offenders were four times more likely to commit a sex offense, than those who had no relation to a sex offender. With numbers like that, trying to suggest the there is no genetic link when it comes to sex offenders feels pretty damn close to impossible.

However, before we start charging through the town wrangling up all the male offspring of sex offenders, we need to realize that even when it comes to genetics, there are no guarantees. And, of course, nowhere in the study was there anything even close to a 100 percent rate that sons and brothers of sex offenders would grow up to be the same way.

What this information does provide us is the knowledge that such behavior can be genetic and because of this, it’s these men who have to keep themselves aware of potential urges so they can avoid committing any crime. They need to make the effort to keep the women around them safe.

The best way to put an end to rape culture is to teach boys and men that rape is wrong and having the wherewithal that you’re predisposed in some way to such behavior is the first step in trying to alleviate the grotesque rape rates that plague our world. Just because your dad has committed a sexual assault, doesn’t mean you’re branded for life. It just means you need to be more aware than others of your potential to do harm.

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