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Women and crime

             Women are traditionally thought of as loving, caring and nurturing people. But the battle for gender equality, coupled with a media outbreak of violent women on television and the movie screen, has increased the popularity and acceptance of women and crime.
             Over the past century, female violence has been on the rise. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report of 1996 shows that women only made up 15% of those who were arrested for violent crimes. However, between 1985 and 1994 the arrests made of women for violent crimes rose 90% compared to 43% for men. These violent crimes include aggravated assault and sex offense, excluding rape and prostitution. The only category in which men widened their lead was murder. This shows that crimes committed by women are on the rise.
             Cesare Lombroso, who believed that men were “born criminals,” also believed that women could be born criminals as well. He says that women who are born criminals are “monsters” and “belong more to the male than the female sex.” He says this because he feels that if you combine the worst parts of womanhood, such as cunning, spiteful and deceitful, with a man who has a criminal mind you would have a monster. Freud’s view on this would indicate the female had abnormal childhood development. He feels that male interests and aspirations during youth show that there is a masculinity complex that came from an unsuccessful resolution of penis envy.
             Freda Adler argued that women’s rise on the criminal scale was due to their entry into the workforce. She believes that women’s roles have changed in the home and the workplace. These changes have put women in similar positions as men, thus giving them equal opportunity to commit the same crimes. Crime by women only began to rise noticeably since 1970. That’s about the time that women were getting equal rights. Before 1970 women’s place was in the home and they did not have the same opportunities as men to commit crimes.