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Corporate Victimization

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: February 10, 2000
Latest update: July 6, 2004

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Framework for Analysis of Corporate Victimiation

Elizabeth Szockkyj and Nancy Frank provide a framework for analysis of corporate victimization of women in our text. For purposes of discussion, I have provided the following outline to guide us through that framework:

  1. Many corporate crimes are not recognized legally.

    p.4. "The harms caused by corporations have not been typically recognized by the public as crimes, even though criminologists since the 1940s have claimed that they are." Since the crimes are not recognized legally, the state cannot prosecute for them. That leaves the problem up to civil and administrative law. In civil law, the individual harmed must find a private attorney, and sue the corporation. In administrative law, agencies could fine the corpration for the harm it causes and order the corporation to pay for that harm.

    For a variety of reasons civil and administrative law have not been effective in addressing the harms caused by corporations. Private attorneys are expensive, and can rarely afford to fight a corporate legal department without help. Administrative fines are affected by government's close relationship to corporate America.

    Private civil tort suits, when they are well founded, often result in settlements. That means they never get to court, so there is never any public hearing, and the terms of the settlement usually include a gag order, meaning that neither the defendant nor the plaintiff can discuss the settlement publicly. When civil suits are handled this way, there is no record established of the issues and the evidence, and so the next person who sues is forced to start over proving the corporation's harmful activities from scratch again. That means that these cases cannot build on each other.

    Szockyj and Frank suggest that there are very different standards in the way the law handles a young black male as a defendant and a healthy corporation as a defendant. Expectations are that a the corporation is unlikely to commit an intentional harm, but that the young black male is more likely to commit such a harm. Here lies injustice. What can we do about it? Make ourselves and others aware of the injustice. Read Martha Minow's unstated assumptions.

  2. Women's Trust in Pharmaceuticals Problematic

    p. 13. Crimes, such as the harm done women by the Dalkon shield and DES could not be effectively prosecuted because of our failure to designate such intentional fraud as crime.

  3. Women's Acceptance of the Beauty Standard Problematic

    p.9. Careful here to avoid "blaming the victim." "While victim blaming can occur in relation to any kind of crime, and often does, the appllication of victim blaming to crimes affecting women has been especially offensive and worrisome." Particularly true with sexual assault and domestic violence.

    p. 15. Victim blaming with beauty products. Laura Shapiro: "to 'choose' a procedure that may harden th breastss, result in loss of sensation and introduce a range of serious health problems isn't a choice, it's a scripted response."

  4. Women's Acceptance of the Beauty Standard Problematic