While I don't believe that a perpetrator of sex crimes should get excused because that person was previously the victim of a sex crime, I'm also troubled by the reasoning behind the sentencing of this case.
"There is a long pattern of victims becoming perpetrators themselves," he [Judge Thomas Marcelain] said before sentencing Dodgens to 15 years in prison.
Even if we knew that a high percentage of convicted sex offenders have some history of being sexually assaulted or abused that doesn't tell us anything about the percentage of victims who never go on to become sexual perpetrators.
This judge's conclusion has the potential to encourage people to keep their sexual abuse secret for the fear that they will automatically be seen as highly likely to sexually abuse or rape.
What this common history among convicted sex offenders may be telling us is just how pervasive sexual abuse really is and how poorly we've dealt with this pervasive problem. This pattern also reveals how dangerous it is for people to treat victims as if what happened was their fault. If those victims learn this lesson too well, then their sexual offending becomes the fault of their victims.
That means that victim blaming does more than add damage to the original crime, it can contribute to the continuation of a cycle of violence.