Defining feminism and feminist theory is challenging, but most feminist criminologists agree that it is more than just adding women to pre-conceived notions of crime and social control. In its most confined sense, feminism is a collection of political ideologies focused on women’s oppression to advance women’s equality through strategies for social change. In a more comprehensive, multifaceted sense and in terms of feminist scholarship, feminism is an array of interconnected contextual frames utilized for the observation, analysis and interpretation of the intricate ways in which the social realities of gendered inequality are constructed, structured, imposed and demonstrated on a macro (societal and institutional) scale to the micro (individual lived realities) scale. Feminist criminology is commonly recognized as a main division of critical criminology and, although much of early critical criminological theory was androcentric and gender-blind, the study of gender, sex and sexuality now features prominently in this discipline. Although there are at least 12 variants of feminist criminological theory – including liberal, radical, Marxist/socialist, postmodernist/poststructuralist, standpoint, multiracial, Indigenous, Black, queer and intersectional – most feminist theorists explicitly theorize gender, embrace diverse empirical epistemologies and contend that many countries are characterized by patriarchy: gendered structures in which women are dominated by men (see Renzetti, 2013). Critical feminist criminologists maintain a theoretical, empirical and policy-driven commitment to a plethora of significant social and global harms, including women and girls’ pathways to crime, drugs and the criminal–legal system; sexual harassment and intimate violence; moral panics about girls’ violence; the positionality of women in male-dominated criminal–legal domains (such as policing and corrections); hyper-sexualized media culture and pornography; commodification and trafficking of girls and women; and the demonization of girls and women of colour.
Previous studies of peer support for various types of violence against college students are heteronormative, being primarily concerned with the abuse of heterosexual women by heterosexual males. Using recent data from the Campus Quality of Life Survey conducted at a large residential college in the South Atlantic part of the US, the main objective of this paper is to help fill a major research gap by presenting data on two ways in which negative peer support contribute to sexual violence and stalking in a campus LGBTQ community. The results show that LGBTQ students are more likely to receive such support than heterosexual ones and that negative peer support predicts sexual assault and stalking among both types of students. Implications for further empirical and theoretical work are discussed, as well as some key policy issues.