Theorizing Unquantifiable Victimization with Criminology and Transgender Studies

(Pages: 87-92)

Jessica Malandrin*

York University, 4700 Keele Street Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


This essay blends criminology and transgender studies to understand how Canada’s criminal justice system treats trans* women’s experiences of violence through the lens of the science of crime. Drawing on Cesare Lombroso, it can be debated that the legal and medical institutions inform criminologists of the objective ways in thinking about violence against women as biological and quantifiable. For example, double and multiple victimization put forth by criminologists, depend on understanding the counting of violence women experience through encounters with criminal justice processes. However, by using Susan Stryker’s thought of transgender studies, this paper borrows Stryker’s ideas to interrogate criminology’s theories about women as a science to understanding experiences of violence that women undergo because of their gender. Informed by this, criminology studies should consider alongside Stryker’s ideas, Kimberle Crenshaw’s definition of intersectionality and the ways in which gender overlaps with other systems of violence—race and class to name a few that is unquantifiable. Criminology studies influence on the law and criminal justice systems to treat the biological as a place of interrogation in the context of violence against women, which can be seen through the Kimberly Nixon case. As an alternative in thinking about Canada’s criminal justice system as a process of bringing forth equality, this essay brings to fore the idea that unquantifiable victimization as a theory and methodology which depends on art instead of the law to comprehend the overlapping violence that women experience can be healed for a moment by making art.


Violence; transgender studies; intersectionality; unquantifiable victimization; art-making