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Social Deviant Behaviors

Social Deviant Behaviors

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Deviance is a phenomenon observed in most social settings. Instances of deviant acts in contemporary society have increased due to various social factors influencing an individual’s behavior. Deviance has generated much attention from communities, leaders, scholars, and institutions as they all try to understand why deviants act as they chose without following society’s norms, rules, way of life, and laws. Deviant behavior may refer to actions that contravene social norms and values. Accordingly, deviant behavior may either be voluntary or involuntary, informal or formal. Deviance behavior is a socially constructed phenomenon that affects society in different ways as deviant behavior generates both positive and negative reactions from society members. Hence, deviant behavior can be said to be influenced by society and activities within society.

Case Under Study

Murder is a capital crime across many countries in the world. Murder not only transgresses the norms of a society but also violates the laws of any country. Murder is under the category of formal deviance as it is against enacted laws in society. Murder is the worst form of deviance as in many counties it presupposes capital punishment for individuals that commit such a crime. Formal deviance happens when enacted laws are violated by an individual. Murder is universally known as a form of formal deviance as it violates laws. In our society, individuals who commit murder are segregated from the rest of society and are forced outside the community because their actions are against social norms and values. The reasons for committing murder cannot always be traced to cultural factors as it is an overwhelming task, but society has an influence on some of the deviant behaviors exercised by individuals in a society.

A striking case of deviant behavior is child murder as illustrated in Alegria and Rhia murder case. Rhia Almeida, a seven-year-old child, was brutally raped and murdered in 2009, and her body was buried in the killer’s home backyard in Arizona. Kyle Alegria, who was 19 years old when the Rhia’s murder occurred was convicted for the brutal crime. Kyle Alegria was sentenced to life without parole in the year 2013. Dr. Mathew, a psychiatrist responsible for Alegria’s case, reported that his patient started displaying characteristics of deviant behavior at a significantly young age. Alegria started showing these traits when he was only at pre-school age.

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Dr. Matthew also reported that Alegria’s parents fostered Alegria’s deviant behavior even if they did not know about it. According to Mendel’s report, Alegria started watching pornographic movies and horror movies at a very early age. Alegria’s parents were aware of his increasing addiction to pornographic movies and horror movies. Mendel also reports that Alegria confessed to having been raped by a boy in his neighborhood, but his parents did not do anything about it when he told them of the incident. Mendel also reports that due to Alegria’s rape, the boy developed a sexual attraction toward his mother and even had sexual fantasies about her. The case of Rhia’s murder shows Alegria’s deviant behavior, which was fostered by his parent’s inaction and poor decisions.

Discriminators Acts

In this case, Alegria is the discriminator because he commits the murder and gets a life sentence in the case. Alegria started deviant behavior at a very young age, which influenced him to rape and kill Rhia. Rape is a deviant act that is not accepted in society and is also an illegal act, which makes rape to be formal deviant behavior. Alegria’s behavior of watching pornographic films influenced the deviant behavior of raping, while horror movies may have been the central influence of killing Rhia. Alegria’s discriminatory acts are raping and killing Rhia, which are both forms of deviant behavior as they are against an enacted law. Through watching horror, violent, and pornographic movies, Alegria developed deviant behavior that prompted him to murder Rhia.

Victims and Victimization Experiences

Rhia is the main victim in this case as she is raped and murdered by Alegria. Also, Rhia’s family and relatives are victims of the murder. Alegria’s parents are also victims of the murder as they are accused of fostering their son’s deviant behavior, and they also lose him when he is given a life imprisonment sentence. Rhia must have undergone intense suffering and pain at the hands of Alegria. Getting raped is one of the most humiliating and shameful acts that can be done to an individual, which are key reasons why people decide to keep silent about rape cases. Rhia’s pain is unimaginable as she is a young girl who is forcefully raped at that tender age and ruthlessly killed by the same person.

Rhia’s parents must have undergone intense suffering from losing their young daughter. Death brings suffering and pain to relatives, friends, and family members of the deceased, and the same case applies to Rhia’s family members. The murder of Rhia may make family members experience practical, emotional, and psychological problems because of losing her. The family members of Rhia are the co-victims and are prone to suffer severe psychological problems from dealing with the violent murder of their daughter. Unimaginable pain and suffering are the two factors experienced by the victims of Rhia’s horrific murder.

Social Factors Escalating the Case

Alegria’s murder case on Rhia has underlying social factors and forces. Alegria was influenced to murder Rhia by social practices primarily those practiced in his family. Alegria’s parents allowed their son to continue watching pornographic movies while they knew that such an obsession would affect their son in the long run. Some of the behaviors that society allows make deviant behavior seem acceptable, yet it is not acceptable. In most homes, it is wrong for children to watch pornographic movies, and parents restrict their children from such deviant acts, but Alegria’s parents fostered his behavior by such permissiveness. Social media and the use of networking sites are both accepted in society, but the youth is misusing them for immoral activities such as watching pornography. Society as a whole fails to educate individuals on the detrimental use of such media platforms. Watching pornography is becoming a norm in our communities, especially now that young children can access pornographic materials through the internet.

Indifference is also an element that has facilitated the development of deviant behavior in society. Alegria’s parents did nothing when their son told them that a boy in the neighborhood had raped him. Such indifference becomes a source of social deviance because without a reaction on the part of his parents Alegria may have developed a desire for vengeance or a belief that such acts can be acceptable. Alegria developed a perception that sexual acts and extreme violence are accepted within society. The convergence of violent and sexual images in Alegria’s mind constitutes the root cause for his deviant behavior.

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Additionally, their upbringing of Alegria indicates that his parents were not aware of his inclinations and potentially deviant activities. It is the role of parents to advise and guide their children in the right direction, but Alegria’s parents failed to do that, which resulted in Mendel’s conclusion that they fostered the development of deviant behavior by their son. The fact that Alegria’s parents knew about their son’s addiction to pornographic materials and failed to address that issue is a clear indication that Alegria had a poor upbringing.

Case Lessons

Various lessons can be learned from Alegria’s case. There are social forewarnings associated with Rhia’s murder. Alegria developed an unnatural view that sexual acts and violence are accepted in society, which shows that societal actions, activities, values, and norms can promote deviant behavior development. People, especially young individuals, tend to learn behaviors from observing what is accepted in society. In this case, the lesson to be drawn is that parents play a critical role in ensuring that children do not develop deviant behavior that may lead to negative consequences. Society needs to define clearly what is acceptable and what is not particularly in cases that concern the use of social media platforms, which is a central source for learning deviant behavior as individuals can access a lot of disturbing content via the internet. Educating and creating awareness of negative deviant behavior are some of the best practices to avoid such cases as described in this paper. The development of deviant behavior in contemporary society is inevitable, but with proper advice, education, and guidance deviant behavior can be mitigated and controlled to avoid the emergence of extreme acts.


Deviant behavior generates both negative and positive reactions in society, and it can be categorized as formal and informal deviant behavior. Murder is widely recognized as a formal deviant behavior as it is against set laws. Alegria’s rage and murder of Rhia is deviant behavior that was influenced by his upbringing. The view that sexual acts and violence are accepted within the society made Alegria commit the horrific crime. His parents who are members of the society fostered Alegria’s deviant behavior by not guiding him properly. Society has a role to play in ensuring that norms and values are not misunderstood by individuals, which will prevent the development of deviant behavior that is improperly deemed acceptable in society.

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