There is a new, well relatively new, online journal out that recently had an article written by Jennifer McCollum that discussed female pedophilia. The publication is called MP: An Online Feminist Journal. While the article itself was discussing a novella from 1898 there were some comments that Ms. McCollum wrote that I wanted to highlight here. Excerpts from The Romance of Henry James’s Female Pedophile:
Ms. McCollum hits the nail right on the head with:
American society has silenced the female pedophile from public discourses, removing her from history, because she threatens to deconstruct the cultural imagining of femininity as a genre.
Recent studies in criminology and psychiatry conducted by Kolja Schiltz and Boris Schiffer prove that today the trend is still to consider pedophilia as an entirely male pathology, as each study uses only male test subjects.
She is quite right. The use of the term pedophilia in a clinical manner rather than as many lay people use it makes a difference in the definition. She then goes on to point out some things that have been said on here many times before:
Indeed, the slight amount of attention given to female pedophiles is staggering, considering that, according to David Finkelhor’s numerous studies, women’s sexual abuse of children is much more serious than men’s because women are more likely to have abused more children for a longer period of time (Murray 215), are more intrusive, and more likely to use higher rates of force than men (Moulden 388). Finkelhor found that in cases of daycare molestation, more than 60% of children who were molested, were molested by women (Murray 213).
I could not agree more. Often when someone gets insulted or dismissive about the issue of female sex offenders it seems to me that some, some, of them seem to take offense because of the offenders gender and they completely ignore the victims. Ms. McCollum goes on with more:
Heather Moulden’s 2007 follow-up to Finkelhor’s research verifies, “despite a social reluctance to acknowledge female sexual abusers, reports suggest that they account for between 3% and 15% of all sexual offences” (387). However, as Richard Tewksbury reports, that number is probably much higher since “female sex offending is […] acknowledged as possibly less likely to be detected or reported” (30). Despite the general reluctance to pursue female suspects and to incarcerate them (Moulden 199), criminal acts by female offenders have reached a ratio of 6:1 compared to male criminal acts (Palmero 30). Moulden’s study of female sex offenders found that “females offended against younger victims and were more violent as compared with male abusers”
It gives me hope that as more time goes by that more attention will be given to the information that Ms. McCollum pointed out above. Ms. McCollum made reference to a study and gave a quick blurb about it here:
Chow and Choy’s study of Miss A, a 23-year old mother of two sons, found that she met DSM’s criteria for a pedophile. She confessed two incidents of sexual abuse to her priest in which she, while babysitting, bathed young girls and continued to lick or rub their vaginal area and then masturbated herself. Miss A admitted that she believed these girls, aged 4 and 5, were sexually taunting her and were pleased with her initiation of a sex act. She decided to seek help in the fear that she may someday give birth to a daughter (214).
All the studies listed above, and many more, can be found on our main websites Bibliography page as well as being listed below.
Chow, Eva W.C., & Choy, Alberto L., (2002). Clinical characteristics and treatment response to SSRI in a female pedophile. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31(2), 211-215.
Mirkin, H. (1999). The Pattern of Sexual Politics — Feminism, Homosexuality and Pedophilia. Journal of Homosexuality, 37(2), 1-24.
Moulden, H. M., Firestone, P., & Wexler, A. F. (2007). Child Care Providers who commit sexual offenses: A description of offender, offense and victim characteristics. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 51(4), 384-406.
Murray, J. B. (2000). Psychological Profile of Pedophiles and Child Molesters. The Journal of Psychology 134(2), 211-224.
Palmero, G. (2003). Female Offenders in a Changing Society. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 47(1), 493-497.