Top Ten Myths About Female Sex Offenders
According to a major 2004 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education – In studies that ask students about offenders, sex differences are less than in adult reports. The 2000 AAUW data indicate that 57.2 percent of all students report a male offender and 42.4 percent a female offender with the Cameron et al. study reporting nearly identical proportions as the 2000 AAUW data (57 percent male offenders vs. 43 percent female offenders).. (Source .PDF Download)
“65% of the survivors who tried to tell a therapist, doctor, teacher, or other professional were not believed the first time they disclosed. Overall, 86% of those who tried to tell anyone were not believed the first time they disclosed.” – (Kidscape, Female sexual abuse of children: The ultimate taboo)
The sexual abuse of children by women, primarily mothers, once thought to be so rare it could be ignored, constituted 25% (approximately 36 000 children) of the sexually abused victims. This statistic is thought to be underestimated due to the tendency of non-disclosure by victims. – (Source National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect)
“The issue of victims not telling was highlighted after the Kidscape First National Conference on Female Sexual Abuse in March 1992. The television programme This Morning opened up a hotline for callers to talk about abuse by women. In the course of one day, they had over 1000 telephone calls. Ninety per cent of the callers had never told anyone about their abuse before that programme. The vast majority of the callers were women. (Kidscape, Female sexual abuse of children: The ultimate taboo)
Women’s sexual abuse of children may be much more serious than men’s because women are more likely to have abused more children for a longer period of time, are more intrusive, and more likely to use higher rates of force than men. – (Source link, link)
In cases of daycare molestation, more than 60% of children who were molested, were molested by women. – (Source link)
Approximately 95% of all youth reporting staff sexual misconduct said they had been victimized by female staff. In 2008, 42% of staff in state juvenile facilities were female. (Bureau of Justice Report)
Studies over the past two decades on lesbian sexual violence show a range from a low of five percent to a high of 57 percent of respondents claiming they had experienced attempted or completed sexual assault or rape by another woman, with most studies finding rates of over 30 percent (Lori B. Girshick, Ph.D
More women (58%) than men (42%) are perpetrators of all forms of child maltreatment. (Child Maltreatment: Facts at a Glance CDC)
One in six adult men reported being sexually molested as children, and — in a surprise finding — nearly 40 percent of the perpetrators were female, a new study found. (Source Link)
About 27 percent of women and 34 percent of men among the Dunedin study members reported they had been physically abused by their partner. About 37 percent of women and 22 percent of men said they had perpetrated the violence. (Source Link)
“But among youth who told us the genders of the people who exploit them, nearly half of the teens had exchanged sex with at least one female. Indeed, nearly 1 in 3 youth had been exploited only by women, while half of youth had bee exploited solely by men.” (Link)
In a study of 17,337 survivors of childhood sexual abuse, 23% had a female-only perpetrator and 22% had both male and female perpetrators. ( Dube, Shanta R et al. “Long-Term Consequences of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Gender of Victim.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine. (2005):28(5), p 430 – 438.
There is an alarmingly high rate of sexual abuse by females in the backgrounds of rapists, sex offenders and sexually aggressive men – 59% (Petrovich and Templer, 1984), 66% (Groth, 1979) and 80% (Briere and Smiljanich, 1993). (Link)
Juvenile offenders were less likely to lie about past abuse except if the abuser was a female authority figure (Hindman and Peters 2001). (Link)
Domestic violence research overwhelmingly shows that women are just as likely as men to initiate and engage in domestic violence. – (Source – References Examining Assaults by Women on Their Spouses or Male Partners: An Annotated Bibliography by Martin S. Fiebert, Department of Psychology, California State University, Long Beach)
Produced by Maureen Prentice and Glynis Whiting
46 minutes • 2001
Available on DVD and VHS
When Girls Do It takes an unflinching look at the motivations of female sexual predators and the devastating effects on their victims. This documentary reveals the human reality behind sexual abuse by women; healing those who have survived abuse, treating female offenders and preventing countless other children from becoming victims. Featuring powerful interviews and compelling testimony, it shows how important it is to acknowledge the enormity of female sexual offenses, and encourages victims to speak out against this devastating crime.
DVD – 28 minutes
This award-winning experimental documentary combines interviews and poetic video art to explore the experiences of four women remembering the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. Three of the four women were sexually abuse by their mothers, the fourth by her brother. Interview segments are combined with layered images and music to create an impression of subconscious memory, dream, and trauma. This video packs information, emotion, and validation without traumatizing audiences with explicit detail. The ONLY video we know of where mothers are identified as sexual abusers. Produced by Mara Alper. (1993)
DVD – 52 minutes
Boys and Men Healing is a documentary about the impact male child sexual abuse has on both the individual and society, and the importance of male survivors healing and speaking out for the well being of individuals, families, and communities. Featuring non-offending men, this film digs deep into the effects of boyhood sexual abuse– shame, intimacy problems, sexual identity confusion, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse or rage that led to violence plagued their lives–yet each man ultimately chose the arduous task of healing. Through counseling and support groups and taking action toward the prevention of other boys, each man is a testimony of hope and the ability for survivors to thrive. The film bursts forth with beauty and celebration of men’s emotions and voices-too long veiled under masculinity stereotypes and silence. Christopher de Serres, Co-Founder of (Wo)Men Speak Out says, “I am a male sexual abuse survivor and I say this with more courage than I did the day before because of films like Boys and Men Healing.” And ultimately, this film is also for boys and children, and a call to action to speak out, protect and advocate for children. Eileen King, Regional Director Justice For Children/Washington, D.C. Chapter, speaks about the film, ” I predict that Boys and Men Healing will have a profound effect on the ears that are still closed to the message that we must hear, care, act and protect, especially when the voice is quiet and small”. Boys and Men Healing is a celebration of courage, the power of truth, and the power to transform. BIG VOICE PICTURES seeks to reveal truths and bring difficult issues to light for the well being of individuals, families and communities, with the intention of motivating discussion, and effecting change.
Child Abuse, Gender and Society – (2007)
Women Who Sexually Abuse Children – (2006)
Female Sexual Abuse of Children – (1994)
Susan Strickland, Ph.D.
“People tend to think women can’t really sexually assault because they don’t have the proper anatomy, or they don’t have aggressive tendencies — sexual aggression,” said Susan Strickland, Ph.D., a certified sex offender treatment provider.
“Women molest, but they molest in a different way,” said Strickland, whose office is in Atlanta. “There is less use of force than with male offenders, and more use of coercion. These women come in all shapes and sizes. There is no profile.”
And female sex offenders use more intrusive levels of sexual behaviors than men. They are more likely than men to abuse strangers. And they are less likely than men to acknowledge guilt or to feel sorry or guilty, Strickland said.
Dr. Michelle Elliott -(Director – Kidscape)
I think the issue strikes at the core of what we perceive ourselves as women to be. I think that it’s easier to think that it’s men – men the enemy, somehow – but it can’t be women – it’s one thing women can’t do. Women can be equal, we can be free, we can be in charge of companies, but we can’t sexually abuse children – That’s a load of rubbish.
Dr. Christine Hatchard – (Making Daughters Safe Again)
In our society, mothers are automatically given special status, and certain characteristics, such as “nurturing, caring, protective” are attributed to them. The truth is, at her core, a mother is a woman and a human being, and like any other human being, is capable of the same range of violence, hate and autonomous behavior. To view women or mothers any differently, is to not realize their full potential as human beings, for better or for worse.
Dr. Karen Richards – (Clinical Psychologist)
Around the world, there is an under-reporting of cases where women sexually abuse young boys.
“Some men I have known say when they tried to talk about sexual abuse to relatives or friends, they were laughed at. What are you complaining about? I should be so lucky, is the usual response”.
Jacqui Saradjiam – (Clinical Psychologist)
I think people find it so difficult to see that women sexually abuse children because the whole view of women is of nurturers, carers, protectors – people who do anything to look after children – and they see the women as victims rather than enemies or perpetrators of any abuse.
Karen A. Duncan, M.A., LSW, LMFT
When our society denies that sexual abuse occurs by women we deny their victims the support they need to report this trauma and to seek help in their healing. We also aid the female offenders who commit this traumatic crime in not seeking the help they need to stop their offending. Tragically, through this cultural denial, we also allow the crime of sexual abuse by female offenders to continue to the children they offend against today and we deny thousands of children who were their past victims the support they need to be believed.
Anita Carpenter (Head of the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault)
“I do think society and the courts tend to be more lenient on female sex offenders,” she said. “There is not a lot of research on the subject, but what we see anecdotally is that there tends to be the perception that female sex offenders are not as violent or dangerous, that it’s more sexual coercion. I don’t think society sees it as rape, which is what it really is.”
Carpenter said sex offenders must be held accountable and treated the same by the legal system, regardless of gender or the age difference between perpetrator and victim.
“What we do know,” she said, “is that child victims are going to suffer lifelong trauma and mental-health issues, regardless of the gender of the perpetrator.
“Until we as a society really start holding people accountable — including offenders and our elected officials like prosecutors and judges — we are condoning this behavior in so many ways. It is going to take everyone to step up and say: ‘We need to do something about this.’”
Zoe Hilton (Policy adviser for child protection with the NSPCC)
We have to get away from believing in the typical image of a paedophile – a middle-aged, balding man wearing a dirty raincoat,”
“It’s important that we don’t become fixated with this image. It blurs the real extent of sexual abuse and can make it difficult for children to speak out. Child abuse is very prevalent in society, and it comes from a range of sources, including those people whom society views as maternal and nurturing: women”.
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