Some myths die hard. Others die quickly. The myth that women rarely sexually abuse has managed to hang on without budging all that much. However, some recent numbers from the United Kingdom show that female child rapists are hardly rare:
MORE children than ever are calling a Swansea-based helpline to report being abused by their own mothers.
The NSPCC today released new figures showing that volunteers at ChildLine’s South Wales base in Swansea counselled a total of 536 children across the UK last year about sexual abuse — 85 of them by a female.
Nationally, ChildLine counselled 12,268 children for sexual abuse.
Although figures show the majority of calls were in relation to abuse by a male, the findings show that more children are reporting assaults from a woman, usually their mother.
At all ChildLine call centres last year, 2,142 young people across the UK told the charity they had been sexually abused by a female.
Of those callers counselled, 1,311 told ChildLine they had been abused by their mother.
The overall proportion of children calling ChildLine about a female offender has risen from 11 per cent of sex abuse calls in 2004/05 to 17 per cent in 2008/09.
Another article reported the numbers somewhat differently:
Last year ChildLine heard from 1,311 children who said they had been sexually assaulted by their own mother, representing 61% of all calls about abuse by females.
Research for the helpline found that boys were more likely to say they had been abused by a woman (1,722 cases) than by a man (1,651). In contrast, girls were over 10 times likelier to report being abused by a male (4,972) than by a female (420).
A total of 2,972 children complained that they had been sexually assaulted by their father, 45% of all calls about abuse by men.
Previous research by the NSPCC suggested that women may be responsible for about one in 20 sex offences committed against children. The analysis found that most children who disclosed sexual abuse to ChildLine last year were aged between 12 and 15, and most said they knew their abuser.
One should keep in mind that these numbers are based on calls made to ChildLine. They are not the fabrication of some men’s rights group or some study taken out of context. These are literally reports of abuse from the abused children. What these numbers demonstrate is that women, particularly mothers, are far more prone to sexually abusing children than previously thought. Or, to put it another way, women are just as likely as men to rape and sexually assault children.
The titles of the articles and of this post are technically misleading. There is no rise in women or mothers abusing children. There is a rise in children, particularly boys, reporting abuse at the hands of women. Female abusers have remained hidden largely because people assume that women are incapable of abusing children or only do so because a man forced them to. Female abusers also continue to remain largely hidden because the vast majority of the research, studies and outreach only mentions males as abusers and rapists (and typically only females as victims). The professional community also turns a blind eye to female abusers, often writing off women who abuse as emotionally unstable and therefore less responsible, less predatory and less likely to re-offend.
However, as the above numbers show, it is not a question whether women abuse. They do, and quite frequently.
While something this important should not be reduced to politics, it is necessary to mention that these numbers deal a significant blow to the feminist paradigm of “rape culture” and feminists theories about how and why rape occurs. According to the feminists, rape is an act of male oppression against women. It is specifically designed to keep women “in their place” or reduce other men to the status of women. The above numbers calls into question that view because clearly rape is not solely or vastly the domain of men. Coincidentally, feminists have no explanation for why females rape and abuse nor do they have any explanation or understanding of the impact female abuse has on the (apparently) largely male victims.
This is why it is so important not to tie issues like rape and violence into loosely defined, poorly constructed ideological theories. These numbers likely existed this whole time. It is only because of the increase in the media coverage about female abusers (much to feminists’ chagrin), a slight increase in the willingness to arrest, charge, try and convict female abusers and a slight increase in the outreach to male victims that the reality of the situation is finally coming to light. This could have happened sooner — meaning more boys and girls could have been helped, protected and saved — had sexual abuse and rape not been politicized as a tool to attack men.
That said, the most important thing to take away from this is that women, particularly mothers, do rape and abuse children and they very likely commit it at roughly the same rate as men.