Guilty of a double standard

I have posted a lot of these lately, however, I think it is important to keep reiterating the need to acknowledge female sexual violence. Here is an excerpt from the article:

As of 1995, 4,500 sex offenders were incarcerated in Canada – only 19 of these offenders were female. Could it be true that only 0.4 per cent of sexual crimes committed in Canada are committed by women? Is it possible that the proportion of women incarcerated is reflective of the proportion of women actually committing sexual assault in Canada? It is difficult to answer these questions concretely, especially since underreporting skews sexual assault research for both male and female offenders.

According to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), however, “many researchers consider [David] Finkelhor and [Diana] Russell’s (1984) estimates of the prevalence of female sex offending to be the most accurate to date. Their tentative evaluation is that females may account for up to 13 per cent of the abuse of females and 24 per cent of the abuse of males, either acting alone or with a partner. Finkelhor and Russell also estimated that approximately 6 per cent of sexual abuse against females and 14 per cent of sexual abuse against males is thought to be perpetrated by females acting alone.”

Even if we consider that these figures might be somewhat overestimated, it is safe to say that the proportion of females incarcerated for sexual assault is very low – especially considering that the number of males incarcerated for sexual assault is only a fraction of those who offend.

Joanne-Lucine Rouleau, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Université de Montréal, has only treated 15 to 16 female offenders in her career, compared with hundreds of male offenders. While Rouleau admitted that not enough research had been performed in the area of female sexual offenders to come to any substantial conclusions about the reasons for these disproportionate numbers, she offered a profile of the female sex offender that may shed light on the issue. According to Rouleau and other sources, the age of female perpetrators generally ranges between 22-35 years old, as opposed to 14-90 years old for male offenders. Female sex offenders generally target children and adolescents, both male and female, who have some previous relationship with the perpetrator. Female offenders make very few random predatory attacks, typically using their positions of authority – parent, teacher, babysitter – to gain access to their victims. (It should be noted that this is also the case for most or many male sexual offenders.)

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