The ‘gentler’ sex

Originally posted on October 14, 2011

Would it surprise you to know that 60% to 80% of male sex offenders were victims of childhood sexual abuse? How about if that 60% to 80% were sexually abused by females?

Female-perpetrated sexual violence remains a taboo subject in society. While people are more willing to accept that some women commit sex offenses, people continue to think the violence is rare, the abusers are crazy, the women were forced or coerced to do it by men, and that the victims wanted it. Reality paints a much different picture. As Barbara Kay mentioned in her article:

According to a 2004 U.S. Department of Education mass study of university students, 57% of students reporting child sexual abuse cited a male offender, and 42% reported a female offender. Interestingly, 65% of the survivors of female abuse who opened up to a therapist, doctor or other professional were not believed on their first disclosure. Overall, 86% of those who tried to tell anyone at all about their experiences were not believed.

According to a 1996 report from the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN), about 25% of child sexual abuse is committed by women, but that figure may be low, because survivors are far more conflicted and shamed in admitting abuse by their mothers than by fathers. In one study of 17,337 survivors of childhood sexual abuse, 23% reported a female-only perpetrator and 22% reported both male and female. A U.S. Department of Justice report finds that, in 2008, 95% of all youths reporting sexual misconduct by staff member in state juvenile facilities said their victimization experiences included victimization by female personnel, who made up 42% of the staff.

Keep in mind that these numbers only represent those willing to come forward or who consider the violence committed against them abuse. Many more victims, particularly male victims, keep quiet or do not think anything wrong was done to them.

Part of what causes that is the social shame that comes with being assaulted by a woman. Part of it is the difficulty of dealing with the reality of women committing violence. Yet the greatest problem is likely the social reaction to who people come forward. Even professionals refuse to acknowledge the violence women commit:

Even mental-health professionals and social service agencies avoid facing up to the phenomenon. I spoke at length with an adult survivor of a mother’s sadistic sex abuse. “Nina,” not her real name, told me that although she has attempted many times to deal with her past therapeutically, “I have never found any social service agency willing to acknowledge this or speak about it.”

Nina’s story is hardly unique. Plenty of victims get shot down when they seek help. Female victims have it particularly difficult because very few people will acknowledge that women will prey on girls.

The social perception of female abusers does more to keep victims silent than anything else, and not just because victims think no one will believe them, but also because the notion that females cannot abuse or that they only do so if they are crazy or made to by a man makes people less willing to examine the prevalence of female-perpetrated sexual violence. If we never bother to look for it or address it, how can we ever come to understand and prevent it?

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17 thoughts on “The ‘gentler’ sex

  1. The western concept of “natural law” means all women are “natural mothers” its “instinctual” or god given.

    I don’t care which side you take, God or evolution, it gets played out as if its just impossible fore women to be abusers because they were made to be mothers.

    Total hogwash.

    That being said, the stats about sex offenders being molested is usually a self reported statistic, the inmate says it happened, obviously inmates understand the canard that abusers were abused as a child and use anything to reduce their own culpability.

  2. Finally, 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). A strong case for the need to identify female perpetrators can be found in Table 4, which presents the findings from a study of adolescent sex offenders by O’Brien (1989). Male adolescent sex offenders abused by “females only” chose female victims almost exclusively.
    The Invisible Boy

    Interestingly, 65% of the survivors of female abuse who opened up to a therapist, doctor or other professional were not believed on their first disclosure. Overall, 86% of those who tried to tell anyone at all about their experiences were not believed.
    Not always the ‘gentler sex’, Barbara Kay

    Kay refers to a 2004 study and I can assure you that little has changed. Surveys by Australian victims very recently suggest a higher level of disbelief – in this country at least.

    Note that some of the studies referenced by The Invisible Boy date back to the seventies. I wonder if the “canard” to which you refer even existed in that time. Furthermore do you consider it reasonable that perpetrators would falsely claim to have been abused by a female, rather than a male, when disbelief in such is almost absolute and remains so to this day?

  3. Furthermore do you consider it reasonable that perpetrators would falsely claim to have been abused by a female, rather than a male, when disbelief in such is almost absolute and remains so to this day?

    I think some would in the hopes that it might generate sympathy. This seems probable among people like inmates as they might benefit from the false revelation. However, in general it seems unlikely that people would lie about something that few people are willing to believe.

  4. TS: You should link this article to our friends at manboobz. They’ll likely come up with their usual response when confronted with facts, “we already know women abuse kids, so what?” Then they’ll post music videos and talk about their cats for the next few days.

  5. Why double standards exist?

    Because virgin girls have weaker genitals than virgin boys.

    1.) Virgin girls are weak -most virgin girls want to take it slow. Their arousal is limited within the clitoral area. Girls prefer clitoral, not vaginal. As a result, first time intercourse may hurt due to tightness, fear of pain and hymen present. They worry that it may hurt at first try, no matter how gentle he may be. Their arousal is limited within the clitoral area and ignore their vagina. Therefore, virgin girls do not know exactly what they want for their vaginas -the very organ that’s used for intercourse. When virgin girls masturbate, they rub their clit. They prefer clitoral, not vaginal. Unfortunately, society sees men as vagina-craving horn dogs. That’s why virgin girls have weaker sexual cravings than virgin boys.

    2.) Virgin girls are stupid -they believe in the hymen myth -a false belief that the hymen is an indicator of virginity. So they limit themselves to clitoral, not vaginal. In reality, a hymen can be broken through non-sexual strenuous activities. But nothing can prevent virgin boys from rubbing their penises, no matter how many sex myths you tell them (e.g. masturbaton causes blindness, insanity, etc.).

    Most boys NEVER say “please be gentle” or “take it slow” during first time intercourse. Only girls do. Most virgin boys do not expect to feel pain during first time. Words such as”please be gentle” or “take it slow” are indicators of VAGINAL WEAKNESS. During first time intercourse, a girl may suffer various vaginal weaknesses such as:

    1.) Painful vaginal dilation.
    2.) Painful breaking of the hymen (if present).
    3.) Vaginal bleeding
    4.) Pain due to insufficient vaginal lubrication.

    A virgin penis does not have such weaknesses. That’s why teen boys are lucky. Virgin vaginas are SOOOOO WEAK.

    Ratbu, the above sexist idiocy is not allowed on this blog. If you want to hold such warped views, by all means do so. But share them somewhere. TS

  6. Toysoldiers… I have no idea what Ratbu’s comment contributes besides a bunch of drivel that reads suspiciously like spam.

  7. @Ratbu…

    Clearly the regulars here aren’t interested in what you have to say. You are seriously wasting your time. Could I suggest here or here may be places which could benefit from your “insight”.

  8. @Country Lawyer, gwallan and toysoldier,
    I can’t speak for convicted male rapists, but I can speak from my own family experience. It was reading about the background of Russell Williams where I began to recognize patterns from my own family, and finally realized that my brother, as well as I, was a victim in our family even though he didn’t get physically abused the way I was. I protected my younger brothers from the physical abuse, but I wasn’t able to protect them from my mother’s psychological abuse and indirect sexual abuse, which included seemingly insidious and subtle but powerful grooming for them to be sex offenders (or at least start down that road) – using me as ‘bait’.

    I should mention here that I’m “Nina” from the article.

    I don’t if know my middle brother – who was ‘chosen’ by my mother – ever became a sex offender. But I can tell you 100% that if he did, he would NEVER admit to being abused by my mother, no matter the seeming ‘advantage’ of doing so. I’m pretty sure he would prefer to be known as violent than admit to that level of victimization. Part of the groomers ‘toolkit’ is that victims are profoundly ashamed of this but with nowhere to turn (part of an abuser’s sadistic pleasure is letting their victims know – in all kinds of subtle ways – that there is nowhere to go, no-one who will believe, and severe consequence for even trying) – which is what fuels the rage in the first place.

    Before speaking with Barbara I, as a female victim of a female, never ever got sympathy or acknowledgement from anyone – including the scores of social service and mental health agencies where I tried. I can’t imagine that male victims would fare any better. No matter the service orientation, whether feminist or traditional, when you disclose abuse by a female you get the impression of crosses and garlic being raised the moment your back is turned.

    Based on the above, my guess would be that the rate of SA by females in the backgrounds of male rapists would tend to be under-reported, rather than the inverse.

    However, I would urge you not to make this a ‘male vs. female’ issue. Men don’t only abuse females, and women don’t only abuse males. That’s a false dichotomy, and a dangerous misconception. I started reaching out to people like Barbara because *I* – as a woman!!! – couldn’t get any service or treatment. I soon realized that I wasn’t on this road alone, and that it shouldn’t be all about me. It’s false gender attribution that got us in this mess in the first place, so I hope you’ll all help to correct past mistakes rather than feeding the energy of those with a vested interest in continuing the false gender war.

    Good men and good women work together to make healthy partnerships, families, communities and societies. It’s only the anti-social men and women (and those brainwashed by them) that want to make this into a fight. They are the ones who need to create the next generation of monsters in order to have a reason to continue.

  9. Thanks for your comments, Nina. You wrote:

    No matter the service orientation, whether feminist or traditional, when you disclose abuse by a female you get the impression of crosses and garlic being raised the moment your back is turned.

    That was my experience. The first person I told about my aunt’s actions did not believe me. She said that I was blaming my father and uncle’s actions on my aunt or just making it up. I have also experienced this when talking about my abuse publicly. Some people give me incredulous looks or ask if things “really” happened as I said they did. It is even a taboo subject among researchers.

    However, I would urge you not to make this a ‘male vs. female’ issue.

    I do not think of it as a male versus female issue. It is more of a perception issue. People do not think women can commit sexual abuse, and so they do not believe it when they see it, write it off as a lie or say the victim was lucky. It goes back to the “out of sight, out of mind” view of sexual violence in our society. No one wants to talk about this stuff, yet the less people talk about it, the easier it becomes to pretend it rarely happens.

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