Dr. Helen

So Why Don't We Study Female Sexual Predators More?

I wondered this as I read over an article at The Atlantic entitled “The Understudied Female Sexual Predator” by Conor Friedersdorf. The author and the researchers in the article seem surprised to find that so many women are predators, although shows like Snapped have been around for years and Patricia Pearson told us this info in the 1990’s in her book When She Was Bad…: Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence. But hey, better late than never.

Anyway, at least the article points out that sexual violence against men by women has been going on for some time:

Two years ago, Lara Stemple, Director of UCLA’s Health and Human Rights Law Project, came upon a statistic that surprised her: In incidents of sexual violence reported to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 38 percent of victims were men––a figure much higher than in prior surveys. Intrigued, she began to investigate: Was sexual violence against men more common than previously thought?…

The authors first present what they learned from the The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, an ongoing, nationally representative survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that measures both lifetime victimization and victimization within the 12 months prior to questioning. Only the 2010 report provides data on the perpetrator’s sex. It found that over their lifetime, women were vastly more likely to experience abuse perpetrated by men, as were male victims who were penetrated without their consent. “But among men reporting other forms of sexual victimization, 68.6% reported female perpetrators,” the paper reports, while among men reporting being made to penetrate, “the form of nonconsensual sex that men are much more likely to experience in their lifetime … 79.2% of victimized men reported female perpetrators.”

Most importantly, the article points out why female on male sexual violence is reported so seldom:

Tellingly, researchers have found that victims who experience childhood sexual abuse at the hands of both women and men are more reluctant to disclose the victimization perpetrated by women (Sgroi & Sargent, 1993). Indeed the discomfort of reporting child sexual victimization by a female perpetrator can be so acute that a victim may instead inaccurately report that his or her abuser was male (Longdon, 1993).

Male victims may experience pressure to interpret sexual victimization by women in a way more consistent with masculinity ideals, such as the idea that men should relish any available opportunity for sex (Davies & Rogers, 2006). Or, sexual victimization might be reframed as a form of sexual initiation or a rite of passage, to make it seem benign. In some cases, male victims are portrayed as responsible for the abuse. Particularly as male victims move from childhood to adolescence, they are ascribed more blame for encounters with adult women.

And finally this,

To date, no existing clinical studies examine large numbers of female sexual perpetrators. As a result, we understand less than we might of a category of sexual perpetrator that, while not the most common, will still victimize many thousands each year.

Yeah, but the thousands of victims are mainly men and the perps women so nothing gets done. We need researchers and professionals outside of the mainstream universities and colleges who can tell us the truth about female perpetrators. We cannot allow thousands of innocent men and young boys to wait for justice, to do so is an injustice itself.