Term Paper: Female Sex Offenders

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[. . .] "Female sex offenders can be divided into the following categories: teacher/lover, male-coerced, predisposed and mentally disordered" (Williams 1998). Women who are predisposed sex offenders tend to victimize their own children (Williams 1998). Because female sex offenders are rarely studied, there is no clearly defined theoretical approach toward treatment (Williams 1998). What is known, however, is that the "male model of treatment - which focuses on inappropriate sexual preferences, minimization of the behavior and irrelevant relapse prevention models - does not meet the needs of the female offender" (Williams 1998). "It has been proposed that males often engage in externalizing behaviors like delinquency and substance abuse because of masculine attitudes and interests, whereas females, by virtue of stronger communal ties, tend to internalize problems. Accordingly, females typically experience higher levels of psychological distress" (Walters 2001).

Michael Miner, in his review of "Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment and Treatment" states that "the chapter on sexual deviance in women suffers from the same narrow focus as the medical aspects and medical treatment chapters ... what is known about the female sex offender ... however, there is no discussion of the non-illegal forms of paraphilia" (Miner 1998).

"Child sexual abusers are among the most difficult individuals to assess and treat. Freeman-

Longo (1986), examining the etiology of male sexual abusers, noted that almost 80% of his sample reported prior experience as a child victim of sexual abuse. Petrovich and Templer (1984)

reported a lower but still substantial figure of 59%

in a sample of 83 adult rapists. A classical or an operant learning analysis alone does not necessarily predict adult sexual abuse, as the original experience is often highly aversive and would tend to promote avoidance of coercive sexual situations. If cognitive variables are introduced, however, the victim may recognize the pleasure the abuse gives to the perpetrator and generate positive expectancies for such behavior as an adult. As supporting evidence, Freeman-Longo

(1986) reported that some sex offenders he interviewed experienced sexual arousal while discussing their abuse and that they tended to downplay the trauma of their victims" (Dyrne 1998).

Sexual abuse disclosure is defined as "including an alleged offender, a victim, and a sexual act" (DeVoe 1999). Children's disclosure of their sexual victimization is often the only evidence that abuse has occurred, however, the majority never tell anyone of their victimization (Fieldam 2002). A 1994 study of 21 teachers who "participated in a child abuse prevention workshop found that they could be taught to recognize the behavioral and physical symptoms of sexual abuse, and how to respond appropriately to disclosures of sexual abuse" (Fieldman 2002). In a 1999 study, researchers compared children who had participated in a stay safe program prior to a referral for a sexual abuse assessment with cohorts who had not participated in the curriculum and found that participants made more reports of sexual abuse than did non-participants (MaczIntyre, Carr 1999).

Intra-familial sexual offenders were more likely to give gifts and use psychological means to promote victim helplessness than were extra-familial sexual offenders, while extra-familial sexual offenders were more likely to lure their victims with drugs and alcohol in order to better achieve compliance to the sexual act (Fieldman 2000). There are a number of myths and stereotypes about women in our culture that have contributed to the underreporting of childhood sexual abuse by female offenders (Hetherton 1999). Women as a whole are given more latitude in the nature of their physical contact with children, and societal attitudes do not support the view of women as abuser, and moreover, the boundary between normal and abusive physical contact is more difficult to determine (Fieldman 2002). Furthermore, "the cultural stereotypes that portray women as caring and nurturing and men as sexually dominant may inhibit male sexual abuse victims from disclosure of female perpetration" (Fieldman 2002). This leads many to believe that studies of female perpetrators are politically incorrect and only when "society is willing to consider the possibility that women, as well as men, are capable of being sexually abusive to children, the taboo on disclosure of female-perpetrated abuse will be lifted" (Fieldman 2002).

Work Cited

Cahn, Susan. "Spirited youth or fiends incarnate: the Samarcand arson case and female adolescence in the American South." Journal of Women's History. 1998.

Chow, Eva W.; Choy, Alberto L. "Clinical Characteristics and Treatment Response to SSRI in a Female Pedophile." Archives of Sexual Behavior. 2002.

Denov, Myriam S. "A Culture of Denial: Exploring Professional Perspectives on Female Sex Offending." Canadian Journal of Criminology. July 2001.

DeVoe, E.R. "The characteristics of disclosure among children who may have been sexually abused." Child Management. 1999.

Dyrne, Donn. "Using social learning theory to explain individual differences inhuman sexuality." The Journal of Sex Research. February 1998.

Fedoroff, Beverley. "A Case Series of Women Evaluated for Paraphilic Sexual

Disorders." The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. 1999.

Fieldman, Jonathan P.; Crespi, Tony D. "Child sexual abuse: Offenders, disclosure, and school-based initiatives." Adolescence. Spring 2002.

Hetherton, J. "The idealization of women: Its role in the minimization of child sexual abuse by females." Child Abuse and Neglect. 1999.

Humber, Eugenie; Snow, Pamela C. "The Oral Language Skills of Young Offenders: A

Pilot Investigation." Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law. 2001.

Kaufman, Keith. "Female Perpetrators." Journal of Interpersonal Violence. September 1995.

Kaufman, Keith; Wallace, Anne M.; Johnson, Charles F.; Reeder, Mark L. "Comparing

Female and Male Perpetrators: Modus Operandi." Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 1995.

Lewis, Catherine F.; Stanley, Charlotte P. "Women Accused of Sexual Offenses."

Behavioral Science and the Law. 2000.

Lewis, C.F.; Stanley, C.R. "Female Sex Offenders." Behavioral Science and the Law.


MaczIntyre, D.; Carr, A. "Helping children to the other side of silence: A… [END OF PREVIEW]

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