Female Sex Offenders
Female sex offenders research is limited, though Canadian statistics show an alarmingly high rate of sexual abuse by women (a range of 59% - 80%) in the backgrounds of rapists, sex offenders and sexually aggressive men (Matthews, 1996, p. 301).
Sexual abuse by women rarely gets reported. Victims often don't understand that what happened to them was abuse until years later when they are adults. The following table identifies why abusive behaviour by female perpetrators is frequently unacknowledged.
When the victim is a male adolescent, often times the sexual abuse goes unreported because of the perception that sex with an older female is a "right of passage". But victimization by female sex offenders can have results as devastating as victimization by male sex offenders, including:
Profile of Female Sex Offenders:
» low self-esteem
Some Statistics on Female Sex Offenders:
The majority of female offenders were family members who tended to abuse within their role as caretakers; 25% were baby-sitters, teachers or day care workers (Rudin, et al., 1995, p. 9692).
In one study done by Kaufman et al. (1995, p. 303), 88% of female sex offenders were teachers and 23% were baby-sitters.
In the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect, 7% of sexual abuse investigations involved mothers as the alleged perpetrators--5% biological mothers and 2% stepmothers (Trocme et al. 2001, p. 494).
When the victim is male, female offenders account for 1% - 24% of the abusers; when the victim is female, female sex offenders account for 6% - 17% of the abusers (Kaufman et al., p. 3235).
In an American Justice Department study of 60,991 victims of sexual assaults, female sex offenders were most common in assaults against victims under age 6 years of age. For these very young victims, 12% of offenders were females; for victims aged 6-12 years, 6% of the offenders were female; and for victims ages 12-17, 3% were female sex offenders (Snyder, 2000, p. 86).
Female sex offender research shows that women co-abused alongside a male partner in 50% - 77% of female offender cases (Rudin, Zalewski & Bodmer-Turner, 1995, p. 9647). The Karla Homolka case is a prime example.
Research shows that there is no difference in the severity of abuse by female sex offenders as compared to male sex offenders (Rudin et al., 1995, p. 9698).
Categories of Female Sex Offenders:
Rudin et al. (1995, p. 9659) classified female offenders into four different groups:
Predisposed Intergenerational: The most common type, a lone female perpetrator with a history of incest with more than one person.
Male-Coerced: The next most common, with abuse being initiated by male partner.
Experimental/Exploiter: A lone teen perpetrator who targets young male children within a baby-sitting context.
Teacher/Lover: A lone perpetrator who falls in love with an adolescent male.
One example of the Teacher/Lover category of female sex offenders is the Mary-Kay Latourneau case in America. She not only had a sexual relationship with her underage male student, a baby resulted from the relationship.
Historically, cases of the Teacher/Lover category have been between young female students and male perpetrators.
FACT: Despite the double standard regarding teacher-student sexual liaisons--which tends to see girls as victims and boys as fortunate--many boys will be damaged by such relationships; the younger they are, the more damage they are likely to experience (Frank, 200010).
Clearly, the sexual abuse of children and youth must continue to be unacceptable whether the perpetrator is male or female.
|Sex Offenders||Adolescent Offenders||Female Offenders|
|Male Offenders||Incestuous Offenders||Internet Offenders|
|Sexual Abuse||Sexual Abuse Victims|
|Sexual Abuse Definition||Male Victims|
|Sexual Abuse Signs||Female Victims|
|Sexual Abuse Effects||Victims with Disability|
|Sexual Abuse Statistics||Sexual Abuse Disclosures|
|Abuse Headlines||History of Abuse|
|Sexual Abuse Signs||Child Abuse Stats|
|Sexual Abuse Effects||Emotional Abuse|
|Sexual Abuse Stats||Emotional Abuse Types|
|Sexual Abuse Victims||Emotional Abuse Signs|
|Male Victims||Emotional Abuse Effects|
|Victims w/ Disability||Emotional Abuse Stats|
|Sexual Abuse Disclosures||Physical Abuse|
|Sex Offenders||Physical Abuse Signs|
|Male Sex Offenders||Abuse & Discipline|
|Female Sex Offenders||Physical Abuse Effects|
|Child Sex Offenders||Physical Abuse Stats|
|Adolescent Sex Offenders||Child Neglect|
|Incestuous Sex Offenders||Child Neglect Signs|
|Internet Sex Offenders||Child Neglect Effects|
|Child Abuse Law||Child Neglect Stats|
|Age of Majority||Poverty & Neglect|
|Duty to Report||Sexual Abuse|
|Abuse Intervention||Sexual Abuse Defined|
Female Sex Offenders
NOTE: Information pages on this site were based on material from the Canadian Red Cross RespectED Training Program. Written permission was obtained to use their copyrighted material on this site.
1 Matthews, F. (1996). The invisible boy: Revisioning the victimization of male children and teens. Ottawa: National Clearinghouse on Family Violence.
2 Rudin, M., Zalewski, C., & Bodmer-Turner, J. (1995). Characteristics of child sexual abuse victims according to perpetrator gender. Child Abuse and Neglect, 19(8), 963-973.
3 Kaufman, K., Wallace, A., Johnson, C., & Reeder, M. (1995). Comparing female and male perpetrator's modus operandi: Victims' reports of sexual abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10(3), 322-333.
4 Trocme, N., & MacLauren, B. et al. (2001). Canadian incidence study of reported child abuse and neglect: Final report. Ottawa: National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, Health Canada.
5 Kaufman, K., Wallace, A., Johnson, C., & Reeder, M. (1995). Comparing female and male perpetrator's modus operandi: Victims' reports of sexual abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10(3), 322-333.
6 Snyder, H. (2000, July), Sexual assault of young children as reported to law enforcement: Victim, incident, and offender characteristics. Retrived December, 2002, American Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/ 312-314.
7, 8 & 9 Rudin, M., Zalewski, C., & Bodmer-Turner, J. (1995). Characteristics of child sexual abuse victims according to perpetrator gender. Child Abuse and Neglect, 19(8), 963-973.
10 Frank, S. (2000, May 22). Caging birds of prey. TIME Online Edition, Retrieved December, 2002 from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/intl/article/0,9171,1107000522-46757,00.html