The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and Women

By Diana E. H. Russell | Go to book overview
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19
Female Incest Perpetrators: How Do They Differ from Males, and Why Are There So Few?

Just as it was assumed until recently that boys are rarely victims of sexual abuse, it has also been commonly believed that very few women sexually abuse children. Past studies on the gender of perpetrators confirmed this assumption. Recently, however, some researchers have begun to question this well-established finding.

Some particularly shocking cases of child sexual abuse involving female perpetrators have recently received wide publicity. The most sensational example involves a multiplicity of molestation charges against a grandmother, several other women, and only one man at the Virginia McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California. Other cases have occurred at several day care centers throughout the country. These cases have increased public skepticism about the rarity of female perpetration of child sexual abuse.

Nicholas Groth, a prison psychologist, is one of the experts who believes that there has been a serious underreporting of female perpetrators. Although he encountered only 3 women out of 253 adult offenders against

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The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and Women
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