Betrayal of Trust: Sex and Power in Professional Relationships

By Joel Friedman; Marcia Mobilia Boumil | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Sexual Intimacy in Professional Relationships

In recent years there has been an ever increasing awareness that various forms of sexual violence perpetrated primarily against women are occurring at an alarming rate. It is currently estimated that as many as one in three women is a victim of sexual abuse by a relative whom she knows and trusts. Rape is thought to occur somewhere in the United States every 30 seconds, more often than not committed by an offender who is known to the victim. Even sexual harassment is currently estimated to affect nearly 70 percent of American women, both in the school and on the job.

Today there is a growing awareness that there is yet another form of sexual violence, also primarily affecting women: sexual exploitation. Also sometimes referred to as "professional incest," sexual exploitation is perpetrated by professionals against the patients, clients, students, and others to whom they provide services. In the most common circumstance a female patient, client, or student seeks out the services of a professional man, and during the course of the professional relationship, he engages her in sexual activity. While, of course, the offenders are not always men nor are the victims always women, in most instances this is, in fact, the case. For the purposes of clarity this book will, there-

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