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Women who sexually abuse

(59 Posts)
msanonymouse Tue 24-Jan-17 11:18:53

I raised this issue within another thread and was urged to start my own thread rather than derail the discussion. So I have.

I referred to a conference, some years ago, focusing on the perpetration of child sex abuse by women. A number of women calling themselves feminists turned up at the event. The conference organiser reports that:

"They stood up and started yelling about how terrible it was that I was detracting from the fact that male power was to blame."

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/taboo-tolerance/female-sexual-abuse-the-untold-story-of-societys-last-taboo-1767688.html

I referred to this incident to illustrate a point I was struggling to make: that a binary model of gender oppression is valid and necessary, but if applied to all the permutations of abusive pathology that arise within a complex social reality it can prove problematic.

Surprisingly, one poster said the women were right to speak up. As any attempt to increase awareness of CSA and speak up for its victims is a self-evidently good thing, this seemed a problematic attitude to take.

Please understand: I in no way mean to suggest this attitude is characteristic of feminists. Neither am I attempting to detract from or downplay the fact that the overwhelming majority of CSA (and sexual violence of all kinds) is perpetrated by males.

However, the sexual victimisation of children by women is taboo. And it strikes me that some feminists are so uncomfortable with the fact that women are capable of sexual violation as well as men that they unwittingly perpetuate this taboo. This attitude perpetuates myths and stereotypes that are enormously damaging to victims who often suffer in silence for their entire lives because they have internalised these patriarchal tropes.

I would be interested to read any thoughts anyone has on this issue from a feminist perspective.

RufusTheSpartacusReindeer Tue 24-Jan-17 11:28:44

Hey ms

I am not a very good feminist so i am probably the worst one to comment

I think any form of child abuse is obviously completely and utterly wrong. I would in no way condon anyone try to stop any investigations into why people do this

I do however see the point of some of the other posters...on many many threads someone turns up to say that women do it too and they use it to derail the thread

I appreciate that you dont think that and that you were not derailing in that way

RufusTheSpartacusReindeer Tue 24-Jan-17 11:29:46

I am going out now but will be very interested to see how this thread evolves

LeopardPrintSocks1 Tue 24-Jan-17 11:32:32

I've noticed that most paedophilia committed by women is usually made and distributed to men to get their attention or to keep them. But that's just what I've read in papers about incidents such as vanessa george etc

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 24-Jan-17 11:38:42

"the sexual victimisation of children by women is taboo." Do you mean the discussion/acknowledgment of this is taboo?

I don't think that any reasonable feminist would say that women don't do these things. There are high profile cases where they have done so. But feminists, unsurprisingly, will want to discuss and focus on the issue of male violence which is the overwhelming majority. Do you think they shouldn't do that?

msanonymouse Tue 24-Jan-17 11:46:18

Do you think they shouldn't do that?

No, of course not. As I said, my objection is only to feminists who wish to suppress or deny the issue. There is no more reason why feminists should focus on female CSA than black rights activists should focus on issues affecting white people. It's only when people infer that women are incapable of sexual violence, or that any attempt to speak up for victims of female paedophiles is a detraction that there's a problem.

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 24-Jan-17 11:49:19

"women are incapable of sexual violence" does this happen, that this is often asserted?

If the discussion is about male sexual violence then is it appropriate to try to divert the discussion onto female perpetrators?

msanonymouse Tue 24-Jan-17 11:51:28

The discussion was not about male sexual violence.

It is inferred often, I believe.

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 24-Jan-17 11:53:40

The thread was about men and male violence.

Can you give examples of where it's often inferred?

msanonymouse Tue 24-Jan-17 12:02:14

The example I have provided. And the poster who I do not wish to name who asserted that the women at the conference were right and that violence is not a human trait but a specifically male one.

Other feminists however have shown themselves to be enormously open to the issue. Indeed much valuable research has come from women of a feminist persuasion. This is why I made it clear that I was not asserting this attitude to be typical of feminists.

Anyway, this is not a position I am defending but a question I am putting to the feminist community on here in expectation of a variety of responses. You're free to ignore it if you wish.

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 24-Jan-17 12:11:38

You're saying that it's a common assertion, I don't think that's the case at all. You mention one poster on one thread, and in my opinion you are misinterpreting what was said. I cannot see anywhere where it was said that violence is only a male trait not a human one.

msanonymouse Tue 24-Jan-17 12:23:05

It was asserted. The question is this: if there was a major nationwide campaign to raise awareness of female perpetrated CSA would any feminists have a problem with that? Maybe I'm wrong but I suspect certain elements would.

Anyway I'm going to withdraw from the discussion and see what other people have to say. I'd appreciate it if people just said what they think about what the feminist angle on female perpetrated CSA should be rather than asking me to justify the thread. If you don't like the thread just ignore it.

MrsDustyBusty Tue 24-Jan-17 12:27:33

I think the reason why the poster on the other thread reacted the way she did was that your post was another in a whole line of "women do it too/why focus on men's violence, why not just say, hey, people are violent and it's just a human trait so why hate on the men, you guys?". I do not think that anyone denies that women are capable of violence of all kinds and have committed violence and abuse of all kinds. But. Introducing the topic of women's violence into a discussion about men's violence is a widely understand derailing method, fully intended to prevent women talking about male violence.

Personally, I think that the poster to whom you refer was saying that maybe it's OK for women to come to a conference about the vanishingly rare instance of women a single children and try to make it about the plank in society's eye. Men's abuse of children is an epidemic. Every single tactic possible is used to prevent discussion of it. I don't personally agree but I also don't think that it means that she thinks child abuse is only bad if men do it.

Furthermore, I think you were, and are, being disingenuous in pretending to interpret her words as you are. I think you know exactly what she meant.

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 24-Jan-17 12:31:15

I disagree that it was asserted.

I'd rather than any public funds were spent on the major causes of child sexual abuse, or spent proportionally. I have no issue with non-public funds being spent on a campaign to raise awareness of female perpetrators. I think it's wrong to ignore the involvement of men in the offending of women in these types of cases.

As a feminist, what do you think the feminist angle should be?

DeviTheGaelet Tue 24-Jan-17 12:40:53

I'd just like to point out the conference in question was in 1992 and the only reference to it was made in 2009 by the conference session host who was promoting a book about the "taboo of women who abuse children".
This particular event seems to mainly be discussed on MRA websites.
FWIW I think any sexual abuse of children is horrific and all perpetrators should be dealt with harshly.
However on a systematic basis, given male offenders are involved in around 98% of cases, and given male offenders are more likely to be prolific offenders and repeat offenders, I believe our best chance of reducing child abuse as a whole is to focus on men.
Even if we entirely eradicated female abuse of children, 98% of victims would still be victims so I don't think reduction initiatives should be tailored to women's abuse.
Agree with Assassinated, if a private organisation wants to fund something they can. However, I think (like mens DV refuges) they may find demand for their services isn't there.

msanonymouse Tue 24-Jan-17 12:42:29

As a feminist, what do you think the feminist angle should be?

That a justifiable focus on general patterns and cultures of male violence, and a recognition that it is overwhelmingly men who do abuse, should not stand in the way of a focus on perpetrators and victims who fall outside that norm. That such a focus is not in conflict with feminist principles.

That every victim of CSA deserves equal care, concern and public recognition irrespective of the gender of their perpetrator or the circumstances of their abuse.

That women are capable of malignancy and sexual pathology. That just because they are socialised by a patriarchal culture to identify as passive and subirdinate it does not follow that individual women cannot demonstrate a capacity for sexual aggression against those with less power that themselves.

That women are no less individuated human beings than men.

AyeAmarok Tue 24-Jan-17 12:42:33

The question is this: if there was a major nationwide campaign to raise awareness of female perpetrated CSA would any feminists have a problem with that? Maybe I'm wrong but I suspect certain elements would.

I wouldn't "have a problem with it", but I'd find it bizarre and think someone was trying to deflect attention away from the fact that there is a serious problem with men committing sexually violent crimes against children, and getting away with it. Focusing on the much, much less frequent instances of sole women perpetrators (ie, those where there is no man behind them driving it) would not lead to much benefit in cutting or understanding why the vast majority of CSA crimes take place.

msanonymouse Tue 24-Jan-17 12:45:05

I believe our best chance of reducing child abuse as a whole is to focus on men.

You're forgetting the victims Devi. Do they not deserve recognition and understanding? Why can there not be a focus on both - for the sake of victims?

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 24-Jan-17 12:46:30

What kind of "focus" do you want?

msanonymouse Tue 24-Jan-17 12:49:28

I wouldn't "have a problem with it", but I'd find it bizarre and think someone was trying to deflect attention away from the fact that there is a serious problem with men committing sexually violent crimes

1) Why would they necessarily be 'trying to deflect attention from the fact that there is a serious problem with men committing sexually violent crimes'?

2) I'm not sure it would be' bizarre' to a victim.

DeviTheGaelet Tue 24-Jan-17 12:54:31

How is focusing reduction efforts on the area where it's likely to have the biggest impact ie reduce the number of victims the most "forgetting the victims"?
There is a difference between crime reduction and crime detection/punishment, I am arguing that crime detection efforts should be focused on all offenders, and support given to all victims.
But efforts to understand and reduce child abuse and prevent victims should focus on men. Once we've cracked that nut, then we can move onto the much rarer problem of female offending.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Tue 24-Jan-17 12:57:06

I've noticed that most paedophilia committed by women is usually made and distributed to men to get their attention or to keep them. But that's just what I've read in papers about incidents such as vanessa george etc

And your point is? Adult women are responsible for their choices. This is not s valid excuse or mitigating factor.

How many women are complicit in abuse by making their children available or turning a blind eye?

msanonymouse Tue 24-Jan-17 13:03:56

Thank you Lass. Women do perpetrate alone as well. Not many, but they do.

DeviTheGaelet Tue 24-Jan-17 13:07:01

How many women are complicit in abuse by making their children available or turning a blind eye?

Complicity in abuse is horrific. It isn't the cause of the abuse though. The cause lies with the perpetrator, in 98% of cases a man.
Let's not give women more things to carry on behalf of the patriarchy. Let's put the blame where it deserves to be.

DeviTheGaelet Tue 24-Jan-17 13:08:33

For clarity, again I mean reducing the number of women complicit in abuse isn't going to reduce abuse overall. It just means the abusers will need to be cleverer about how they access children.

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