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Female Sex Offenders: Perception is Not Reality

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Perception is not reality. The common assumption that the court system often treats female sex offenders differently than male sex offenders, the punishments of female sex offenders are more lenient than men who commit the same types of crimes, and the differences between male and female victims are all perception and not reality. Objective considerations to additional factors make the perceptions baseless. These additional factors solidify the factual differences between male and female sex offenders.

The acceptance that the court system often treats female offenders differently than male offenders is an accurate statement; however, it comes with many caveats. Generally, the public views women as nurturers, motherly and incapable of harming a child. Research indicates that female sex offenders capable of committing such acts have serious psychiatric and psychological problems. In comparison, research indicates male sex offenders are more callous, more antisocial, and promiscuous, involved in the criminal justice system, and have more victims (Miccio-Fenseca, 2012, slide 7). The consensus is that men commit their acts for sexual pleasure while women commit their acts due to psychiatric and psychological problems. Law enforcement, juries, and judges tend to empathize more when there are additional mitigating factors such as emotional or psychological problems. Due to these mitigating factors, it appears treatment of female sex offenders is more lenient than male if their crimes are similar in nature. Research by Miccio-Fenseca (2012) indicates that in comparison to their male counterparts, “female sex offenders rarely use force or violence far less than often…rarely use threats of violence to silence victims…rarely use threats o...

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...emale sex offenders. 1-16.

Embry, R., & Lyons, P. M. (2012). Sex-based sentencing: Sentencing discrepancies between male and female sex offenders. Feminist Criminology, 7(2), 146-162.

Kinder-Matthews, J. (1994). Working with female sexual abusers. (pp. 57-67).

Miccio-Fonseca, L.C. (2012). Female Sex Offenders [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.fmhac.net/Assets/Documents/2012/Presentations/MiccioFonsecaHandout.pdf

Vandiver, D. M., & Teske, R. (2006). Juvenile female and male sex offenders a comparison of offender, victim, and judicial processing characteristics. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 50(2), 148-165.

Wijkman, M., Bijleveld, C., & Hendriks, J. (2010). Women don't do such things! characteristics of female sex offenders and offender types. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 22(2), 135-156.
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