Rise of Female Sex Offenders Destroys 'Stranger Danger' Social Stereotypes
Society often assumes that if there is a case involving an individual being sexually targeted, particularly if the victim is a child, it is being perpetrated by a male stranger. The reality is, this is a dangerous stereotype that sweeps over a growing issue. We are witnessing a significant increase in female sex offenders, many of whom are victimising their own students.
The world is changing and as it does, people's awareness of certain hidden realities are beginning to evolve. Things are not always as they seem and more often than not, some of the most heinous of crimes are committed by those that were least suspected, or would not be a likely candidate.
Over the past two years, we have seen a staggering number of reports of female professionals, particularly those working in the education sector, committing sexual crimes against adolescents. Most reports, somewhat surprisingly, have come in regarding female teachers, usually between the ages of 20 and 40 years that have groomed and / or engaged in sexual activity with (predominantly) adolescent boys, though there have been cases involving female students, aged between 12 and 17 years. A significant portion of these global reports have been published online from the US, where the legal age for sexual activity is 18 years for most states, though this is still somewhat a grey area when it comes to federal law. However, sexual activity between a non-adult student and teaching professional is illegal. Persecution is usually accompanied by a fixed jail sentence; the length of which depends on the crime's severity; though more often than not, when it comes to female offenders, the sentence is suspended and the perpetrators are put on probation.
The Telegraph recently reported that "NSPCC data also shows that between 2004 and 2009 there was a 132 per cent increase in the number of children reporting sexual abuse by a woman to ChildLine."
While numerous reports have filled the internet's news feeds for some time now from all over the world, almost no-one appears to be talking about it. The question is, why? If we saw such an increase in male sex offenders targeting young boys and girls, the outcry would be staggering, as we have seen with some of the more high profile cases as of late. Yet, when women are perpetrating such crimes, society has fallen quiet. Why is it considered to be more socially acceptable for a woman to groom a teenage boy? Surely, the sexual grooming of adolescents across the board is abhorrent and should be treated in the same manner regardless of the perpetrator's gender?
Then we have the cases when the student and teacher are in some form of relationship, though this isn't the same as coaxing an adolescent into having sex or participating in some kind of sexual activity, it still pertains to the exploitation of parental trust, adolescent sexual interest / curiosity and simply taking advantage of their work status and accessibility to students.
While the controversial subject remains largely undiscussed, more adolescents will be at risk of being targeted and propositioned. Parents, when you're giving your child 'the stranger danger' talk, also remember to talk to your children about any wrongdoings that could come from people they actually already know. After all, any child protection organisation or police department will tell you that in most cases, child abuse (both sexual and non-sexual) was carried out by a person the child already knew. It's important to not strike fear and anxiety into children, but to just make them aware that if someone they know tries to pressure them into something they know is wrong or makes them feel uncomfortable, that they need to be able to say no and talk to their parents about it without fear of the potential consequences or disbelief on their part.
Communication with your children is vital and while the world obsesses over the dangers of the internet, there are just as many out in the real world. By being aware of this yourself, you can help to keep your children aware of these risks.
If you or someone you know are worried that such an incident has already occurred, please talk to your local police department as soon as possible with all the information can give about the incident. The sooner you act, the sooner you can keep other children at risk and of course the victim away from potential or further harm.
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