Is sexual abuse by women more common than we thought?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2023 | Other Sexual Abuse

People typically think males are the main culprits of sexual abuse. While that’s often still the case, recent research says that sexual abuse conducted by women may occur more frequently than traditional stereotypes would have us think.

The data may come as a surprise

According to The Atlantic, data from a peer-reviewed paper shows that women and men are more likely to be sexually abused by men. However, when men reported enduring sexual abuse that wasn’t penetration, 68% of respondents said the perpetrator was a woman. And according to Scientific American, 79% of men who said they were forced to penetrate others said the offender was female.

Sexual abuse by women tends to be underreported

Despite the considerable number of men who claim to suffer sexual abuse by women, these cases often go underreported. But why? Researchers say that survivors of childhood sexual abuse are much less likely to report victimization by a female perpetrator. That’s because many male survivors face societal pressure to interpret sexual abuse through the perspective of traditional masculinity, which says that men should always be receptive to opportunities for sex. However, for many men who endure sexual abuse, that is not the case. Researchers also so that, in some instances, society deems male survivors responsible for the abuse, particularly when they become teenagers, as that’s often when they face more blame for their interactions with adult women.

Researchers also say that authorities are less likely to investigate, arrest and punish women than men, as many view male transgressors as more harmful.

Anyone can commit sexual abuse

The traditional gender stereotypes that many believe run contrary to the data about female perpetrators of sexual abuse. Anyone can become a predatory abuser, regardless of gender, and can leave a lasting harmful impact on the people they mistreat. Listening to and believing survivors is vital in holding their abusers accountable and seeking justice.