Victimization Culture and Lesser Evilism

“…it rises up before raining down.”
~ rauldukeblog

Let us consider once again the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in, not only politically but culturally. What does this say about our society, both nationally and locally? What kind of social and political order do we live in? And what kind of mindset, what kind of values does it represent? We’ll begin with the national level in how it dominates the public mind. As we move toward yet another uninspiring election, we are offered the same old lesser evilism that has ruled our society for so long. Yet one can’t doubt that there is a certain appeal to the lesser evil when faced with the possibility of President Donald Trump being reelected and so leaving the American public to deal with another four years of his mental illness, some combination of psycopathy, narcissism, and dementia. Claims of a lesser evil sounds more reasonable and persuasive than ever before.

Then again, Joe Biden is a corporate whore with his own bigoted and creepy tendencies and what appears to be a far worse case of brain deterioration (Biden’s Corruption and Dementia) — Govert Schuller stated it well: “Joe Biden is so cognitively challenged that he can’t answer a question about whether he’s cognitively challenged without sounding profoundly cognitively challenged” (comment in response to interview). Not only is it a choice between two evils but two pathetic and depressing evils (Pick Your Poison). The absurdity of it causes one to laugh and then to immediately follow that up with a long sigh. Both men are so old and senile that it’s unclear that either could maintain even modest mental balance and political competence for the next four years. This means the actual election is between the two candidates competing to be vice president. It’s the vice president who will likely become the next president, eventually.

Be it presidents or vice presidents, one does not sense much excitement in the air about this election. Both parties seem halfhearted at best in their support for their respective candidates. It’s not clear that either side really wants to win all that much because maybe even to win would be to lose, to an even worse degree than last time. Besides the inferior quality of these two senile senior citizens, consider the immense problems of a dangerously declining empire that the next president or rather next vice president will inherit. One might add that it’s SNAFU, situation normal all fucked up, that is to say we’ve been in this societal tailspin for a long time… and it doesn’t look like there is going to be a Captain Sully to land us safely.

It’s not as if President Trump can be blamed for most of it. It was a mess when he came into the office. Sure, he has made absolutely everything worse and made America the laughingstock of the world, but it was going to get worse no matter what. That is because the ruling elite won’t allow anyone into power who could and would do anything to fundamentally lessen the dysfunction, much less implement positive change. Everything is working perfectly according to design and intention of those in power. We are living in a neoliberal utopia, the supposed best of all possible worlds — to use another acronym, TINA: “There is no alternative,” as Margaret Thatcher infamously put it. The likes of Trump and Biden are products of this neoliberal dominance. They are creatures of the swamp and their brains have become rather swampy at this point.

Still, one has to admit that, of the two, Trump is a special kind of crazy stupid. His degree of cognitive functioning, social behavior, and moral development is what one would expect of a below average elementary school child. He was born into immense wealth and basically has had a personal staff of nannies and butlers, assistants and attendants to babysit him since childhood. They take care of all his needs, solve his problems, protect him, eliminate or silence those who threaten him, and probably even dress him and wipe his butt or even jerk him off. The guy is at the special needs level of incompetence. If he were poor, he most likely would be dead, homeless, imprisoned, or otherwise institutionalized. Being filthy rich is the only thing that saves him from a horrible fate. He can cheat business partners, refuse to pay workers, lose money, go bankrupt, and have endless business failures… and yet his handlers ensure he always more money to play with.

The last election, of course, was a bit different. Whatever one thinks about Hillary Clinton, at the very least it has to be admitted that she is not senile nor is she an old white man, although an old white woman of the plutocracy is not necessarily better. Besides, she is not the sharpest crayon in the box, but she is a standard professional politician who still has a functioning brain. So, you have to give her credit for that much, not that it’s exactly a great accomplishment. If elected, she would’ve been guaranteed to have gotten the job done as president in the fashion expected of any other Clinton Democrat, but on the downside the job she would have gotten done was to further corporatocratic hegemony. It’s not exactly certain that would be a net gain for the country. Trump’s incompetent failure is, in a sense, an advantage since the damage he can do is limited, particularly as he motivates his opposition to organize and protest.

Criticism of Clinton Democrats aside, one has to question the moral and intellectual quality of those who supported Trump, voted for him, helped get him into power, and then cheered him on — and probably will vote for him a second time. Such people must be almost as mentally deranged as Trump himself. Let us consider a specific example, which brings us to the local level. The nearby town of West Branch has become a bedroom community of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, but it maintains many of the original families that have lived there for generations, including the so-called ‘Old Dinosaurs’ who ruled its government until quite recently. It’s the childhood hometown of President Herbert Hoover who was a decent man, if incompetent in his own way according to some. Though long past its heyday as a bustling railroad stop, West Branch still has the feeling of a pleasant rural community surrounded by bucolic farmland.

So, how do the residents vote? “Cedar County,” in which is located West Branch, “was once Republican turf, but the county voted for President Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Countywide nowadays, there is an equal mix of Republicans and Democrats holding office” (Jeff Zeleny, Iowa County Has Unique Result: A Tie). That was from 2000, but 12 years on Republicans regained their hold to a degree, at least locally. “Voters in Cedar County tend to be moderately conservative. The county generally votes for Republicans in local elections, but statewide races, and the presidential, are tossups” (Grace Wyler, These Eight Counties Will Decide The Presidential Election). It’s not a hardcore partisan population, but it appears to be slightly more conservative than Iowa in general. Although more often going to Democratic presidential candidates in recent years, Iowa was won by Trump with a decent margin of slightly less than a 10% lead. His margin of victory, however, was much larger in Cedar County at more than 18% (Politico, 2016 Iowa Presidential Election Results).

For most Iowans, the situation was probably more about Hillary Clinton having lost the election than Donald Trump having won, but in Cedar County it was a solid victory for Trump’s vision and rhetoric, Make America Great Again. What would cause this population to be so friendly to Trump’s bloviating and bad behavior? Iowans tend to favor more moderate politics, whereas Trump is the complete opposite of the stereotype of Iowa Nice. “The obvious explanation is that relative to the country, Iowa has a higher proportion of white residents without a college degree (Trump’s base). The same factors may explain why Iowa’s best bellwether county lost that status in 2016” (Bleeding Heartland blog, Iowa’s no bellwether anymore–and neither is Cedar County). This can be seen in the demographic details, as further described in that article:

“This year, Cedar County voters backed Trump over Clinton by 55.5 percent to 37.7 percent. That’s a larger victory for Trump than one would expect based on the latest voter registration numbers for the parties. On the other hand, non-Hispanic whites make up 96.0 percent of Cedar County’s population, compared to 86.7 percent of all Iowans, according to the latest Census Bureau estimates. Approximately 20.8 percent of Cedar County adults at least 25 years old have a bachelor’s degree or higher. For Iowa, the corresponding figure is 26.4 percent. Clinton’s vote share was higher among college-educated voters.Cedar County also has a slightly larger proportion of residents over age 65 than Iowa does, which probably worked in Trump’s favor.”

Mentioned above was the Old Dinosaurs, as they are known in West Branch. They are the aging white guys from the established families that have been there, in many cases, since the 1800s. They are the ruling patriarchy and for decades became a force of reactionary politics, in fighting against any and all progress, improvement, and outside influence. For example, they refused federal funding to fix sidewalks because there was a stipulation that made it impossible to direct that money to local business owners. They preferred to have decaying infrastructure than to pay a non-local company to fix it. The federal funds were lost and the broken sidewalks remained a public hazard, though some of them have been fixed since.

As an insular community, cronyism was how these guys were used to doing business and ensuring this cronyism was more important than all else. Basic public good like infrastructure maintenance didn’t inspire them. Yet they always could find money to buy expensive fire trucks and to build a new fire station (Old Forms of Power), a point of pride in having a shiny new truck for parades. This is because the volunteer fireman association is filled with members from the old families and one of the Old Dinosaurs, Dick Stoolman, held the paid position of fire chief. As an illegal demand in seeking retirement, he stated in reference to his son that, “I wouldn’t give it up unless he got it” (Gregory R. Norfleet, 40-year chief Stoolman stepping down July 1). Indeed, as goes the incestuous politics of a small town, his son did inherit the job. The new fire station has been used as a country club for this multi-generational local ruling elite, where they go to socialize and clean their personal vehicles, a situation that became a minor scandal. These aren’t people who put much stock in functioning democracy, especially as outsiders grew in their midst with liberal Iowa City a short drive away.

This xenophobia toward perceived outsiders is apparently not a new phenomenon. As I wrote elsewhere, “A longtime friend of mine grew up there for much of her early life and she recalls the racism that was common there. Loewen briefly discusses Cedar County in his discussion of presidential hometowns (as Hoover lived in West Branch as a child). West Branch did and does have a large Quaker presence and the Quakers sought to help blacks after the Civil War. According to the census data, there were 37 black residents of Cedar County in 1890, but only 2 in 1930” (Liberty, Freedom, and Fairness). That disappearance of blacks is typical of sundown towns, although in this case it is unknown what happened. For whatever reasons, most of the black population suddenly decided it was best not to remain there, likely because of some violent action or threat, such as a mob or a burning cross.

The census data certainly fits the profile of a sundown town, according to similar examples across the Midwest. At a later date, I talked to that same friend about the case of the disappearing blacks. “I told her that Loewen had no evidence of West Branch being a sundown town, even though it used to have something like 5 black families. She told me that it probably wasn’t an accident that the blacks left. She had many negative experiences in that town. People weren’t accepting of those who were different. Back then, there was two minority families with children, one black and the other Asian. She says they were treated badly and both families left. That is one way to get rid of minorities. You don’t need a sundown sign, threatening cops, mob violence, arson, or anything so crude. You just have to make people’s lives difficult and unhappy, bully their children and ostracize them” (comment at Spirit of ’76).

This friend personally experienced the bullying and abuse, as her family was relatively new to West Branch. She did grow up there as a child, but her parents had not. Although she is white, she was considered an outsider and so worthy of being targeted. The other kids in town could be cruel, of course. The thing is that the kids were often following the lead of respected authority figures, one man in particular. She was living there in the early to mid-80s. It was in 1983 that James “Butch” Pedersen — born and raised in West Branch as a son of one of the old farm families — was hired as the replacement for the position of head football coach and he quickly gained a reputation for winning games. Some of his former players have gone on to play in college and professional football or else now work as coaches themselves. There is no doubt that he is a great coach. Obviously, he has inspired and continues to inspire many people.

He has become well known and widely respected far beyond that dinky town, such as having been “recognized for his lifetime commitment to coaching when he was named 2017 National Football Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association” (A Coaching Legend: Iowa’s Butch Pedersen). At the University of Iowa in nearby Iowa City, Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz offered praise: “Butch has done such a great job. Our state is, in my mind, really rich in coaches like that. They’re doing it because they really love kids and they love coaching. They’re not doing it because they’re trying to be whatever. But all those guys, in my mind, are legends, and Butch is certainly in that category. Those guys are rare people” (Dargan Southard, On cusp of 300 wins, West Branch’s ‘family atmosphere’ driving force behind Butch Pedersen’s success). Why would a Big 10 coach even know a high school coach from a small town? It turns out the influence is personal —- Ferentz explains that, “Butch was one of my grade school teachers, junior high track coach and HS football coach and one of the bigger influences on my life” (Hawkeye Nation, tweet).

For decades, he has made many residents proud of their town and so that has made him untouchable, above reproach. He began his West Branch career as a coach and teacher in 1975 when he was only 25 years old, and he was focused in this direction prior to that: “When he finished his degree, he already was a volunteer assistant coach at West Branch” (Ryan Suchomel, Butch Pedersen always wanted to be a football coach). As such, besides coaching football and along with helping coach basketball, he also worked as a teacher in the local schools and so came in contact with students who weren’t athletes. His career began in that town and has continued there ever since. That is a 45 year stretch spent entirely in his hometown. It was in this latter capacity as a teacher that my friend was exposed to what she experienced as a sadistic streak. She was in early elementary school at the time where she was placed in one of his classes.

Let’s consider some background, so as to give a sense of this individual’s character. Butch, as he is known in West Branch, is an old school manly man. “Football is a tough sport that is played by tough people,” he said in explaining his football philosophy (Bears Football, Butch Pedersen). “Not everyone is tough enough to play it.” In describing a former player of his went onto college football, he said that, even though he was forced to play in positions he didn’t prefer, “he never bawled about it” (Marc Morehouse, No crying in linebacking – Bo Bower’s return). That is because real men don’t cry. They just take it, suck it up, and do what they’re told. Being a hard-ass coach is part of his reputation and he has expected his players to meet his high standards. He does not like weakness and the other side of his reputation, according to some, is that he is known for attacking the weak — that is to say those who can’t fight back.

My friend remembers how Coach Butch would pick out the kids who had few friends, specifically those who weren’t members of one of the old families of intermarried solidarity. As a lifelong resident of West Branch, he knew who to victimize and who to leave alone. This often meant his going after poor kids or anyone else considered an outsider to the community. She was such a kid and so she often got the brunt of his abuse. He had a variety of methods, two of which stood out in her memory. One of the worst things he’d do was to mock and shame his favorite victims. He’d do so in front of the whole class and encourage the other students to join in on the bullying. For example, he would line up all the kids around the edge of the classroom and then make the victim run the gauntlet as the other kids threw stuff at them. She only experienced this on occasion, she recalled, whereas some even less fortunate classmates of hers were tormented in this manner on a weekly basis. Another aspect of this was that he’d make up cruel names for these particular kids and use the names in the classroom. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the kids would copy his behavior in using these demeaning nicknames.

In one incident, my friend had the entire lunchroom full of kids chanting the name of abuse he had given her. Coach Butch along with other adults stood by as it happened and they did nothing (although on a happy and inspiring note, as her childhood self passed by him, she sought to exact revenge by having punched him in the balls). That is the thing, his abusive behavior was known by the other school staff and people in town. Maybe it was expected. Coaches were supposed to be tough and toughening kids up was considered a good thing back then, especially in a conservative small town in farm country. His harsh ‘disciplinarian’ approach seems to have been an open secret, but I guess no one talked much about it, as it was normalized as part of the local culture. The art teacher who happened to be a lesbian tried to protect my friend, but this lady was also new to the town and may have found herself targeted as well, considering she didn’t last long before she was fired. * The school counselor also tried to offer protection and my friend had the sense that she may have tried to intervene at one point but, if she did, she was forced to back down. Coach Butch was golden and so he got a free pass. No one would be allowed to challenge his authority or smear his reputation, as he had friends in high places. He was part of the old boys network, what would later become known as the Old Dinosaurs.

This is relevant to Trump for obvious reasons, considering Trump is also a bully and an abuser. What does this say about our society? Here is another thing to consider. West Branch is a conservative town and yet there are Democrats who live there. My friends’ parents are Clinton Democrats and, in fact, her mother worked at the local school with Coach Butch. Her mother knew what was happening and she was friends with the art teacher who tried to help, but her mother never did anything to challenge the coach or stop the abuse. Her mother couldn’t find the moral courage to face the reality of her child being traumatized partly because she was married to an abusive man. She had learned to rationalize abuse by focusing on the positive, as my friend told it to me, based on a faith in humanity that placed hope in the potential for people changing for the better, apparently even when the bad actors in question showed no remorse. This is how even good liberals with good intentions can become complicit in authoritarian and patriarchal systems.

Many years later when my friend was an adult, her mother who was still working as a teacher at the time insisted that Coach Butch had changed and she’d create situations where my friend would have to interact with this guy who was her childhood tormentor. It could be interpreted as a form of gaslighting, in that my friend wanted to trust her mother and believe what she was told, that he really was a different person now. However, it seems that this was all bullshit, a rationalization her mother had invented to make herself feel better in knowing she had betrayed her daughter’s trust in allowing so much harm to have been done when she was younger. My friend still struggles with that childhood trauma. The sad part is that, going by such accounts, it sounds like she was just one among many kids who were hurt by Coach Butch and almost a half century later he is still coach in West Branch, he is still treated like a local hero.

I know another family with children presently living in West Branch. The daughter attends high school where Coach Butch is currently employed. This young girl was talking about him and I suddenly remembered my friend’s experience from the 1980s. I told this high schooler about my friend’s sad childhood in West Branch and she said nothing has changed. This guy still has a reputation as abusive and is still targeting weak loners who can’t fight back. Later on when I told my friend about this, it hit her hard because of her mother having lied to her. To think of how many generations of kids have been hurt by this one guy. She speculated that the psychiatric costs incurred from his sadism probably amounts at least to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then after some thought, she expressed surprise that none of his victims have yet committed suicide or become school shooters, although maybe some of them have had sad endings without anyone connecting it to the original cause of trauma. She made me promise to warn this other family about how dangerous is Coach Butch, in her opinion, as their youngest child fits the description of his preferred targets (she knows this family). And she said if a legal case ever comes up, she would gladly testify.

As another example of Coach Butch’s less than optimal behavior, the high schooler said that if one of his players quits the team he will emotionally cut them off and treat them like they no longer exist. A child’s value in his eyes, one might suspect, is largely about whether they can help him win another championship or otherwise boost his social identity as coach, or else maybe if that child is a member of one of the old families, part of his community as ‘us’ and so not an outsider. It is his hard-nosed approach that has won him not only so many victories but, more importantly, so much support and praise among those who share this identity of ‘us’. He apparently knows what he can get away with and so rarely steps across the line. A rare case happened last year, according to the aforementioned student, when he was kicked out of a game for shoving one of the high school players. That didn’t tarnish his reputation in the slightest and he is still beloved or so the local media reports — the question being about the news stories not published, the statements left unquoted, the allegations never allowed to be heard, the investigations that never saw the light of day.

It’s not that he has necessarily ever done anything illegal. Even his worse abusive behavior my friend describes from the 1980s may have been considered perfectly allowable by the standards of the time or even commendable by the other respected authority figures in town. The police might have known about it without any concern. That was simply the rough nature of a rural community, as many of the older generation like Butch grew up with a hard life on farms. It’s only been in recent years that most schools have concerned themselves with curtailing abuse and bullying, whether from children or adults. The kinds of behavior teachers and coaches used to get away with in many places is amazing by today’s standards (for a truly extreme example, watch the Netflix documentary The Keepers). That is to say Coach Butch wasn’t unusual, even if his ‘tough love’ was a bit more harsh than average.

It’s not to pick on this one guy as evil incarnate or even particularly horrific, in the big scheme of things. No bad intentions are required since bad actors can remain unconscious of the bad consequences of their actions. The most depressing part and the key point being made here is how normal this is in our society, specifically among the older generations — since as a typical product a post-war 1950s childhood in rural America, Butch embraced the identity of hyper-masculinity and patriarchy. The purpose of this post is not to bring him down low by shitting on the happy memories of many who have known this truly great coach, but it is to remind people that not everyone’s memories were happy. It’s not that the unhappy are more worthy of being heard than the happy, that we should only listen to the critics and naysayers. Still, maybe they should be given an opportunity to be heard, at the very least. What stands out is that the local media has completely shut out anyone who has a different opinion or else they’ve certainly not sought them out, as if they don’t exist and as if what they experienced never happened — the silence is deafening.

This exclusion is salt on the wound of trauma. According to these accounts, it has been those who are isolated who get targeted and, indeed, the feeling of being isolated is very much real. To have the other students mimic this bad behavior modeled by them, to have other authority figures condone it by default of ignoring it, and then on top of that to have the local media constantly praise this man who did so much harm to you and so much harm to others you’ve witnessed — all of that would make one feel all the more isolated. It would feel further traumatizing and, as mentioned before, it would have the effect of gaslighting in a collective denial of what you know is real in your experience. When insanity becomes the social norm that is enforced, those who fall outside the demands of conformity can come to the false belief that they are the crazy ones.

It could cause someone to doubt their own experience, their own sense of reality… and that is the most damaging result of all. Once you no longer trust yourself and the world around you, that can lead to blaming yourself for what happened and so to think you are at fault, that you are the problem, that there is something wrong with you. In a highly conformist society, this is how dysfunctional authoritarianism takes over, as everyone fears becoming one of the excluded and targeted. The targeted victims are not only scapegoats but are used to set an example. Others quickly learn to not be like those victims and so they all the more make sure to do what they are told and do what is expected. Fear is a motivating force and for good reason, but when part of a dysfunctional culture it becomes highly destructive to the human soul.

If we want to judge a society, look to the least among us. Look to the poor, the weak, the sick, the lonely. See how society treats those people and then you’ll know the moral quality of the culture, community, and leadership. Don’t attack the victims of oppression for speaking out, for protesting, and for defending themselves. In an oppressive society where the Dark Tetrad (narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism) holds sway, it takes amazing courage to challenge the powerful and their defenders who will close ranks. The reaction of power to the powerless can get brutal and it often doesn’t end well because few want to hear. But that is all the more reason we should also have the moral courage to listen to those voices that make us uncomfortable, that tell us things we’d rather not know. Look to the outsiders, the minorities, and the downtrodden — take seriously their suffering.

Let’s get straight to the point. What kind of values does Butch Pedersen represent? Someone doesn’t gain that much power, authority, and respect by not embodying something important within a community. In one article, he is described as “continually molding and shaping a family atmosphere full of people eager to help in any way possible” (Dargan Southard, On cusp of 300 wins, West Branch’s ‘family atmosphere’ driving force behind Butch Pedersen’s success). “No matter the role,” this journalist of a local newspaper concludes, “those who’ve been part of Pedersen’s run have a unified message: The dean of West Branch football has made their lives better.” Sounds great! Kevin Braddock, a former player now on Butch’s staff, is quoted as saying, “You’re talking hundreds of kids, thousands of kids that he’s impacted.” The question is what exactly has been the impact not only on certain individuals who found his favor as a coach but the greater impact on the atmosphere created in that community, the culture of silence and silencing as Derrick Jensen would describe it. Not everyone’s lives were made better and the consequences extend beyond a few victims as lone voices.

“Butch can be kind of scary, especially when you’re a freshman or sophomore,” adds John Hierseman, another former player and present staffer. His victims would likely agree with that assessment, if in a way not intended. The coach himself is not shy about admitting to his behavior, as he takes it as a point of pride. “Sometimes in today’s society, people are afraid of discipline and tough love. I’m not afraid to do that,” he said. “Some people think we’re too tough. I don’t think that all. I think a lot of other people are too soft. And I think that’s society in general.” Well, my friend would be among those who thinks he is “too tough” and that would be an understatement. “Football,” as Coach Butch said, “is a tough sport that is played by tough people.” But apparently this applies to life in general. Kids needed to be toughened up. If some of them can’t take it and are broken and scarred instead, he can’t be blamed for their inferiority and weakness, at least according to his own view apparently shared by others who support and defend him.

He goes on to say that, “You can’t always be the nice guy. Sometimes, you have to get a little tough with them. And in the long run, they’re going to come back and say thank you. I can’t tell you the number of kids who’ve gone on to the military and said basic training is really similar to some of our camps at the beginning of the year. You break them down mentally, but you always love them to death. Then you bring them back strong.” If a fraction of the observations and criticisms heard about him are true, one suspects that more than a few who have experienced his tough love have not always been made better by the experience. How many have been harmed? Will we ever know? Will they ever be heard?

Southard quotes the coach one last time — “It’s not me. It’s all of us together.” — and says, “That’s just how West Branch rolls.” Maybe so and that might not be such a good thing. He talks a lot about ‘we’ and ‘us’, and he obviously loves his community as his community loves him, though not all of his community. He comes across as the real deal, a true community leader as once was far more common. As he told it, “I wanted this to be a community tradition. I wanted to have as many people involved in the football program as possible. If you go to the homecoming ceremony, and they ask all the people involved in the football program to come down on the field, there’s no one left in the bleachers” (Ryan Suchomel, Butch Pedersen always wanted to be a football coach). Yet the “all of us together” might be far more exclusionary as is all too often found in small town life. The shadow side of ‘us’ is ‘them’, those who are othered.

That is how Donald Trump came to power. He has attacked the weak and targeted perceived outsiders as scapegoats, like he did in ridiculing a reporter with a disability at one of his rallies. And similar to Coach Butch, Trump has a talent for coming up with names to mock people, as he did with Biden in calling him ‘Sleepy Joe’. With all of this in mind, it is maybe expected that someone of Trump’s character would also be so popular in Cedar County (to be fair, a significant minority did not vote for him; it would be interesting and probably telling to find out if those who voted for Trump correlate to those who most strongly support Coach Butch). That patriarchal abusiveness may simply be part of the social fabric. The moral degradation of our society has been going on for a long time. Those like Coach Butch and President Trump don’t come out of nowhere. And there is a reason they are revered by many, a reason they are able to gain power and get away with behavior that one can easily argue is reprehensible and inexcusable. From small towns in the Heartland to Washington D.C., it’s part of the victimization culture that so darkens our society, that corrupts the American soul.

The deeper problem is this. Where are the numerous victims in our society going to turn to in the hope of fighting back against powerful and respected victimizers? As with the bullied and abused students in many American communities and minorities in the oppressive racial order, as with the perceived outsiders and members of the permanent underclass, those harmed rarely feel confident in turning to authority figures for help, as the system of authority defends and rationalizes away the problem. That is what has motivated recent years of moral outrage and civic unrest — from the Me Too movement to the Black Lives Matter protests. For certain, none of the ruling elite of either major political party is a friend to the oppressed and disenfranchised. Lesser evil voting ends up feeling light on the ‘lesser’ and heavy on the ‘evil’. Here is the rub. Why do so many tolerate people like Butch and Trump? What do they hope to gain?

It’s simple. These social dominators know how to play the game of success and their old white male status gives them immense privilege, albeit often oblivious and belligerent privilege. Such people grasp, consciously or not, the power of the role they inhabit and they wield that power to great effect. In return, they offer their supporters and co-conspirators the opportunity to be on the winning side, to be part of ‘us’ — and the rhetorical narrative can sometimes be quite inspiring, especially when the ‘us’ symbolizes your own community, your own people. If you are one of Coach Butch’s favorites or when President Trump directs his schmoozing toward you, I’m sure to be the recipient of such glowing paternalism can feel like being on top of the world. That is what Coach Butch gave West Branch, a town otherwise in decline from its former glory as a bustling economic center. He gave them a sense of being winners again, specifically during the Farm Crisis of the 1980s. President Trump has attempted to do the same thing on a grander scale, to take a declining America and promise to make it great again, a post-Reagan revival declaring that it’s Morning in America.

On the other side, the moral cost of this deal with the Devil is immense. But once the deal has been made, it’s near impossible to renegotiate and remedy. Hidden behind the sense of shared pride is an ever looming shadow of collective shame. It takes much effort and constant vigilance to keep such dark secrets forever a secret, even when they’re open secrets, to hide what is really going on and what it means for a community and for society. Complicity in a culture of victimization creates a culture of silence. We can point out President Trump’s buffoonery, but what is much harder is to admit that his behavior has long been normalized, if often in less obvious ways. This authoritarian streak in American culture goes back centuries. And it will continue until we face this moral failure. Until then, victimizers will continue to rise into power and the rest of us will go on enabling them.

– – – – –

* About ‘us’ vs ‘them’, one wonders about what happened to that lesbian art teacher who was fired. Small towns are known for being harsh, to say the least, toward those who are different, especially when it comes to sexuality and gender. To demonstrate this, the West Branch Times newspaper published an article by Gregory R. Norfleet, Soapbox Philosophy: A desire within, and a choice, to which one commenter responded: “I love how his column mixes worship of a high school football coach with a fear of homosexuals. It’s just so small-town Iowa” (from Another letter to the West Branch Times at the DailyDisgust blog).

Not All Men, And Not All Women, But Some

Now that the title has caught your attention, let me set up the context for the central point I want to make. After that, I’ll make clear what I mean and fully articulate my argument. This post has been in the writing process for several years. Simmering on the back burner, I finally decided it was ready to be served. The main motivation for completing this project had to do with data I found all those years ago, data that I rarely if ever see mentioned. So, if you are interested to know what largely inspired this post, go to the very end where you will find that data. But if you are hankering for a lengthy detailed analysis, I promise not to disappoint.

Before I begin, let me put the context into context. The following discussion of gender issues is part of a decades-long project to put all issues into an ever larger context, to put humanity in the context of the collective and intersectional, to put society in the context of the systemic and institutional, and much else along those lines — involving social justice and civil rights, social sciences and culture, socioeconomic inequality and environmentalism. Et cetera. It is only in taking the broad view that we can hope to glimpse the big picture. As always, my guiding principle is to push further beyond.

* * *

What civilization has done to women’s bodies is no different than what
it’s done to the earth, to children, to the sick, to the proletariat;
in short, to everything that isn’t supposed to “talk.”
— Tiqqun, “Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl” 

There have been more sex scandals in the news lately than at any other point in recent history, maybe in living memory. Many powerful men have had their careers ended and their personal lives destroyed. There is no doubt that many and probably most of them deserve it, especially the sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein. But I do feel wary about all of the cases and potential future cases being jumbled together as if they are equal, similar to my concern about someone criminally charged for public urination (or even an 18 year old high schooler who had sex with his/her 17 year old girlfriend/boyfriend) being put on the sex offender list along with serial rapists and child molesters.

Witch hunts quickly form when public shaming determines a guilty judgment before any legal trial and democratic process is allowed to begin. There is a long history of innocent people getting caught up in false accusations, not to say that is what is going on now. It’s just that there is blood in the water and a feeding frenzy of righteous outrage has begun. Of course, there is plenty of reason for righteous outrage. I might argue that, in some ways, it doesn’t go far enough. Our society needs a moral reckoning of the highest order. We are long past the point where we either need a truth commission or a revolution, for all the moral rot at the heart of America.

What also is concerning is the hypocrisy of moral condemnation in our society. There are forms of power and oppression all around us that do far more harm than even sexual predators, but these other acts of wrongdoing and injustice are more socially acceptable and with many legal loopholes that protect the victimizers. Take for example the illegal and unconstitutional wars of aggression that kill millions of innocents, mostly poor brown people. Or as another example, consider the profit made by corporations that pollute the water and air, leading to high toxicity rates primarily harming poor brown people in the US and abroad. The harm caused by these is surely far greater than all of the sexual abuse combined. Why is righteous outrage and public shaming so selective? It ends up feeling more like scapegoating that evades our collective guilt about the even vaster moral failure and social injustice in our society.

Also, I can’t help but notice that corporate media in promoting this situation prefers to focus on both victims and victimizers who just so happen to be wealthier and whiter than most Americans. It becomes yet another soap opera to distract from darker truths and harsher realities. Do they think by sacrificing a few rich white guys that populist anger will be appeased? Is this an attempt to prevent the coming political storm by diverting it? Or is it simply, in our collective frustration about our collective failure, we are seeking an outlet for the pressure building up that otherwise would erupt in mass protests, maybe even riots and revolts? We should be mad. If anything, we aren’t yet mad enough. The worst guilty parties among the ruling elite remain mostly unchallenged and unscathed.

No matter how bad the sexual abuse is among wealthy whites, the oppression among the poor and minorities is far worse. There is no comparison. This greater oppression doesn’t spare poor men and minority men for reasons of male privilege. And let us not forget that most men are poor and/or minority, not powerful plutocrats wielding their patriarchical authority. When we speak of violence and abuse by men, there is a long history of racism behind it. Black boys are more likely to be perceived, treated, and prosecuted as adults while black males in general are more likely to be perceived as scarier, more dangerous, and less innocent. That is on top of the fact that blacks, mostly black males, are more likely than whites to be stopped and frisked, arrested and prosecuted, punished and imprisoned in relation to crimes that whites commit at higher rates. Plus, men are more likely get prison time than women for the same crimes. The issue of ‘Not All Men’ can mean life or death for poor minorities facing a system and social order of racial violence that has benefited not just white men but also white women, especially the wealthier.

I take victimization as a serious issue, far more than do most people. But it must be understood as a system and cycle of victimization, as I’ve pointed out before (A Fucked Up World). The victims and victimizers are disproportionately determined by privileges as much if not more related to race and class than to gender. Certainly, the compounded impact of intersectionality involving race and class is a one-two punch that destroys more lives than most privileged white feminists would care to think about.

* * *

Some women like to criticize men as violent and blame all of violent society on men, but the overwhelming data doesn’t make women look all that better than men. Depending on the specific data in terms of which forms of harm and which demographics, female perpetrators often are a higher percentage than male perpetrators. A lot of child abuse also comes from women, much of it sexual abuse and sometimes leading to death, although most of it is neglect. Women could make excuses for this fact such as “not all women.” Though true women disproportionately spend more time with children, it still doesn’t explain why so many women choose to abuse and harm children when given the opportunity.

Also, it doesn’t explain why we have heard so little about wide-scale maltreatment, including sexual abuse, of boys by women. It took generations for larger number of male perpetrators to be brought to justice, beginning with Catholic priests and now focused on celebrities and politicians. How long will we have to wait for more female perpetrators to be forced to face justice? What will it take for boys and men to be supported enough to not fear coming forward? With recent cases, we might be barely seeing the tip of an iceberg. One would like to believe that, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But does it?

Consider the consequences and what they mean. Does child abuse by women lead to a more violent society? Hell yes. And does victimization lead to ever more victimization, in an endless cycle of vast suffering? No doubt about it. So, does scapegoating a particular demographic help in dealing with the problem? Not in the slightest. Such scapegoating is as much a part of the problem, in that it helps evade the real issues of how bad it all is, how systemic and pervasive. Instead of child maltreatment dividing the genders, it unites us all in a common problem with large numbers of perpetrators found in all demographics. The saddest part is how many victims grow up to become victimizers. This isn’t about blaming victims or excusing vicitmizers. But it is depressing truth, as studies show, that many victims grow up to be victimizers. And, specifically, I suspect that many (how many?) male victimizers of female victims were earlier in life child victims of female victimizers. This is suggesting that we live in a far more fucked up world than most people want to admit. Our collective problems are collective sins. It is never just about those other people.

Claims of male privilege has a major kernel of truth and yet, as a generalization, it is easily taken too far. What about poor men? And what about minority men? Poor and minority men (the two demographics combined being the vast majority of men) are disproportionately in military and on the front-lines and so disproportionately injured and killed in war. And black males are disproportionately stopped and frisked, harassed and killed, prosecuted and imprisoned compared to whites, even for crimes that whites commit more often (e.g. whites are more likely than blacks to carry, use, and sell illegal drugs, while blacks are more likely to be arrested, prosecuted harshly, and imprisoned longer for illegal drug crimes).

Consider an African-American woman who is a daughter, wife, and mother to black men. If she were to say not all black men are bad and don’t deserve what they get in our society, why should she listen to or care about what privileged white feminists have to say in broad brushing men? Why should she care more about anything that detached white activists say than she cares about the problems of racism and poverty that do more harm to her and her family on a daily basis than maybe all the gender bias combined? The idea of “not all men” might have a different meaning as she worries about her son heading off to school, in a world that is harshly unfair and violently unforgiving. Implied in the white feminists’ outrage is an unstated belief about “not all whites,” as if the sins of racism can be separated from gendered oppression.

There are a number of great books on racism. One of my favorites so far is Racial Paranoia by John L. Jackson. The author points out how the rhetoric of colorblindness and political correctness has made open debate very difficult and fraught. It is an improvement over slavery and Jim Crow, but in the place of overt racism there is now a paralyzing racial paranoia. This is harmful for all involved. Similarly, one could teach right-wingers and reactionaries how to speak in politically correct ways such as not saying “not all men,” but that would simply hide the problem and allow it to proliferate. Reactionaries, in particular, are more talented in using political correctness than liberals will ever be. There are few more powerful tools of manipulative rhetoric than politically correct language, behind which dark motives and cynical views can be hidden. The more politically correct someone is, the less you should automatically trust them.

I’ve read more books on racism than on feminism. But there is much crossover between the two. I was reading a recent book by Angela Davis who is a famous black feminist. Even my conservative dad knew who she was from her activism of past decades. I like her perspective of intersectionalism, where multiple oppressive forces meet. In her case, that involved being both a woman and being black. Intersectional feminism arose in response to and criticism of mainstream feminism. These other feminists saw that racial and class privilege dominated even within feminism.

These are difficult issues to understand, to communicate, and to discuss. Emotions tend to run high and there are always good reasons for people to feel angry and frustrated. I was wondering also if there isn’t a challenge of gender paranoia similar to the racial paranoia. We obsess so much about speaking politically correct that we don’t easily trust that people actually mean what they say. We need more consideration for not just demanding that others say the right things but also, for all involved, to communicate well and honestly. Communication is a two-way street that demands mutual respect and understanding, and a whole lot of intellectual humility and personal humility.

Several people I know have, in the past, posted about the “not all men” meme. I’ve found myself resistant to writing about it, even though it is important, for the meme itself doesn’t particularly interest me. The entire debate on both sides has been a distraction from the real issues. Over these past several years, I’ve given this topic way more thought and consideration than I planned. Maybe it is worth the trouble or maybe not. People get upset, angry, and exasperated for good reason. But this leads people often getting the better of themselves and so pushing for attitudes that are ultimately counterproductive.

I don’t identify as feminist and I’m certainly not an anti-feminist. If I were to pick a label, I’d go with humanist or maybe something even broader than that. I’ve never overtly thought of myself as a women’s rights advocate, not that I’m against women’s rights, and I would find no inspiration in being a men’s rights advocate. First and foremost, I’m simply a human rights advocate, no matter the gender, race, or any other identity of the humans in question. I try to not favor one demographic of identity politics over any other, although I can’t help myself in being particularly saddened by the most desperate of poverty. My capacity for sympathy is fairly large and inclusive — there is plenty of compassionate concern to go around. As far as that goes, I’m also an animal rights advocate, ecosystem rights activist, and biosphere rights advocate. I’m generally in favor of all varieties and arrangements of life forms. If you are some combination of animate, aware, and responsive, if you are capable of growing and reproducing, then consider me a strong ally. I’m more pro-life than most self-described pro-lifers.

I hold this position because human reality is complex, reality in general actually. Our lives involve overlapping identities and influences. This is what is referred to as intersectionality — what might get talked about as systems theory, complexity theory, etc when focusing on anything besides individual humans. The study of intersectionality originates from feminism, but the theory more broadly applies to any “intersections between forms or systems of oppression, domination or discrimination.” Outside of feminism, some might refer to this as an “extended self” or something along those lines, in that self-identity and subjective experience don’t easily fit into the classical liberal’s hyper-individualism (upon which is built the social Darwinian pseudo-meritocracy of capitalist realism). The basic idea is an old understanding, and I’m fairly sure I’ve come across versions of it going at least back to the Enlightenment thinkers (it definitely was understood by some like Thomas Paine during the American Revolution, a conflict that was as much about economics and class as politics and governance, as much about social identity as civil rights). The basic motivation behind this broader understanding of humanity and society is that people who begin by fighting one type of problem end up fighting against a whole web of problems. There are few if any isolated problems in the world.

Take the Elliot Rodger’s incident. It involved the intersectionality of ethno-racism, self-hatred, mental health, misogyny, and gun violence. Probably other issues could be added as well. The broader context could also be thrown in. When a disadvantaged minority male in an underdeveloped country does the exact same thing, it doesn’t attract the attention of most Westerners, particularly not most comfortable Western feminists who are well-educated, middle class, and white. The division of privilege and power between countries is greater than the division of privilege and power within most countries. Saying that someone is a woman or a feminist doesn’t say much about that person or their experience. Likewise saying someone is a man doesn’t say much either.

Intersectionalism is explained well at the Thinking Girl blog:

“It turns out that not all women have the same experience, thus making it impossible to universalize the experiences of women under one group title “woman”. […] Crenshaw also uses an analogy she calls the “Basement Analogy”. Imagine a room in which the most well-off members of society reside. Below is is a basement, filled with all the people whose identity prevents them from being able to access the room. There is a trap-door in the floor of the room, and the people in the basement are scrambling for access. Those on top, or most likely to be granted access to the room, are those who only have one factor of their identity working against them: white women, disabled white men, non-white men, white non-christian men, white poor men, and so on. These people are standing on the shoulders of those who have two factors against them: black women, gay non-white men, poor white women, disabled women, etc. And so on, and so on. These analogies, while perhaps not perfect, provide a great visual, yes? […] Because we are not just one thing, but a compilation of many facets that make up a whole person, it is next to impossible to talk about women as if we are a homogenous group.”

Take that explanation of society and magnify it by the demographic and geographic differences, the economic and political inequalities of the entire global society. This larger view can be overwhelming and so the typical activist more often than not focuses narrowly on their own local area, their society or their country or just their community. This is also why so many activists focus on single issues and ignore the complications of an intersectional understanding. But for obvious reasons this omission of a greater context can be problematic.

What forms the lived experience of oppression and victimization isn’t a single issue. It isn’t just about being a woman, being homosexual, being handicapped, being a minority, being poor, or being in a post-colonial underdeveloped country. Where it gets really bad is when a number of these intersect in the lives of individuals, and so act as compounding factors. This is why the average well-educated middle class white American feminist is better off (less oppressed and victimized) than most people in the world, including most men in the world. But you might assert that not all self-identified feminists are well-educated white women in wealthy countries. True, but quite probably most are.

I would argue that the real derailing of much-needed discussion is this lack of awareness and appreciation for intersectionality. The enemies of human rights are strengthened when activists separate their identity politics and special interests from that of everyone else. There are no successful movements without allies. There are no allies without alliances. And there are no alliances without mutual respect and understanding. Some feminists are demanding that others listen to them, but there is no genuine listening that only goes one way. Everyone wants to be listened to. Minorities want to be listened to. Poor people want to be listened to. The mentally ill want to be listened to. Victims of war want to be listened to. Numerous other groups could be named that all want to be listened to. But that doesn’t give the right of any of these people to tell everyone else to shut up and only listen to them.

It’s because such issues as feminism are so important that those who self-identify as feminist shouldn’t sell themselves short. They should radically push feminism to its limits, broaden it to touch upon all aspects of human experience and all of the issues of human rights infringement. They should seek mutually beneficial alliances with other activists from across the board. The criticisms I’m making here of mainstream feminism are the same criticisms that radical feminists themselves have made. Intersectionality studies comes specifically out of the black feminist movement. The criticisms came from black women who saw white privilege and other privileges as remaining dominant within the leadership of the feminist movement.

As Sara Salem explains in Decolonial Intersectionality and a Transnational Feminist Movement:

“One example of such an approach would be to conceptualize feminism as a project that views patriarchy as a system oppressing both women and men. Rather than view gender justice as an individualistic goal to be attained by every woman — a view that sometimes views men as ‘the enemy’ — alternative visions in which patriarchy is conceptualized as a system that oppresses everyone can be more useful. This is not to say that men do not benefit from patriarchy — all men do. Rather it is to complicate ideas of masculinity by showing that not all men benefit equally. Work on masculinities has shown that men who fit the ideal type are in a power relation not only with women but also with men who are outside of what is considered ‘masculine.’ Pushing this conceptualization further, it is also more applicable to societies in which individualism is not the norm. For many women in postcolonial societies, the aim is not to challenge men, but rather to challenge the system and structures that allow men to become dominant. This will lead to justice not only for women but for men as well. This is why many postcolonial feminists focus on class so extensively, because they see the ways in which other structures — such as class — intersect with patriarchy in ways that oppress everybody. Thus ‘reforming’ men or even ‘reforming’ gender relations will never be enough: entire structures that intersect and depend upon one another need to be dismantled. There can be no feminism without anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism, and so on, because patriarchy does not exist in isolation from imperialism, capitalism and other structures.”

* * *

For years, I’ve heard the statistics on male violence. I don’t doubt that we live in a violent society and that men participate in it to a greater degree. This is true on the victimizing end and, in many cases, on the victimized end.

More men than women commit rape, more men than women get in fights, more men than women shoot others, more men than women belong to gangs, etc. At the same time, more men than women are injured in industrial accidents, more men than women are sent off to die in wars, more men than women are harmed in the line of police duty, more men than women are burned horribly as firemen, etc. Men are generally more likely to kill and be killed, more likely to harm and be harmed, both when involved in morally reprehensible acts and when involve in morally honorable acts. I’m not arguing that each harmful act by a man is balanced by a beneficial act by a man. That would be too simplistic of an analysis. This data just is what it is, whatever is one’s final judgment.

My interest in violence has been less about gender, though. What original motivated my research was discussions of race and racism, largely because of having spent so many years living in and observing the racial order of the Deep South. The debate on violence almost always is degraded to arguments over which race, ethnicity, regional population, or other demographic commits the most violent crime. The answer one comes to depends on how one slices up the data. And too often one slices up the data in the way that gives one the answer one wants to find.

Minorities, in terms of mainstream identity politics and ignoring radical intersectional feminism, tend to get portrayed as a more complex demographic than that of women and with a more complicated history. Minorities have historically been exploited, oppressed, and victimized in almost endless ways. They experience high rates of poverty and prejudice which inevitably correlates to all kinds of social problems, violence and sexual abuse included, and health problems as well such as environmental racism (e.g., toxic dumps disproportionately located in poor minority communities). However, there obviously is much crossover between the two demographics. Both minorities and women are marginalized. And minority women are marginalized the most. The more marginalized a demographic the more closely the issue of violence crops up. Minority women are more likely to be victims of violence, but going by a brief perusal of the data they are with some categories of violence sometimes more likely also to be the perpetrators. This all goes along with poor people having more untreated addictions and mental health issues because of less access to healthcare and addiction programs, and a million other factors involving stress and trauma. Life can massively suck if you are poor and, if you are a poor minority women, it can be worse than anything most others could ever imagine.

I remember growing up in South Carolina during the 1980s and 1990s. It was far from uncommon to see black parents, typically mothers and of the lower class, hit their kids and yell at them. That is just anecdotal evidence, but some data shows there is higher rates of such things as child abuse among that demographic, as among any other demographic of greater poverty. It can’t be doubted that poverty, especially in a high inequality and racist society, is a harsh and unhappy condition. It’s hard to know what to think about abuse in that kind of situation. A hard life tends to make people hard, sad as that may sound. Also, there is fear among poor minority parents that if they don’t forcefully get their children in line, the consequences could be much worse when their kids aren’t given the benefit of the doubt by dangerous authority figures such as cops. It isn’t an excuse for child abuse, but it is what it is.

One of the issues I’ve been returning to over the years is gender and violence. What is the actual data on the gender gap of violence? Besides commonly repeated statistics, I really didn’t know what to expect when I first began researching it. But it immediately became apparent that the issue would be a challenge to make sense of. For some reason, extensively detailed data hasn’t been kept about gender and violence, especially not about women as perpetrators. It has been assumed men commit most of the violence, and so apparently most of the data-gathering and studies have focused on male victimizers and female victims. Male victims have been wary about coming forward and often dismissed when they do come forward. And female victimizers (along with female criminals in general) are prosecuted less often and less harshly than men, since they are often perceived as mentally ill (or whatever) rather than personally responsible and legally culpable. We don’t have a good way to make clear comparisons, but there is beginning to be better data that is showing up.

Men are the main culprits in most categories of violence, in how the criminal system operates and the data is kept. But even ignoring the complications of limited reporting and prosecution, women still don’t have a lot to be proud of — particularly when it comes to the surprising rates of women committing child abuse, child neglect, and child homicide. Partly, if one wishes to make excuses for bad behavior, this can be explained by the fact that women spend more time alone with children and so simply have more opportunity. As always, there is more violence committed by all involved than should exist. I wonder what would be the feminist critique of the high rates of women abusing children, especially boys. I’m not a feminist. I don’t tend to put victimization and suffering into the categories of identity politics. But for the most vocal feminists I come across online, identity politics are recruited to explain so much.

Feminists refer to abuse data all the time, and for good reason. Violence tends to be directed toward the disadvantaged, which in many cases in our society means women. Still, if you are a poor under-educated minority boy, you might not feel much male privilege compared to the middle class college-educated white feminist. In identity politics, it easily becomes a contest about whose victimization is bigger and whose suffering is more worthy, a pointless game to play but such is human nature. For my purposes, I was initially and have been primarily interested in what the data might show, without any clear expectations or preconceptions. Yes, I was already aware that women in general experience much rape, spousal abuse, and other similar atrocities — not something I was ever questioning or doubting. That data taken alone can’t be debated for it points to an unhappy truth, which explains the defensiveness of the “Not All Men” meme.

But as far as that goes, neither are all women the same, for the experience of a wealthier white woman is not the same as that of a poor minority woman. So, what about situations where women are at more or less of a disadvantage? Is violence specifically and necessarily about masculinity, either as biology or patriarchy? Or is violence simply about the power and opportunity to do so? And why are wealthier white women given a greater voice about victimization even though it is poor minority women who are more likely to be abused, raped, etc? Heck, even poor black males are more likely to experience oppression and maltreatment than wealthier white women. If the police show up to a scene involving a middle-to-upper class white woman and a lower class black male, which one is more likely to be harassed, arrested, or shot (no matter which party is guilty)?

* * *

There are those trying to command and shame others to listen. Too many people wanting to be heard and too few willing to listen. One might suggest that the best way to get people to listen is by modeling the behavior in listening to others, an admittedly difficult task when so many people feel silenced and are struggling to be heard.

Feminism isn’t or shouldn’t be limited to women and their victimization, as strange as that might initially sound. Patriarchy, paternalism, male violence, etc effects men as much as women. Actually, men probably experience violence of the patriarchy more than women. War zones, prisons, and homeless camps are filled with the male victims of a cruelly unjust society that has been supported and promoted by privileged women as much as privileged men.

It’s about our inability to think or discuss anything with complexity. As with racism, there is always more going on. A major factor with racism is skin tone bias, even blacks being racist against darker-skinned blacks (i.e., blacks who are stereotypically blacker) along with whites being racist against darker-skinned whites such as the historical prejudice against swarthy Americans of southern European ethnicity, such that racism is so pervasive that it crosses the color line. Blacks, as research shows, internalize racism. And likewise, women internalize patriarchy. What about boys who are abused and told to toughen up by mothers, female teachers, and other female authority figures in a patriarchy in order to raise these boys with patriarchal values? What about boys who are shamed by sisters, girlfriends, and wives to go off to war and do other horrific acts? Then who is the oppressor and who the oppressed? When women often have the most direct and everyday influence in instilling values in young children, why is it that patriarchy continues to be learned by each new generation long before kids enter the larger world ruled by men? When each generation is victimized and enculturated into the victimization cycle, there are too few innocent people left untraumatized and without dysfunction. Innocence is hard to find and complicity is near unavoidable. No matter how much we struggle against it, we all get caught up the social order we are born into.

Complaining about people who say not all men are rapists, abusers, misognynists, etc is pointless and counterproductive. Most importantly, stating “not all men” is simply pointing out a fact. It is true that not all men or even most men are those things, even though at the same time more men are those things than is good for society. No one should ever complain, though, about someone pointing out an obvious truth. I’d add that not all women (fill in the blank) either, but some are. As with men, women are part of this same patriarchal society. It’s like complaining about a white person who says that not all white people are racists, bigots, white supremacists, and Klansmen. It is true, even as we all carry unconscious prejudices. I’m willing to bet that research would also show that most women, in our society, harbor gender bias against women. Not all men are male chauvinists, just as not all women are angry feminists and not all feminists are privileged activists. Nor are all feminists misandrists and dogmatic ideologues. Not all feminists seek to shut down open dialogue through thought police dismissals of men who dare to point out the obvious fact about “not all men”. And as not all women are feminists of whatever variety, not all feminists are women.

If you dismiss others, that will predispose people to dismiss you. If you listen to others, that will predispose people to listen to you. It is basic psychology. It is also a corollary to the Golden Rule. You do unto others as you’d like them to do unto you because it is a worthy moral guide to action, but also because it is pragmatic way to get beneficial results. I despise anything that closes down fair debate and open dialogue. It’s one thing to call someone names, but it’s another thing to tell someone what they can and cannot say. If you call me a name, I can argue about whether the label is accurate and we can discuss that. But if you simply refuse to acknowledge my position at all and dismiss me based on assumptions you make about me, that is problematic for all involved… and it is extremely irritating. It doesn’t encourage me to respond with sympathy, when I receive none. Why should I submit myself to your cause? Sure, in your own private space and in your own private meetings, you can argue about having a safe space where you choose who is invited in and who is allowed to say what. But don’t pull that bullshit in open discussions on the internet or in public forums.

It derails conversations by alleging others are derailing conversations. Oddly and sadly, some assume conversations can only be one way and controlled by one person or one group. Others go with the more traditional notion that conversations happen as a dialogue between and inclusive of two or more parties. Telling people to “shut up” about anything isn’t an invitation to dialogue or even a request for them to listen. It is blatant dismissal, a rude condescension, treating the other the way a short-tempered parent would a child. It isn’t seeking mutual respect and understanding, that is for sure. It is a command to be submissive and do as told.

This makes people feel unwelcome and uninterested in participating. This is the perfect recipe for making feminism irrelevant to most of the population. The average American isn’t interested in being shamed and bullied, no matter the claims of good intentions, higher purpose, and greater cause. It’s not that such things as public shaming aren’t sometimes necessary tools, but we must keep in mind that they are powerful and easily abused. Authoritarians will always be better at using shame than liberals. Consider how public shame, often with a focus on sexual issues, was used to attack the political left during the Cold War. And consider how false sexual accusations have destroyed numerous lives, such as the daycare fiasco that led to a number of innocent people being sent to prison for several years. Guilty until proven innocent is no way to promote morality and justice, much less democracy and freedom from oppression.

None of this is to claim that there aren’t men who are dangerous. My basic point is that we need to take these problems even more seriously by looking at them more carefully and fully, without fearing what we might see when looking in the mirror of our society. Too many women, like too many men, seem reluctant to honestly confront these problems. Those trying to over-generalize and blame a single demographic are part of the problem, not part of the solution. By default, they are codependently rationalizing away the wrongdoing of those they identify with and making excuses for the systemic moral failure of our society. This is a collective problem, far beyond being limited to one population or sector. That is probably what scares people so much. Scapegoating is easier than taking social responsibility that would require that we acknowledge that, as members of this society, we are all complicit.

We need to be as concerned with the rights and well being of others as we are for our own rights and well being. Mutual concern and compassion leads to mutual respect and understanding, mutual trust and cooperation, mutual support and alliance. There is strength in numbers, when seeking larger changes. Why do some self-righteous activists want to divide their own supporters and potential supporters? Isn’t divide and conquer usually a technique used by one’s enemies, rather than promoted from within a movement itself? Let us place justice for all above identity politics for some. If that means we have to go through a difficult phase of social conflict, public shaming, moral outrage, etc, then so be it. But instead of stopping short, we would make sure to push it as far as it can go, until full justice is attained. None of us will remain untouched by the changes that will follow.

* * *

The following are some of the sources for my thinking. I’ll begin with some of what I consider to be obvious observations about the “Not All Men” meme. Below that, there is much fascinating data about race and gender in terms of social forces and the legal system, victims and victimizers, etc. Much of the info is about what data we so far have about female perpetrators of child maltreatment.

Comment by rj paré

I would say that any complaint generalizing all of a given gender, or a particular ethnicity, faith or orientation is flawed to begin with. I don’t think anyone who points that out is ever saying that the particular complaint never happens – just that it is always wrong to paint with broad strokes.

Not All Feminists

There you are, explaining how we could simplify airport screening procedures by using racial profiling, and suddenly-

Not all Arabs!

Or you and your friends are just making some really good progress on figuring out the racial origins of our society’s crime and unemployment problems when-

Not all Blacks!

Then you think you can at least have a conversation about how women with a massive sense self importance and entitlement end up shifting everything into gender war terms when-

Not all Feminists!

It’s almost like you can’t sit around making generalizations about groups you don’t like without someone showing up to introduce a qualifier? If reasoned discourse doesn’t exist in order for us to draw massive negative generalizations about groups of people we don’t like, what exactly is it for?

Comment section of #YesAllWomen

ou812 writes:

Phil, how do you respond to people who say “Not all Muslims are terrorists” after a suicide bombing?

Matt W writes:

“Fourth—and this is important, so listen carefully—when a woman is walking down the street, or on a blind date, or, yes, in an elevator alone, she doesn’t know which group you’re in.”

Hence, group stereotyping is a useful practice that has gotten much undeserved bad press. The HBD folks will be thrilled that we’ve come around on this.

My only point is that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. If you support sex-stereotyping, then you’ve gone and supported other stereotyping as well, such as racial. See a black guy, cross the street. You don’t know which group of black guys he is in, after all.

I don’t deny, stereotyping is useful. We should just stop berating everyone for doing it in ways we don’t approve of.

wc4 writes:

I have a little food for thought. When Westboro Baptist started receiving remarkable attention for its activities, Christianity almost in its entirety stepped back and marginalized (at least in my humble observation) them with little more than finger-pointing and “not all Christians are like that” allegory. We already knew that; this wasn’t the latest breaking news story. However, it seemed to work. That’s the important aspect. Christians pushed away and shunned their most deplorable effectively, simply by getting together openly and candidly, and saying, “No, we will NOT be THAT.”

So, I’m compelled to posit these questions. What happens when, in the midst of this immense and pivotal gender conflict, a bloody million men get up and marginalize misogynists and misogyny? Is it not possible that the “not all men” phenomenon as a demand of men by men that we will NOT be THAT, as well as a reassurance to women, no matter how weak?

I choose to speak up primarily because I really, genuinely want to see something constructive come out of the conflict. It’s the only way the conflict ever really ends with all parties on equal footing. That M&M analogy is remarkable and profound, and should disseminate with reckless abandon. However, it doesn’t tell me – an anti-misogynistic male – how to help you get what you want and need. When I look at a woman, I see a human being, an individual, and my equal; and that’s not enough for me either, as not enough men see the same. So, I offer the perspective that allows this “movement” to be a demand as well. I offer it in hopes that, even if I’m completely, mind-bogglingly wrong, something constructive will come of it.

Alf Fass writes:

“Why is it not helpful to say “not all men are like that”? For lots of reasons. For one, women know this. They already know not every man is a rapist, or a murderer, or violent. They don’t need you to tell them.”

As I read the argument Phil makes he’s saying “sure, not all men are rapists, but there is a group of women who think that all men are potential rapists”

Such women I think are equivalent to people who think “sure not all black men are muggers, but all black men are potential muggers”

People who think that way are respectively sexists and racists.

Colin Robinson writes:

40 years ago, Susan Brownmiller published her influential book “Against our Will: Men, Women and Rape”. There she described rape as “a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear”. Note the words “all men”.

Still today, she quotes that statement on her website.

I’d agree that it shouldn’t be necessary to say “not all men”. Unfortunately, because of feminists like Brownmiller, it is necessary.

Young Mice, Like Children, Can Grow Up Too Fast
by Alison Gopnik, WSJ (see To Grow Up Fast)

In the new experiment, published in 2015 in the same journal, the researchers looked at how the young mice reacted to early stress. Some of the mice were separated from their mothers for 60 or 180 minutes a day, although the youngsters were kept warm and fed just like the other mice. Mice normally get all their care from their mother, so even this brief separation is very stressful.

The stressed mice actually developed more quickly than the secure mice. As adolescents they looked more like adults: They were less exploratory and flexible, and not as good at reversal learning. It seemed that they grew up too fast. And they were distinctive in another way. They were more likely to drink large quantities of ethanol—thus, more vulnerable to the mouse equivalent of alcoholism.

These results fit with an emerging evolutionary approach to early stress. Childhood is a kind of luxury, for mice as well as men, a protected period in which animals can learn, experiment and explore, while caregivers look after their immediate needs.

Early stress may act as a signal to animals that this special period is not a luxury that they can afford—they are in a world where they can’t rely on care. Animals may then adopt a “live fast, die young” strategy, racing to achieve enough adult competence to survive and reproduce, even at the cost of less flexibility, fewer opportunities for learning and more vulnerability to alcohol.

This may be as true for human children as it is for mouse pups. Early life stress is associated with earlier puberty, and a 2013 study by Nim Tottenham and colleagues in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that children who spent their early years in orphanages prematurely developed adultlike circuitry in the parts of the brain that govern fear and anxiety.

Yes, Preschool Teachers Really Do Treat Black And White Children Totally Differently
by Rebecca Klein, Huffington Post

Black children are 3.6 times more likely to receive a suspension in preschool than their white classmates, according to 2013-2014 data from the Department of Education. But, “until now, no research existed to explain why boys or black preschoolers are at greatest risk for expulsion,” Gilliam said on a call with reporters.

According to Gilliam, a teacher’s implicit biases can have a big impact on a child’s future.

“Implicit bias is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can sure see its effects,” Gilliam said. “Implicit biases do not begin with black men and police, they begin with young black boys and their preschool teachers, if not earlier.”

Let Black Kids Just Be Kids
by Rogin Bernstein

George Zimmerman admitted at his 2012 bail hearing that he misjudged Trayvon Martin’s age when he killed him. “I thought he was a little bit younger than I am,” he said, meaning just under 28. But Trayvon was only 17.

What may be most tragic about Mr. Zimmerman’s miscalculation is that it’s widespread. To many people, black boys seem older than they are: In one study, people overestimated their ages by 4.5 years. This contributes to a false perception that black boys are less childlike than white boys.

Black girls are subject to similar beliefs, according to a recent study by the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality. A group of 325 adults viewed black girls as needing less nurturing, support and protection than white girls, and as knowing more about sex and other adult topics.

People of all races see black children as less innocent, more adultlike and more responsible for their actions than their white peers. In turn, normal childhood behavior, like disobedience, tantrums and back talk, is seen as a criminal threat when black kids do it. Social scientists have found that this misperception causes black children to be “pushed out, overpoliced and underprotected,” according to a report by the legal scholar Kimberlé W. Crenshaw.

That’s why we must create a future in which children of color are not disproportionately caught up in the criminal justice system, a world in which a black 17-year-old can wear a hoodie without being assumed to be a criminal.

The Race Factor in Trying Juveniles as Adults
by Jennifer L. Eberhardt & Aneeta Rattan, NYT

But as our society has scrutinized this line between juvenile and adult, there has been little discussion of how race might influence people’s perceptions of juvenile status, despite widespread and substantial racial disparities in juvenile sentencing. Consider Florida, which is the state that had most often assigned juveniles life without parole sentences in cases other than homicide. As of 2009, 84 percent of the juvenile offenders who received this sentence were African-American.

In our own work, we find that race can have a sweeping effect even when people consider the same crime. Prompting people to think of a single black (rather than white) juvenile offender leads them to express greater support for sentencing all juveniles to life without parole when they have committed serious violent crimes. Thinking about a black juvenile offender also makes people imagine that juveniles are closer to adults in their blameworthiness. Remarkably, this was true for both people who were low in prejudice and those who were high in prejudice and for both liberals and conservatives.

Thus, race has the power to dampen our desire to be merciful. This is why race must be considered in discussions about how we protect juveniles and what punishments are deemed appropriate for them. Though often overlooked, perhaps race is key to helping us understand people’s support for punitive policies more generally.

Kids in Prison: Getting Tried as An Adult Depends on Skin Color
by Sarah Gonzalez, WNYC

The WNYC Data News Team went through state records of every person who is currently in a New Jersey prison, and isolated those who were minors on the date they committed their crime. Here’s what we found:

  • At least 152 inmates are still in prison today for crimes they committed as kids in the past five years
  • 93 percent of them are black or Latino
  • The most common crime they committed was robbery
  • 20 percent of them have sentences of 10 or more years
  • 2 are female inmates

Men Sentenced To Longer Prison Terms Than Women For Same Crimes, Study Says
Huffington Post

If you’re a convicted criminal, the best thing you can have going for you might be your gender.

A new study by Sonja Starr, an assistant law professor at the University of Michigan, found that men are given much higher sentences than women convicted of the same crimes in federal court.

The study found that men receive sentences that are 63 percent higher, on average, than their female counterparts.

Starr also found that females arrested for a crime are also significantly more likely to avoid charges and convictions entirely, and twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.

Other research has found evidence of the same gender gap, though Starr asserts that the disparity is actually larger than previously suspected because other studies haven’t looked at the role of plea bargains and other pre-sentencing steps in the criminal justice system.

A 2009 study suggested the difference in sentencing might arise because “judges treat women more leniently for practical reasons, such as their greater caretaking responsibility.”

Past studies have also found that minority men are, on average, given longer prison sentences than white men convicted of the same crimes.

5 Bizarre Realities of Being a Man Who Was Raped by a Woman
Amanda Mannen, Cracked

a 2012 survey of 40,000 households found that a staggering 38 percent of sexual-assault victims were male. Nearly half of those men reported that their attacker was a woman.

Current evidence on sexual abuse by women
from Breaking the last taboo: sexual abuse by female perpetrators
Renee Koonin, South Eastern CASA

While it is essential to work with the most recent available research and not inflate figures through dint of emotion or ideology, it must be remembered that a couple of decades ago, abuse by men was considered rare. At least we have to be open to the possibility that sexual abuse by women may be more prevalent than we currently understand, and hence provide the opportunity for disclosure (Renvoize 1993). Is there any evidence to challenge current thinking on the prevalence of female sexual abusers?

It was courageous women speaking out about their abuse as children that first alerted us to the staggering incidence of sexual victimisation of children. Similarly, adult survivors of sexual abuse by women are coming forward, saying that until now they have felt doubly silenced. After the National Conference on Female Sexual Abuse in London, the radio program, ‘This Morning’ opened a hotline inviting callers to talk about abuse by women. In one day, they received over 1,000 calls, 90 per cent of whom stated they had never told anyone (Elliott 1993). In April 1993, a television program called ‘Unspeakable Acts’, was screened by the BBC. The Broadcasting Support Services Helpline received I60 calls by women abused as children by females immediately after the screening. National self-help groups for survivors of female abuse have been established in America and the United Kingdom. Closer to home, a group for women abused by females in childhood was established after the Incest Confest held in Sydney in July 1992. None of this gives us incidence or prevalence figures, but we are hearing from people who were silent until now.

Claims of sex abuse by women grow
Hannah Richardson, BBC News

Childline’s report did not claim that sexual abuse by women was on the rise.

It instead suggested that, as more boys were tending to call its helpline, more cases were being reported.

Female Perpetrators and Male Victims of Sexual Abuse: Facts and Resources 
Loree Cook‐Daniels, Forge

Of the studies listed, between of 37-53.8% of male children abused by female perpetrators

Sexual Abuse By Women: The Crime No One Wants To Investigate
Anna North, Jezebel

Reliable data on the prevalence of sexual abuse by women is almost impossible to come by. Philby cites one UK abuse hotline, ChildLine — 11% of its callers in 2004 reported being abused by a woman. But women make up only 1% of convicted sex offenders in England and Wales. The picture is just as complicated in the US, according to an article by Lisa Lipshires in Moving Forward Newsjournal. One report found that women were responsible in 20% of US abuse cases between 1973 and 1987, but states report their data differently, and not all divide abusers by gender.

Sharp rise reported in child abuse by women
Sam Marsden, U.K. Independent

New figures show a 132 per cent rise in complaints of female sexual assaults to the helpline service in this period, compared with a 27 per cent increase in reports of abuse by men. […]

The disturbing statistics follow the recent high-profile case of nursery worker Vanessa George, who was a member of an internet paedophile ring along with another woman.

Last year ChildLine heard from 1,311 children who said they had been sexually assaulted by their own mother, representing 61 per cent of all calls about abuse by females.

Research for the helpline found that boys were more likely to say they had been abused by a woman (1,722 cases) than by a man (1,651).

Child Maltreatment 2006
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

In 2006, nearly 80 percent (79.9%) of perpetrators of child maltreatment were parents, and another 6.7 percent were other relatives of the victim. Women comprised a larger percentage of all perpetrators than men, 57.9 percent compared to 42.1 percent. More than 75 percent (77.5%) of all perpetrators were younger than age 40. […]

For FFY 2006, 48.2 percent of child victims were boys, and 51.5 percent of the victims were girls. The youngest children had the highest rate of victimization. […]

Nearly three-quarters of child victims (72.2%) ages birth to 1 year and age group of 1–3 (72.9%) were neglected compared with 55.0 percent of victims ages 16 years and older. For victims in the age group of 4–7 years 15.3 percent were physically abused and 8.2 percent were sexually abused, compared with 20.1 percent and 16.5 percent, respectively, for victims in the age group of 1 2–15 years old. […]

Nearly 83 percent (82.4%) of victims were abused by a parent acting alone or with another person. Approximately, 40 percent (39.9%) of child victims were maltreated by their mothers acting alone; another 17.6 percent were maltreated by their fathers acting alone; and 17.8 percent were abused by both parents. 19 Victims abused by nonparental perpetrators accounted for 10.0 percent (figure 3–5). […]

Three-quarters (75.9%) of child fatalities were caused by one or more parents (figure 4–2). More than one-quarter (27.4%) of fatalities were perpetrated by the mother acting alone. Nonparental perpetrators (e.g., other relative, foster parent, residential facility staff, “other,” and legal guardian) were responsible for 14.7 percent of fatalities. […]

Given the definition of child abuse and neglect, which largely pertains to caregivers, not to persons unknown to a child, most perpetrators of child maltreatment are parents. Also included are relatives, foster parents, and residential facility staff. During Federal fiscal year (FFY) 2006:
■ Nearly 80 percent (79.9%) of perpetrators were parents of the victim;
■ Approximately 60 percent (60.4%) of perpetrators were found to have neglected children; and
Approximately 58 percent (57.9%) of perpetrators were women, and 42 percent (42.1%) of perpetrators were men.

Who abuses children?
Australian Institute of Family Studies

Findings from the ABS Personal Safety Survey (2005) indicated that of participants who had experienced physical abuse before the age of 15, 55.6% experienced abuse from their father/stepfather and 25.9% experienced abuse from their mother/stepmother. A further 13.7% experienced abuse from another known person and the remainder were family friends, other relatives or strangers (ABS, 2005).

A British retrospective prevalence study of 2,869 young adults aged 18-24 (May-Chahal & Cawson, 2005) found that mothers were more likely than fathers to be responsible for physical abuse (49% of incidents compared to 40%). However, part of the difference may be explained by the greater time children spend with their mothers than fathers. Violence was also reported to be perpetrated by stepmothers (3%) or stepfathers (5%), grandparents (3%) and other relatives (1%) (May-Chahal & Cawson, 2005).

Further research shows that when taking issues of severity into consideration, fathers or father surrogates are responsible for more severe physical abuse and fatalities than female perpetrators (US Department of Health and Human Services [US DHHS], 2005). Other researchers such as Daly and Wilson (1999) have argued that biological parents are less likely than step-parents to physically abuse their biological offspring due to their greater investment in the genetic continuity of their family.

Understanding Violence by Women: A Review of the Literature
Correctional Service of Canada

As noted earlier the interpretation of gender differences is difficult in this area because women are more likely to have care of children, often as single mothers, and to spend more time with them. In the US Reiss and Roth (1993) report that infants and small children are more likely to be killed by their mothers than their fathers, in part as a result of the mother’s greater caretaking role. Child deaths are also likely to result from combinations of circumstances and actors eg. an individual parent, both parents, boy-friends, step parents and grandparents, foster parents and babysitters (Greenland 1987). They may result from a single event or an extended history of battering or neglect. In very rare cases they may be identified with severe pathology (eg. the Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome, Schreier & Libow 1993).

A detailed study of deaths from child abuse and neglect in Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA, and of the many problems of research in this field, was undertaken by Greenland (1987). Of the 100 cases examined in Ontario, he found that slightly more women than men were responsible for a child’s death, they tended to be younger than male perpetrators, and the child more likely to die as a result of neglect than abuse. Male perpetrators were more likely to have injured the child physically. In the United Kingdom, among 68 deaths, there was a higher frequency of male perpetrators.

Greenland stresses the variety of circumstances in such deaths and the importance of studying a total population rather than the most extreme cases. In both samples he attributed the largest proportion of deaths to the `battered child syndrome’, followed by child neglect and homicide (ie. a single event not related to a history of abuse). In both countries he also identified baby-sitters and temporary carers as a specific group. Some of the factors associated with high risk children and their parents were also identified. He concluded that the proportion of deaths attributable to mental illness was rare, and that there is an indisputable link between child abuse and neglect deaths, and poverty and family stress in all three countries.

Morris and Wilcznski (1993) in their study of mothers who kill their children report that children under one year of age made up 12% of all deaths in England and Wales in 1989. Most of those children were killed by parents. An analysis of all such cases where the suspect was a parent between 1982 and 1989, a total of 493, indicated that almost half of the children were killed by their mothers. As they underline, this is in marked contrast to other types of homicide where women are usually well outnumbered by men.

What is also evident from the work of Wilcznicki and Morris as well as other writers (eg. Allen, 1987a & b) is the differential way in which such men and women were treated by the courts. Of those originally charged with murder, more than half of the fathers were sentenced to imprisonment, compared with under 10% of the mothers. The great majority of those mothers were subsequently convicted on a lesser charge and received probation or (psychiatric) hospital orders. This was generally on the grounds of diminished responsibility (that at the time of the crime they suffering from an abnormality of the mind). Of those cases where the initial charge was manslaughter, just over half the mothers received a sentence of imprisonment, compared with the majority of the fathers. Thus overall, the criminal justice system in England and Wales is less likely to convict mothers who kill their children for murder, and less likely to sentence them to prison. In the USA the authors suggest, such mothers are more likely to receive a sentence of imprisonment.

Those mothers who do receive a prison sentence tend to be seen as ‘bad’ mothers in contrast to otherwise ‘good’ mothers who were seen to be suffering from some form of personality disorder or depressive illness. Morris and Wilczynski conclude that this tendency to see women’s violent behaviour as unnatural is not in the end helpful to women. Like Greenland (1987) they argue that the reasons mothers may kill their children are ‘many and varied’, and ‘normal’ women can kill their children when they are confronted by social and economic circumstances which are severe enough’ (p. 215). The focus on the pathology of the mother diverts attention away from the poverty and isolation in which such mothers often live and, they argue, their lack of social and economic power in a society which regards all women as natural mothers.

Husain, Anasseril and Harris (1983) in a study of 23 homicidal women admitted for pre-trial psychiatric evaluation found those who had killed a child were much younger than other women. Korbin (1989) in a study of nine women imprisoned for killing their child suggests that the deaths followed a pattern of abuse of the child, that the women had provided warning signals to professionals, family members and neighbours after previous incidents, and had rationalized and minimized the abuse to themselves. Her work confirms that of other researchers in the field in highlighting the `plethora of adverse conditions and risk factors’ in the life histories and current circumstances of the women, including their own histories of abuse. On the basis of other work in the field (eg. Daro 1987; Fontana & Alfaro 1987) she suggests that prediction of such fatal incidents may be impossible, but that intervention and education should be directed beyond individual families to community networks which can support them, and research, at the circumstances leading to such events.

Child sexual abuse

“Research attention is now being directed towards women who sexually abuse children.”[4] It is not uncommon for a male who has been sexually abused by a woman in his youth to receive positive or neutral reactions when he tells people about the abuse.[5] Males and females sexually abused by male offenders, on the other hand, are more readily believed.[6]

According to a study done by Cortoni and Hanson in 2005, 4-5% of all recorded sexual abuse victims were abused by female offenders.[6] However, the Cortoni study numbers don’t match the official statistics by The United States Department of Justice which found a rate of 8.3% for “Other sexual offenses” for females and The Australian Bureau of Statistics found a rate of 7.9% for “Sexual assault and related offences” for females.[citation needed]

Other studies have found rates to be much higher. For example:

In a study of 17,337 survivors of childhood sexual abuse, 23% had a female-only perpetrator and 22% had both male and female perpetrators.[7]

The sexual abuse of children by women, primarily mothers, constituted 25% (approximately 36 000 children) of the sexually abused victims. This statistic is thought to be underestimated due to the tendency of non-disclosure by victims.[8]

According to a major 2004 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education – In studies that ask students about offenders, sex differences are less than in adult reports. The 2000 American Association of University Women (AAUW) data indicate that 57.2 percent of all students report a male offender and 42.4 percent a female offender with the Cameron et al. study reporting nearly identical proportions as the 2000 AAUW data (57 percent male offenders vs. 43 percent female offenders).[9]

Some have even suggested that a greater degree of child molesters are female, estimating as many as 63% of sex abusers may be female.[10]

According to a 2011 CDC report there are an estimated 4,403,010 female victims of sexual violence that had a female perpetrator.[11]

[Criminology] Review: Sexual Abuse of Children (by Women)
J. H. Nomer


  • Accounting for self-reports bring the victimization rates to an alarming 58% (Kramer, 2011 & 2012).
  • In 1992, a hotline program hosted by the British children’s charity Kidscape, it was discovered that 90% of the victims of female rapists had never reported their abuse to anyone, making it the most under-reported crime of all time. The majority of the callers were women. (Elliot, 1994).
  • Women committed at least 25% of all child sexual abuse in the U.K — an estimated 250,000 children were victimized by women in the with 86% of their victims being met with disbelief when attempting to report (Elliot, 1994).
  • BBC1 broadcasted the documentary, “The Ultimate Taboo: Child Sexual Abuse by Women” in 1994. The sheer cruelty and sadism of female rapists portrayed was, at that time, beyond belief.
  • In 1996, a national report published by U.S Department of Health and Human Services found women perpetrated 28% of child sexual abuse. Similar examinations were also reported by Health Canada (Mathews, 1996).
  • “The sexual abuse of children by women, primarily mothers, once thought to be so rare it could be ignored, constituted at least 25% of the sexually abused victims. This statistic is thought to be underestimated due to the tendency of non-disclosure by victims.” (Boroughs, 2004).
  • In 2004, the U.S Department of Education (USDE) compiled known studies of educator sexual misconduct to find at least 43% of the perpetrators were women.
  • In a large-scale school survey in South Africa, 41% reported a female perpetrator while 27% reported both male and female perpetrators (Andersson, et al, 2008).
  • In the majority of cases, women who sexually abuse children, do so completely alone (O’Connor, 1987; Kalders, et al, 1997 & Aylward, 2002). The Correctional Service of Canada (CCS) reports similar findings in their 2008 case study.
  • Arrest report data are meaningless, as female rapists are generally either not arrested, not prosecuted or not sentenced to jail time (Finkelhor, et al, 1988; Vandiver, et al, 2006). A British Home Office study, found that the average sentence length for sex crimes for males was 41.2 months. This was twice the sentence length for females, averaging 22.2 months (Grey, et al, 2001). Feminist criminologists reported similar discrimination in sentencing (Embry, et al, 2012).
  • In cases that do result in incarceration, female rapists were not required to seek sexual deviance treatment (Aylward, et al, 2002).
  • Female offenders do not have an unusually high rate of mental illness (Faller, 1987; Saradjian, 1996).
  • It’s also important to note that in cases involving those who do have diagnosable psychiatric illnesses, it cannot be automatically concluded that this caused their offense. (Faller, 1995) reports that out of 23 women, who were coded as being mentally ill, only 3 showed that mental illness was related to offending behaviour.
  • Sexual sadism is unusually high among female perpetrators (Fedoroff, et al, 1999). (Kelley, et al, 1993) investigated sexual abuse of children in day care centers and found female pedophiles often forced children into watching them rape other children. (Kaufman, et al, 1995) reports women often used foreign objects to penetrate their victims. (Aylward, et al, 2002) reports female pedophiles were more likely to have the child engage in sexual behavior with another adult while they watched. (Wiegel, 2009) compared women who molested children, to women with other sexual deviances and reported that the women child molesters abused multiple children.
  • The First National Conference on Female Sexual Abuse, hosted by Kidscape founder Michelle Elliot, was violently disrupted by feminists in an attempt to block their discussions (Elliot, 1994). Feminist organizations continue to attack researchers who refuse to conform to biased scales of “patriarchal dominance”. Funds acquired for the “welfare of women” are instead funneled into extremism.
  • Feminist pedophiles. “The validity of three assumptions about self-esteem, sex-role identity, and feminism in female offenders was empirically investigated in a study of 73 women awaiting trial (ATU) in Massachusetts. ATU and a comparison group of women were administered several paper-and-pencil questionnaires measuring self-esteem, personal autonomy, psychological masculinity and femininity, and feminism. Despite age and educational differences, ATU women were similar to non-offender women. The results did not support assumptions regarding low self-esteem and increased masculinity in female offenders. The third assumption about feminism in young female offenders received slight support.” (Widom, 1979).


  1. Beck, A. J., Cantor, D., Hartge, J. & Smith, T. Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth 2012. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report. NCJ 241708.
  2. Hayes, S. L., & Carpenter, B. J. (2013). Social moralities and discursive constructions of female sex offenders. Sexualities, 16(1/2), 159-179.
  3. Koller, J. (2013). The ecological fallacy (Dutton 1994) revised. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 5(3).
  4. Turton, J. (2013). Betrayal of trust: Victims of maternal incest. In Participation, Citizenship and Trust in Children’s Lives (pp. 73-92). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  5. Brayford, J. (2012). Female sexual offending: An impermissible crime. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 14(3), 212-224. doi:10.1057/cpcs.2012.5.
  6. Embry, R., & Lyons Jr., P. M. (2012). Sex-based sentencing: sentencing discrepancies between male and female sex offenders. Feminist Criminology, 7(2), 146-162.
  7. Kramer, S. (2012). On becoming a victim: Power, gender and sexuality in the production of victims of South African female sex abuse. Paper presented at the Taking Victim Rights Forward national conference, St. Georges, SA.
  8. Landor, R. & Eisenchlas, S. (2012). “Coming Clean” on duty of care: Australian print media’s representation of male versus female sex offenders in institutional contexts. Sexuality & Culture, 1-17.
  9. McLeod, D.A. (2012). Assessing the Impact of Primary Perpetrator Gender In Substantiated CPS Child Sexual Assault Cases: A Secondary Data Analysis of the NCANDS Child FileFFY 2009. Society for Social Work and Research:Annual Conference, Washington, DC. Oral Paper Presentation.
  10. Plumm, K. M., Nelson, K. D. & Terrance, C. A. (2012). A crime by any other name: Effects of media reporting on perceptions of sex offenses. Journal of Media Psychology, 17(1).
  11. Smith, B. V. (2012). Uncomfortable places, close spaces: Female correctional workers’ sexual interactions with men and boys in custody. UCLA Law Review, 59(6), 1691-1745.
  12. Solis, O. L. & Benedek, E. P. (2012). Female sexual offenders in the educational system: A brief overview. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 76(2), 172-188. doi:10.1521/bumc.2012.76.2.17.
  13. Tewksbury, R., Mustaine, E. E. & Payne, B. K. (2012). Community corrections professionals’ attitudes about sex offenders: Is the CATSO applicable? Criminal Justice Studies: A Critical Journal of Crime, Law and Society, 25(2), 145-157. doi:10.1080/1478601X.2012.699733.
  14. Tsopelas, C., Tsetsou, S., Ntounas, P. & Douzenis, A. (2012). Female perpetrators of sexual abuse of minors: What are the consequences for the victims?International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 35(4), 305-310. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2012.04.003.
  15. Van Arsdale, A. (2012). Is adolescent female sex offending a true paradox? A comparative study of gender differences in sex offending and delinquency.
  16. Bexson, L. (2011). The ultimate betrayal female child sex offenders: An exploration of theories, media representations and the role of the internet in relations to female perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Nottingham Trent University.
  17. Bullock, C. & Beckson, M. (2011). Male victims of sexual assault: Phenomenology, psychology, physiology. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 39(2), 197-205.
  18. Book, L. (2011). It’s ok to tell: A story of hope and recovery. Prospecta Press.
  19. Elliott, I. A. & Ashfield, S. (2011). The use of online technology in the modus operandi of female sex offenders. Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice.
  20. Eher, R., Miner, M. H., Pfafflin, F. & Boer, D. P. (2011). International perspectives on the assessment and treatment of sexual offenders: Theory, practice and research. New York: Wiley.
  21. Gakhal, B. & Brown, S. J. (2011). A comparison of the general public’s, forensic professionals’ and students’ attitudes towards female sex offenders. Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice, doi:10.1080/13552600.2010.540678.
  22. Getz, L. (2011, March & April). Male survivors of childhood sexual abuse — looking through a gendered lens. Social Work Today, 11(2), 20.
  23. Gibbons, N. (2011). Why gender matters in child welfare and protection. A Presentation to the NUIG Gender and Child Welfare Conference.
  24. Hackett, M. (2011). Commentary: Female forensic worker sexual misconduct — who is the captive? The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 39(2), 166-169.
  25. Hatchard, C. (2011). Who Will Love Me? Four Stories of Mother-Daughter Sexual Abuse. Available from
  26. Kramer, S. (2011). Truth, gender and the female psyche: ‘confessions’ from female sexual offenders. Psychology of Women Section, 13(1).
  27. Kramer, S. & Bowman, B. (2011). Accounting for the ‘invisibility’ of the female pedophile: an expert-based perspective from South Africa. Psychology & Sexuality.
  28. Prentky, R. A., Lamade, R. & Coward, A. (2011). Sex offender research in a forensic context. Research methods in forensic psychology (pp. 372-399). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.
  29. Sandler, J. & Freeman, N. J. (2011). Female sex offenders and the criminal justice system: A comparison of arrests and outcomes. Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice, 17(1), 61-76. doi:10.1080/13552600.2010.537380.
  30. Tsopelas, C., Spyridoula, T. & Athanasios, D. (2011). Review on female sexual offenders: Findings about profile and personality. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 34(2), 122-126. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2011.02.006.
  31. Vess, J. (2011). Risk assessment with female sex offenders: Can women meet the criteria of community protection laws? Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice, 17(1), 77-91. doi:10.1080/13552600.2010.528844.
  32. Weedon, V. (2011). Girls 101: Psychosocial and Clinical Characteristics of Girls (10-17 years) with Harmful Sexual Behaviours in New Zealand. Massey University, Albany New Zealand.
  33. Beck, A. J., Harrison, P. M., & Guerino, P. (2010). Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth 2008-2009. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report. NCJ 228416.
  34. Belshaw, S. H. (2010). Book Review: Gibson C. & Vandiver, D. M. (2008). Juvenile Sex Offenders: What the Public Needs to Know. Westport, CT: Praeger Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 8, 86-88.
  35. Brents, B. G. (2010) Sex As Crime? Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews 39, 58-59.
  36. Cromer, L. & Goldsmith, R. E. (2010). Child Sexual Abuse Myths: Attitudes, Beliefs, and Individual Differences. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 19(6), 618-647.
  37. Crouch, H.(2010). Female Sex Offenders and Pedophiles. Special. California Men’s Centers.
  38. Duncan, K. (2010). Female Sexual Predators: Understanding Them to Protect Our Children and Youths. Connecticut: Praeger.
  39. Edelson, M. G. & Joa, D. (2010). Differences in Legal Outcomes for Male and Female Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused.
  40. Elliott, I. A., Eldridge, H. J., Ashfield, S. & Beech, A. R. (2010). Exploring Risk: Potential Static, Dynamic, Protective and Treatment Factors in the Clinical Histories of Female Sex Offenders. Journal of Family Violence, 25(6), 595-602.
  41. Head, A. (2010). Vanessa George: exploring broadsheet and tabloid newspaper representation of a female sex offender. University of Portsmouth.
  42. Knoll, J. (2010). Teacher Sexual Misconduct: Grooming Patterns and Female Offenders. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 19(4), 371-386.
  43. Kramer, S. (2010). Discourse and power in the self-perceptions of incarcerated South African female sexual offenders. University of the Witwatersrand
  44. Lam, A., Mitchell, J. & Seto, M. C. (2010). Lay Perceptions of Child Pornography Offenders. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 52(2), 173-201.
  45. Martellozzo, E., Nehring, D. & Taylor, H. (2010). Online child sexual abuse by female offenders: An exploratory study. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 4, 592-609.
  46. Mellor, D. & Deering, R. (2010). Professional response and attitudes toward female-perpetrated child sexual abuse: a study of psychologists, psychiatrists, probationary psychologists and child protection workers. Psychology, Crime & Law, 16(5), 415-438.
  47. Pflugradt, D. M. & Allen, B. P. (2010). An Exploratory Analysis of Executive Functioning for Female Sexual Offenders: A Comparison of Characteristics Across Offense Typologies. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 19(4), 434-449.
  48. Pozzulo, J. D., Dempsey, J., Maeder, E. & Allen, L. (2010). The Effects of Victim Gender, Defendant Gender, and Defendant Age on Juror Decision Making. Criminal Justice and Behavior 37, 47-63.
  49. Schweigert, K. (2010). The Effect of Gender on Perpetration Characteristics and Empathy for Juvenile Sex Offenders.
  50. Turton, J. (2010). Female sexual abusers: Assessing the risk. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 38(4), 279-293.
  51. Turton, J. (2010). Child Abuse, Gender and Society. New York: Routledge.
  52. Turton, J. (2010). Maternal Abusers: Underlying concerns for children.
  53. Whelan, C., Farr, C. & Hammond, S. (2010). Evaluation and validation of the revised Thorne Sex Inventory: implications for female sexual offenders. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 21(5), 721-736. doi:10.1080/14789941003668293
  54. Abel, G. & Wiegel, M. (2009). Visual reaction time: Development, theory, empirical evidence, and beyond. Sex offenders: Identification, risk assessment, treatment, and legal issues (pp. 110-113). USA: Oxford University Press.
  55. Beech, A. R., Parrett, N., Ward, T. & Fisher, D. (2009). Assessing female sexual offenders’ motivations and cognitions: an exploratory study. Psychology, Crime & Law, 15, 201-216.
  56. Brand, J. (2009). The best kept secret: Mother-daughter sexual abuse. Caper Consulting.
  57. Gamez-Guadix, M. & Straus, M. A. (2009). Childhood and adolescent victimization and sexual coercion and assault by male and female university students. Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire, Dunham, NH 03824.
  58. Deering, R. & Mellor, D. (2009). Sentencing of male and female child sex offenders : Australian study, Psychiatry, psychology and law, 16(3), 394-412.
  59. Gavin, H. (2009). Mummy wouldn’t do that: the perception and construction of the female child sex abuser. In: Evil, Women and the Feminine, 1-3 May 2009, Budapest, Hungary.
  60. Higgins, C. & Ireland, C. (2009). Attitudes towards male and female sex offenders: a comparison of forensic staff, prison officers and the general public in Northern Ireland. The British Journal of Forensic Practice, 11(1), 14-19.
  61. Johansson-Love, J. & Fremouw, W. (2009) Female Sex Offenders: A Controlled Comparison of Offender and Victim/Crime Characteristics. Journal of Family Violence, 24, 367-376.
  62. Lambert, S. & Hammond, S. (2009). Perspectives on Female Sexual Offending in an Irish Context. Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies, 1(9).
  63. Levine, K. L. (2009) When Gender Meets Sex: An Exploratory Study of Women Who Seduce Adolescent Boys. William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law, 15(2).
  64. Mariathasan, J. (2009) More children telling Childline about female sex abusersChildline, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
  65. McCartan, L. M. & Gunnison, E. (2009). Individual and Relationship Factors That Differentiate Female Offenders With and Without a Sexual Abuse History. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
  66. Miller, H. A., Turner, K. & Henderson, C. E. (2009) Psychopathology of Sex Offenders: A Comparison of Males and Females Using Latent Profile Analysis. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 36: 778-792.
  67. Porter, T. (2009). Women as molesters; implications for society.
  68. Wiegel, M. (2009) Adult Women Who Sexually Abuse Minors: self-reported characteristics and objectively measured sexual interest. Paper presented at 11th Annual Joint Conference, MASOC/MATSA, Marlborough, Massachusetts.
  69. Alaggia, R. & Millington, G. (2008). Male child sexual abuse: A phenomenology of betrayal. Journal of Clinical Social Work, 36, 265-275.
  70. Andersson, N. & Ho-Foster, A. (2008). 13,915 reasons for equity in sexual offences legislation: A national school-based survey in South Africa. International Journal for Equity in Health, 7(20), 1-6.
  71. Bader, S. M., Scalora, M. J., Casady, T. K. & Black, S. (2008). Female sexual abuse and criminal justice intervention: A comparison of child protective service and criminal justice samples. Child Abuse & Neglect, 32(1), 111-119.
  72. Belanger, S. (2008) Characteristics and reactions of sexual victimization of adolescent male sexual abusers by female perpetrators. Smith College School of Social Work.
  73. Broom, R. (2008). Female perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Norwich: Social Work Monographs, University of East Anglia.
  74. Correctional Service of Canada. (2008). Female Sex Offenders in the Correctional Service of Canada. Case Studies.
  75. Fanetti, M., Kobayashi, I. & Mitchell, DW. (2008). The effects of gender on decisions of guilt in cases of alleged child sexual abuse. American Journal of Forensic Psychology 26 (4) 31-40.
  76. Fromuth, M. E. & Holt, A. R. (2008). Perception of teacher sexual misconduct by age of student. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 17(2), 163-179.
  77. Gannon, T. A. & Rose, M. R. (2008). Female child sexual offenders: Towards, integrating theory and practice. Aggression and Violent Behaviour, 21, 194-207.
  78. Humphrey, E. (2008). Female sex offenders; exposing the myth. University of Portsmouth.
  79. Johansson-Love, J. and Fremouw, W. (2008). Female Sexual Perpetrators: Is It More Than Just a Gender Difference? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychology Law Society, Hyatt Regency, Jacksonville Riverfront, FL.
  80. Lambert, S. (2008). Issues in female sexual offending. University College Cork.
  81. Lambert, S. & O’Halloran, E. (2008). Deductive thematic analysis of a female paedophilia website. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 15(2), 284-300.
  82. Lawson, L. (2008). Female Sex Offenders’ Relationship Experiences. Violence and Victims, 23(3), 331-343.
  83. Logan, C. (2008). Sexual Deviance in Females: Psychopathology and Theory. In D. Laws & W. Donohue (Eds.), Sexual Deviance, Second Edition: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment, (pp. 486-507). New York: The Guilford Press.
  84. Matravers, A. (2008). Understanding women who commit sex offences. In G. Letherby, K. Williams, P. Birch, & M. Cain (Eds.), Sex as crime? (pp. 299-320). Devon: William Publishing.
  85. Peter, T. (2008). Speaking About the Unspeakable. Exploring the Impact of Mother-Daughter Sexual Abuse. Violence Against Women, 9, 1033-1053.
  86. Saewyc, E. M., MacKay, L. J., Anderson, J. & Drozda, C. (2008). It’s not what you think: Sexually exploited youth in British Columbia. Vancouver: University of British Columbia School of Nursing.
  87. Seigfried, K. C., Lovely, R. W. & Rogers, M. K. (2008). Self-reported online child pornography behavior: A psychological analysis. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 2(1), 286-297.
  88. Simons, D., Heil, P., Burton, D. & Gursky, M. (2008). Developmental and offense histories of female sexual offenders. Presented at 27th ATSAAtlanta GA October 2008.
  89. Strickland, S. (2008). Female Sex Offenders: Exploring Issues of Personality, Trauma, and Cognitive Distortions. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23, 474-489.
  90. Teichner, L. A. (2008) Unusual Suspects: Recognizing and Responding to Female Staff Perpetrators of Sexual Misconduct in U.S. Prisons. Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, 14, 259.
  91. Turner, K. (2008). A latent profile analysis of the PAI scores of female sex offenders: Implications for assessment and treatment. Sam Houston State University.
  92. Turner, K., Miller, H. A. & Henderson, C. E. (2008). Latent Profile Analyses of Offense and Personality Characteristics in a Sample of Incarcerated Female Sexual Offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35: 879-894.
  93. Bennett, A. (2007). Assessing the implicit theories and motivations of rapists, child molesters, and mixed sexual offenders. University of British Columbia.
  94. Brand, J. (2007). A Mother’s Touch. Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing.
  95. Bunting, L. (2007). Dealing with a Problem That Doesn’t Exist?: Professional Responses to Female Perpetrated Child Sexual Abuse. Child Abuse Review, 16(4), 252-267.
  96. Deering, R. & Mellor, D. (2007) Female-Perpetrated Child Sex Abuse: Definitional and Categorisational Analysis, Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 14(2), 218-226.
  97. Fintel, T. R. (2007). Demonstrating the criterion-related validity of the Multiphasic sex inventory (adult female form): a comparison of adult female sex offenders and female non-sex offenders. University of Louisville.
  98. Frei, A. (2007). Media considerations of female sex offenders: a content analysis of US new paper reporting from 1975-2006. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, Georgia.
  99. Graham, A. (2007). Simply sexual: The discrepancy in treatment between male and female sex offenders. Whittier Journal of Child & Family Advocacy, 0, 145.
  100. Hidalgo, M. L. (2007).Sexual Abuse and the Culture of Catholicism : How Priests and Nuns Become Perpetrators. New York: Routledge.
  101. Jackson, S. (2007). Female Sex Offenders: A new challenge for the criminal justice system. California State University, Long Beach.
  102. Johansson-Love, J. (2007). A 2×2 comparison of offender and gender; what characteristics do female sex offenders have in common with other offender groups? West Virginia University.
  103. Moulden, H. M., Firestone, P. & Wexler, A. F. (2007). Child Care Providers who commit sexual offenses: A description of offender, offense and victim characteristics. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 51(4), 384-406.
  104. Oliver, B. E. (2007) Preventing Female-Perpetrated Sexual Abuse. Trauma Violence Abuse, 8. 19-32.
  105. Rumney, P. (2007). In Defence of Gender Neutrality Within Rape. Seattle Journal of Social Justice, 6, 481.Giguere, R. & Bumby, K. (2007). Female sex offenders. Center for Sex Offender Management, USA.
  106. Sandler, J. C. & Freeman, N. J. (2007). Topology of Female Sex Offenders: A Test of Vandiver and Kercher. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment 19, 73-89.
  107. Benson, H. (2006). Female sex offenders and neutralization theory. Southern Connecticut State University.
  108. Carlson, B. E., Maciol, K. & Schneider, J. (2006). Sibling Incest: Reports from Forty-One Survivors. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 15(4), 19-34.
  109. Carson, W. (2006). Women Who Molest Children: A Study of 18 Convicted Offenders. Prosecutor, 40(3), 26-41.
  110. Denov, M. & Cortoni, F. (2006). Women who sexually abuse children. In C. Hilarski & J.S. Wodarski (Eds.), Comprehensive mental health practice with sex offenders and their families(pp. 71-99). Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press.
  111. Duncan, K. (2006). Gender Equity in the Field of Child Sexual Abuse: Does Gender Matter in Sexual Offense Treatment for Females and their Victims? Paper presented at the ATSA 2006 Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
  112. Ford, H. (2006). Women who sexually abuse children. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.
  113. Frey, L. L. (2006). Girls don’t do that, do they? Adolescent females who sexually abuse. In R. E. Longo & D. S. Prescott (Eds.), Current perspectives: Working with sexually aggressive youth and youth with sexual behavior problems(pp. 255-272). Holyoke, MA: NEARI Press.
  114. Hendriks, J. & Bijleveld, C. C. J. H. (2006). Female adolescent sex offenders—an exploratory study. Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice, 12(1), 31-41.
  115. Hunt, L.M. (2006). Females who sexually abuse in organisations working with children. Characteristics, International and Australian prevalence rates: Implications for child protectionMelbourne, Australia: Child Wise.
  116. Hunter, J. A., Becker, J. V. & Lexier, L. J. (2006). The female juvenile sex offender.In H. E. Barbaree & W. L. Marshall (Eds.), The juvenile sex offender (pp. 148–165). New York: Guilford Press.
  117. Johansson-Love, J. & Fremouw, W. (2006). A critique of the female sexual perpetrator research. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 11, 12-26.
  118. Levine, K. L. (2006). No Penis, No Problem. Fordham Urban Law Journal, Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 05-37.
  119. Peter, T. (2006). Mad, Bad, or Victim? Making Sense of Mother–Daughter Sexual Abuse. Feminist Criminology, 1, 283 – 302.
  120. Smith, J. (2006). Therapists’ reactions with adult female sex abusers/offenders: Implications for policy and practice. Smith College School for Social Work.
  121. Steen, C. (2006). Choices: A relapse prevention workbook for female offenders.Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.
  122. Vandiver, D. (2006). Female sex offenders: A comparison of solo offenders and co-offenders. Violence and Victims, 21, 339-354.
  123. Vandiver, D. & Kercher, G. (2006). Registered female sex offenders in Texas; an overlooked population. In H. Ford (Ed.), Women Who Sexually Abuse Children (p. 0). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
  124. Vandiver, D. & Teske, R. (2006). Juvenile Female and Male Sex Offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 50(2), 148-165.
  125. Alaggia, R. (2005). Disclosing the trauma of child sexual abuse: A gender analysis. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 10, 453-470.
  126. Beckett, R. (2005). What are the characteristics of female sex offenders? NOTA New, 51, 6–7. Available online:
  127. Bunting, L. (2005). Females who sexually offend against children: Responses of the child protection and criminal justice systems. NSPCC Policy Practice Research Series. London: NSPCC.
  128. Deering , R. (2005). Female-perpetrated child sexual abuse: impact, professional perspectives and management. Deakin University.
  129. Dube, S. R., Anda, R. F., Whitfield, C. L., Brown, D. W., Felitti, V. J., Dong, M. & Giles, W. H. (2005). Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 430-438.
  130. Ferguson, C. and Meehan, D. (2005). An Analysis of Females Convicted of Sex Crimes in the State of Florida. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 14 (1), 75-90.
  131. Gartner, R, B. (2005). Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life After Boyhood Sexual Abuse. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  132. Kubik, E. K. & Hecker, J. E. (2005). Cognitive Distortions About Sex and Sexual Offending: A Comparison of Sex Offending Girls, Delinquent Girls, and Girls from the Community. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 14(4), 43-69.
  133. Reckling, A. E. (2005). Mother-Daughter Incest — When Survivors Become Mothers. Journal of Trauma Practice, 3(2), 49-71.
  134. Tardif, M., Auclair, N., Jacob, M. & Carpentier, J. (2005). Sexual abuse perpetrated by adult and juvenile females: An ultimate attempt to resolve a conflict associated with maternal identity. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29, 153-167.
  135. Travers, N. (2005). A Brief examination of pedophilia and sexual abuse committed by nuns within the catholic church. William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law, 12, 761.Anderson, P. B. & Newton, M. (2004). Predicting the use of sexual initiation tactics in a sample of college women. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 7.
  136. Boroughs, D. S. (2004). Female sexual abusers of children. Journal of Children and Youth Services Review, 26(5), 481-487.
  137. Bumby, N. H. & Bumby, K. M. (2004). Bridging the gender gap: Addressing juvenile females who commit sexual offences. In G. O’Reilly, W. L. Marshall, A. Carr, & R. C. Beckett (Eds.), The handbook of clinical intervention with young people who sexually abuse(pp. 369–381). New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge.
  138. Denov, M. S. (2004). Perspectives on Female Sex Offending: A Culture of Denial. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Company.
  139. Denov, M. S. (2004). The Long-Term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse by Female Perpetrators: A Qualitative Study of Male and Female Victims. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19(10), 1137-1156.
  140. Department of Education. (2004). Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing LiteratureOffice of the Undersecretary. United States.
  141. Duncan, K. (2004). Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Journey for Women. Connecticut : Praeger Publishers.
  142. Kite, D. & Tyson, G. A. (2004). The Impact of Perpetrator Gender on Male and Female Police Officers’ Perceptions of Child Sexual Abuse. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 11(2), 308-318.
  143. Lew, M. (2004). Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse. New York: Harper Collins.
  144. National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth (2004). NCSBY Fact Sheet: What Research Shows About Female Adolescent Sex Offenders.
  145. Ogilvie, B. (2004). Mother-daughter incest: A guide for helping professionals. New York: Haworth Press.
  146. Sanderson, C. (2004). The seduction of children: empowering parent and teachers to protect children from child sexual abuseLondon and New York: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  147. Schmidt, S & Keri, P. (2004). What research shows about female adolescent sex offenders. National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth.
  148. Tewskbury, R. (2004). Experiences and Attitudes of registered female sex offenders. Federal Probation, 68 (3).
  149. Vandiver, D. & Kercher, G. (2004). Offender and victim characteristics of registered female sexual offenders in Texas: A proposed typology of female sexual offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 16, 121-137.
  150. Briere J. & Elliott D. M. (2003). Prevalence and psychological sequelae of self-reported childhood physical and sexual abuse in a general population sample of men and womenChild Abuse & Neglect, 27, 1205-1222.
  151. Crawford, M. & Popp, D. (2003). Sexual double standards: A review and methodological critique of two decades of research. Journal of Sex Research, 40(1), 13-26.
  152. Denov, M. S. (2003). The myth of innocence: Sexual scripts and the recognition of child sexual abuse by female perpetrators. Journal of Sex Research, 40(3), 303-314.
  153. Denov, M. S. (2003). To a Safer Place? Victims of sexual abuse by females and their disclosures to professionals. Child Abuse & Neglect, 27(1), 46-61.
  154. Frieden, J. (2003, November) Female sexual abuse of boys often goes unreported. Clinical Psychiatry News, 1-5.
  155. Okonkwo, J. E. & Ibeh, C. C. (2003). Female sexual assault in Nigeria. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, 83(3), 325-326.
  156. Palmero, G. (2003). Female Offenders in a Changing Society. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 47(1), 493-497.
  157. Salter, A. C. (2003). Predators: paedophiles, rapists, and other sex offenders: Who they are, how they operate, and how we can protect ourselves and our childrenNew York: Basic Books.
  158. Shoop, R. J. (2003). Sexual Exploitation in Schools. Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks.
  159. Wiegel M., Abel, G. & Jordan, A. (2003) The self-reported behavior of adult female child abusers. Paper presented at the 22nd Annual Research and Treatment Conference, ATSA, St. Louis, Missouri.
  160. Aylward, M. Christopher, R. & Newell, G. (2002). What about Women Who Commit Sex Offences? Notes from ATSA conference.
  161. Bauminster, R. F. & Twenge, J. M. (2002). Cultural suppression of female sexuality. Review of General Psychology, 6(2), 166-203.
  162. Becker, J. V., Hall, S. & Stinson, J. D. (2002). Female sexual offenders: Clinical, legal, and policy issues. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 1(3), 31-53.
  163. Behrendt, N., Buhl, N. & Seidl, S. (2002). The lethal paraphiliac syndrome: Accidental autoerotic deaths in four women and a review of the literature. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 116(3), 1437-1596.
  164. Christiansen, A. R. & Thyer, B. A. (2002). Female Sexual Offenders — A Review of Empirical Research. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 6(3), 1-16.
  165. Chow, E. W. C. & Choy, A. L., (2002). Clinical characteristics and treatment response to SSRI in a female pedophile. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31(2), 211-215.
  166. Corrections Service of Canada. (2002). Female sex offenders: A review of the literature. Ottawa, Canada: Author.
  167. Hatchard, C. (2002). Female Perpetrated Sexual Abuse: Redefining the Construct of Sexual Abuse and Challenging Beliefs about Human Sexuality.
  168. Hui, C. (2002). Knowledge, Behavior and Personality Characteristics of Females with Sexual Wrong Doings. Chinese Journal of Health Education, 11, 0.
  169. Kelly, R. J., Wood, J. J., Gonzalez, L. S., MacDonald, V. & Waterman, J. (2002). Effects of mother-son incest and positive perceptions of sexual abuse experiences on the psychosocial adjustment of clinic-referred men. Child Abuse & Neglect, 26(4), 425-441.
  170. Kubik, E. K., Hecker, J. E. & Righthand, S. (2002). Adolescent females who have sexually offended: Comparisons with delinquent adolescent female offenders and adolescent males who sexually offended. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 11(3), 63-83.
  171. Markham, D. (2002). Some facts about religious women and child abuse.Covenant, September 3.
  172. Munro, K. (2002). Male Sexual Abuse Victims Of Female Perpetrators: Society’s Betrayal of Boys.
  173. Robinson, S. L. (2002). Treatment Manual. Growing Beyond: A Workbook for Sexually Abusive Teenage Girls. Holyoke, MA: NEARI Press.
  174. Rudominer, H. S. (2002). Consummated mother-son incest in latency: A case report of an adult analysis. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association., 50(3), 909-935.
  175. Streit, C. (2002). Identifying Women Who Abuse: Law Enforcement Suspect That the Number of Women Abusers is Growing. Law Enforcement Technology, 29(8), 22-24.
  176. Vandiver, D. M. & Walker, J. T. (2002). Female sex offenders: An overview and analysis of 40 cases. Criminal Justice Review, 27(2), 284-300.
  177. Vick, J., McRoy, R. & Matthews, B. (2002). Young female sex offenders: Assessment and treatment issues. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 11(2), 1-23.
  178. Abramson, P. R. & Pinkerton, S. D. (2001). A house divided: Suspicions of mother–daughter incest. New York: Norton.
  179. Anderson, I. & Swainson, V. (2001). Perceived motivation for rape: Gender differences in beliefs about female and male rape. Current Research in Social Psychology, 6(8), 107-122.
  180. Crockett, L. C. (2001). The deepest wound: How a journey to El Salvador led to healing from mother-daughter incest. Lincoln, NE: Writer’s Showcase.
  181. Denov, M. S. (2001). A culture of denial: Exploring professional perspectives on female sex offending. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 43(3), 303-329.
  182. Glasser, M., Kolvin, L., Campbell, D., Glasser, A., Leitch, I & Farrelly, S. (2001). Cycle of child sexual abuse; links between being a victim and becoming a perpetrator, British Journal of Psychiatry, 179, 482-494.
  183. Grey, C. & Rogers, K. (2001). Home Office Research Development Statistics. London, British Home Office.
  184. Hansen, T. (2001). The Politics of Rape: Debunking the Feminist Myth. Official Website:
  185. Hislop, J. (2001). Female Sex Offenders: What Therapists, Law Enforcement and Child Protection Services Need to Know. Ravensdale, WA: Idyll Arbor, Inc.
  186. Nathan, P. & Ward, T. (2001). Female sex offenders: Assessment and treatment issues. Psychiatry, Psychology, & Law, 8, 44-55.
  187. Righthand, S. & Welch, C. (2001). Juveniles Who Have Offended Sexually: A Review of the Professional Literature. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
  188. Taylor, T. (2001). Treating Female Sex Offenders and Standards for Education and Training in Marriage & Family Therapy Programs. Menomonie, WI: University of Wisconsin-Stout.
  189. Warren, J. & Hislop, J. (2001). Female sex offenders: A typological and etiological overview. In R. Hazelwood & A. Burgess (Eds.), Practical Aspects of Rape Investigation: A Multidisciplinary Approach(pp. 421-434). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
  190. Braveman, S. L. (2000). When Boys are Molested by Teachers and Others in Position of Authority. S.E.S.A.M.E. Newsletter.
  191. Brinton, C. (2000). A Comparison of Sexual Arousal Patterns of Female Sex Offenders and Non-offenders. San Francisco, CA: Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.
  192. Eldridge, H. & Saradjian, J. (2000). Replacing the function of abusive behaviors for the offender: Remaking relapse prevention in working with women who sexually abuse children. In D.R. Laws, S.M. Hudson & T. Ward (Eds.), Remaking Relapse Prevention with Sex Offenders: A Sourcebook(pp. 402-426). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
  193. Gallagher, B. (2000). The extent and nature of known cases of institutional child sexual abuse. British Journal of Social Work, 30(6), 795-817.
  194. Green, J. (2000). Maire Claire on Female Sex Offenders. Retrieved June 16, 2010, from Abuse Hurts Everyone, USA. Website.
  195. Lab, D. D., Feigenbaum, J. D. & De Silva, P. (2000). Mental health professionals’ attitudes and practices towards male childhood sexual abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect, 24(3), 391-409.
  196. Lewis, C. F. & Stanley, C. R. (2000). Women accused of sexual offenses. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 18(1), 73-81.
  197. Miccio-Fonseca, L. C. (2000). Adult and adolescent female sex offenders: Experiences compared to other female and male sex offenders. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 11, 75-88.
  198. Watkins, B., and Bentovim, A. (2000). Male children and adolescents as victims: A review of current knowledge. In Mezey, G. C., and King, M. B. (eds.), Male Victims of Sexual Assault, 2nd edition(pp. 35-78). New York: Oxford University Press.
  199. Bell, K. (1999).Female offenders of sexual assault. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 25(3), 241-243.
  200. Blues, A., Moffatt, C. & Telford, P. (1999). Work with adolescent females who sexually abuse: Similarities and differences. In M. Erooga & H. C. Masson (eds.), Children and Young People Who Sexually Abuse Others: Challenges and Responses, (pp. 168-182). London: Routledge.
  201. Davin, P. A. (1999). Secrets revealed: A study of female sex offenders. In P. A. Davin, J. R. Hislop, & T. Dunbar, Female Sexual Abusers: Three Views, (pp. 9-134.) Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.
  202. Davin, P. A., Dunbar, T. & Hislop, J. (1999). Female Sexual Abusers: Three Views. Brandon, VT, Safer Society Press.
  203. Dowden, C. & Andrews, D. (1999). What works for female offenders: A meta-analytic review. Crime and Delinquency, 45, 438-452.
  204. Dunbar, T. (1999). Women who sexually molest female children. In P. A. Davin, J. C. Hislop, & T. Dunbar, Female Sexual Abusers: Three Views, (pp. 311-377). Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.
  205. Dunphy, S. A. (1999). The forgotten ones: Maternal abusers and their victims: A pilot study. Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies, 2(1), 81-100.
  206. Etherington, K. (1999). Maternal sexual abuse of males. Child Abuse Review, 6(2), 107-117.
  207. Fedoroff, P. J. & Fishell, A. (1999). Paraphilic and other unconventional sexual disorders in girls and women. In E. M. Palace (Ed.), Women’s Health: A Behavioral Medicine Approach. Oxford: Oxford Press.
  208. Fedoroff, P. J., Fishell, A. & Fedoroff, B. (1999). A case series of women evaluated for paraphilic sexual disorders. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 8(2), 127-139.
  209. Grayston, A. D. & De Luca, R. V. (1999). Female perpetrators of child sexual abuse: A review of the clinical and empirical literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 4(1), 1999, 93-106.
  210. Green, A. H. (1999). Female sex offenders. In J. A. Shaw (Ed.), Sexual Aggression, (pp. 195-210). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.
  211. Hetherton, J. (1999). The idealization of women: Its role in the minimization of child sexual abuse by females. Child Abuse & Neglect, 23, 161-174.
  212. Hislop, J. R. (1999). Female child molesters. In P. A. Davin, J. R. Hislop, & T. Dunbar(Eds), Female Sexual Abusers: Three Views, (pp. 135-310). Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.
  213. McClay, R. (1999). Female Sex Offenders: A Comparative Study of Beliefs and Attitudes of Mental Health Graduate Students and Non-mental Health Graduate Students. San Francisco, CA: Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.
  214. Miletski, H. (1999). Mother-Son Incest: The Unthinkable Broken Taboo. Brandon, VT: The Safer Society Press.
  215. Mirkin, H. (1999). The Pattern of Sexual Politics — Feminism, Homosexuality and Pedophilia. Journal of Homosexuality, 37(2), 1-24.
  216. Schlesinger, L. B. (1999). Adolescent sexual matricide following repetitive mother-son incest. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 44(4), 746-749.
  217. Chibnall, J. T., Wolf, A. & Duckro, P. N. (1998). A National Survey of the Sexual Trauma Experiences of Catholic Nuns. Review of Religious Research, 40(2), pp. 142-167.
  218. Cranford, S. & Williams, R. (1998). Critical issues in managing female offenders. Corrections Today, 60(7), 130-135.
  219. Duncan, L. E. & Williams L. M., (1998). Gender role socialization and male-on-male vs. female-on-male child sexual abuse. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 39(9/10), 765-785.
  220. Ellis, Lee (1998). Why some sexual assaults are not committed by men: A biosocial analysis. In P. B. Anderson & C. Struckman- Johnson (Eds.), Sexually Aggressive Women: Current Perspectives and Controversies(pp. 105-118). New York: The Guilford Press.
  221. FitzRoy, L. (1998). Offending Mothers: Theorising in a Feminist Minefield.Retrieved June 16, 2010, from SECASA, Australia. Website:
  222. FitzRoy, L. (1998). Offending Women: Conversations with Workers. Retrieved June 16, 2010, from SECASA, Australia. Website:
  223. Gallop, R. (1998). Abuse of power in the nurse-client relationship. Nursing Standard, 12(37), 43-47.
  224. Mars, D. (1998). A case of mother-son incest: Its consequences for development and treatment. Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 7, 401-420
  225. Mathews, J. (1998). Working with female sexual abusers. In M. Elliot (Ed.), Female Sexual Abuse of Children: The Ultimate Taboo (pp. 50-60). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
  226. Matravers, A. (1998). Women sex offenders: An exploratory study. Prison Research and Development Bulletin, 6.
  227. Matthews, J. (1998). An 11-year perspective of working with female sexual offenders. In W. L. Marshall, T. Ward, & S. M. Hudson (Eds.), Sourcebook of treatment programs for sexual offenders(pp. 259-272). New York, NY: Plenum Press.
  228. Robinson, S. (1998). From victim to offender: Female offenders of child sexual abuse, European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 6, 59?73.
  229. Whetsell-Mitchell, J. & Morse, J. (1998). From Victims to Survivors: Reclaimed Voices of Women Sexually Abused in Childhood by Females. Washington, DC: Accelerated Development.
  230. Bumby, K. & Bumby, N. (1997). Adolescent female sex offenders. In B. Schwartz, & H.Cellini, (eds.), The Sex Offender: New Insights, Treatment Innovations and Legal Developments, Vol. II, pp. 10-1 10-16. Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute, Inc.
  231. Busby, D. M. & Compton, S. V. (1997). Patterns of sexual coercion in adult heterosexual relationships: An exploration of male victimization. Family Process, 36(1), 81-94.
  232. Crawford, C. (1997). Forbidden Femininity: Child Sexual Abuse and Female Sexuality. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Co.
  233. Fitzroy, L. (1997). Mother/daughter rape: A challenge for feminism. In S. Cook & J. Bessant (Eds.), Women’s encounters with violence: Australian experiences (pp. 40-54). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  234. Ford, H. & Corton, F. (1997). Sexual Deviance in Females: Assessment & Treatment. In D. R. Laws & W. T. Donohue (Eds.), Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment (pp. 486-507). New York: The Guilford Press.
  235. Fromuth, M. E. & Conn, V. E. (1997). Hidden perpetrators; Sexual molestation in a non-clinical sample of college women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12(3), 456-465.
  236. Grand, S. (1997). On the Gendering of Traumatic Dissociation: A Case of Mother-Son Incest. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 2, 55-77.
  237. Holmes, G. R., Offen, L. & Waller, G. (1997). See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: Why do relatively few male victims of childhood sexual abuse receive help for abuse-related issues in adulthood? Clinical Psychology Review, 17(1), 69-88.
  238. Hunter, J. A. & Mathews, R. (1997). Sexual deviance in females. In R. D. Laws & W. O’Donohue (Eds.), Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment,(pp. 465-480). New York: The Guilford Press.
  239. Kalders, A., Inkster, H. & Britt, E. (1997). Females who offend sexually against children in New Zealand. The Journal of Sexual Aggression. 3(1), 15-29.
  240. Lane, S. & Lobanov-Rostovsky, C. (1997). Special populations: Children, females, the developmentally disabled, and violent youth. In G. Ryan & S. Lane (Eds.), Juvenile Sexual Offending: Causes, Consequences and Correction, (pp. 322- 359). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  241. Mathews, R., Hunter, J. A. & Vuz, J. (1997). Juvenile female sexual offenders: Clinical characteristics and treatment issues. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 9(3), 187-199.
  242. Maynard, C. & Wiederman, M. (1997). Undergraduate students’ perceptions of child sexual abuse: Effects of age, sex, and gender-role attitudes. Child Abuse and Neglect, 21 (9), 833-844.
  243. Mitchell, J. & Morse, J. (1997). From Victim to Survivor: Women Survivors of Female Perpetrators. London: Taylor & Francis.
  244. O’Shea, K. A. & Fletcher, B. R. (1997). Female Offenders: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood.
  245. Rentoul, L. & Appleboom, N. (1997). Understanding the psychological impact of rape and serious sexual assault of men: a literature review. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 4, 267–274.
  246. Rosencrans, B. & Bear, E. (1997). The Last Secret: Daughters Sexually Abused by Mothers. Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.
  247. Saradjian, J. (1997). Factors that specifically exacerbate the trauma of victims of childhood sexual abuse by maternal perpetrators. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 3(1), 3-14.
  248. Atkinson, J. L. (1996). Female sex offenders: A literature review. Forum, 8(2), 39-42.
  249. Bumby, K. M., Bumby, N., Burghess, A. W. & Hartman, C. R. (1996). From Victims to Victimizers: Sexually Aggressive Post-Traumatic Responses of Sexually Abused Adolescent Females.
  250. Department of Health and Human Services (1996). Child Maltreatment: Reports From the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. Special Report. United States of America.
  251. Hudson, A. H. (1996). Personality assessment of female sex offenders: A cluster analysis. Dissertation Abstracts International, 56(9-B), 5212.
  252. Mathews, F. (1996). The Invisible Boy: Revisioning the Victimization of Male Children and Teens. (p. 28), Health Canada, Ministry of Public Works and Government Services Canada.
  253. Peluso, E. & Putnam, N. (1996). Case study: Sexual abuse of boys by females. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 35(1), 51-54.
  254. Robson, M. (1996). An overview of the literature about female sexual offending. Social Work Review, 6, September.
  255. Roys, D. T. (1996). Psycho-educational Curriculum for Adult Female Sex Offenders. Atlanta, GA: Highland Institute for Behavioral Change.
  256. Roys, D. T. & Timms, R. J. (1996). Personality Profiles of Adult Males Sexually Molested by Their Maternal Caregivers — Perliminary Findings. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 4(4), 63-77.
  257. Saradjian, J. (1996). Women Who Sexually Abuse Children: From Research to Clinical Practice. London: John Wiley & Sons.
  258. Syed, F. & Williams, S. (1996). Case studies of female sex offenders in the Correctional Service of Canada. Ottawa, ON: Correctional Services of Canada.
  259. Welldon, E. (1996). Female sex offenders. Prison Service Journal, London, 107: 39-47.
  260. Atkinson, J. (1995). The Assessment of Female Sex Offenders. Kingston, ON: Correctional Service of Canada.
  261. Collings, S. J. (1995). The long-term effects of contact and non-contact forms of child sexual abuse in a sample of university men. Child Abuse & Neglect, 19(1), 1-6.
  262. Faller, K. (1995). A clinical sample of women who have sexually abused children. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 4(3), 13-30.
  263. FitzRoy, L. (1995). Mother/Rapist: Women’s experience of child sexual assault perpetrated by their biological or adoptive mothers. La Trobe University, Melbourne.
  264. Flowers, R. B. (1995). Female Crime, Criminals, and Cellmates: An Exploration of Female Criminality and Delinquency. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.
  265. Freel, M. (1995). Women Who Sexually Abuse Children. Norwich: Social Work Monographs, University of East Anglia.
  266. Howitt, D. (1995). Paedophiles and Sexual Offenses Against Children. West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  267. Kaplan, M. S. & Green, A. (1995). Incarcerated female sex offenders: A comparison of sexual histories with eleven female nonsexual offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 7, 287-300.
  268. Kaufman, K. L., Wallace, A. M., Johnson, C. F. & Reeder, M. L. (1995). Comparing female and male perpetrators’ modus operandi: Victims’ reports of sexual abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10(3), 322-333.
  269. Koonin, R. (1995). Breaking the last taboo: Child sexual abuse by female perpetrators. Australian Social Work 30(2), 195-210.
  270. Larson, N. R. & Maison, S. R. (1995). Psychosexual treatment program for women sex offenders in a prison setting. Acta Sexologica, 1(1), 81-113.
  271. Miller, D., Trapani, C., Fejes,-Mendoza, K., Eggleston, C. & Dwiggins, D. (1995). Adolescent female offenders: Unique considerations. Adolescence, 30, 429-435.
  272. Ogilvie, B. & Daniluk, J. (1995). Common themes in the experiences of mother-daughter incest survivors: Implications for counseling. Journal of Counseling and Development, 73, 598-602.
  273. Rudin, M. M., Zalewski, C. & Bodmer-Turner, J. (1995). Characteristics of child sexual abuse victims according to perpetrator gender. Child Abuse & Neglect 19(8), 963-73.
  274. Schwartz, B. K. & Cellini, H. R. (1995). Female sex offenders. In B. K. Schwartz & H. R. Cellini (Eds.), The Sex Offender: Corrections, Treatment and Legal Practice,(pp. 5-1 – 5-22). Kingston, N.J. Civic Research Press, Inc.
  275. Schwartz, B. K. & Cellini, H. R. (1995). The Sex Offender: Corrections, Treatment and Legal Practice. Kingston, N.J. Civic Research Press, Inc.
  276. Williams, S. (1995). Female Sex Offenders: Addendum to Risk Assessment Training Manual. (pp.38-46). Ottawa: Correctional Service Canada.
  277. Adshead, G., Howett, M. & Mason, F. (1994). Women who sexually abuse children: The undiscovered country. Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice, 1(1), 45-56.
  278. Allen, C. M. & Pothast, H. L. (1994). Distinguishing Characteristics of Male and Female Child Sex Abusers. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 21(1-2), 73-88.
  279. Bachmann, K. M., Moggi, F. & Stirnemann-Lewis, F. (1994). Mother-son incest and its long-term consequences: A neglected phenomenon in psychiatric practice. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 182, 723-725.
  280. Eldridge, H. (1994). Barbara’s story: A mother who sexually abused. In M. Elliott, (ed.), Female Sexual Abuse of Children, (pp. 74-87). New York: The Guilford Press.
  281. Elliott, M. (1994). Female Sexual Abuse of Children. New York: The Guilford Press.
  282. Elliott, M. (1994). What survivors tell us – An overview. In M. Elliott (Ed.), Female Sexual Abuse of Children, (pp. 5-13). New York: The Guilford Press.
  283. Gabbard, G. O., Twemlow, S. W. (1994). The Role of Mother-Son Incest in The Pathogenesis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 42(1), 171-189.
  284. Green, A. H. & Kaplan, M. (1994). Psychiatric impairment and childhood victimization experiences in female child molesters. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 33, 954-961.
  285. Harrison, H. (1994). Female abusers – what children and young people have told Childline. In M. Elliott (Ed.), Female Sexual Abuse of Children, (pp. 89-92). New York: The Guilford Press.
  286. Hunter, K. (1994). Helping survivors through counseling. In M. Elliott (Ed.), Female Sexual Abuse of Children, (pp. 37-46). New York: The Guilford Press.
  287. Jennings, K. T. (1994). Female child molesters: A review of the literature. In M. Elliott (Ed.), Female Sexual Abuse of Children, (pp. 219-234). New York: The Guilford Press.
  288. Kelley, S. J. (1994), Abuse of children in day care centers: characteristics and consequences. Child Abuse Review, 3(1), 15-25.
  289. Lipshires, L. (1994). Female perpetration of child sexual abuse: An overview of the problem. Moving Forward News journal, 2(6).
  290. Lisak, D. (1994). The psychological impact of sexual abuse: Content analysis of interviews with male survivors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 7, 525-548.
  291. Longdon, C. (1994). A survivor and therapist’s viewpoint. In M. Elliott (Ed.), Female Sexual Abuse of Children, (pp. 47-56). New York: The Guilford Press.
  292. Matthews, J. K. (1994). Working with female sexual abusers. In M. Elliott (Ed.), Female Sexual Abuse of Children, (pp. 57-73). New York: The Guilford Press.
  293. Michael, R. T., Gagnon, J. H., Laumann, E. O., Kolata, G. (1994). Sex in America: A Definitive Study. Little Brown & Co., New York.
  294. Nelson, E. D. (1994). Females who sexually abuse children: A discussion of gender stereotypes and symbolic assailants. Qualitative Sociology, 17(1), 63-88.
  295. Saradjian, J. (1994). The trauma associated with childhood sexual abuse when the perpetrator is a woman.
  296. Sgroi, S. & Sargent, N., M. (1994). Impact and treatment issues for victims of childhood sexual abuser by female perpetrators. In M. Elliott, (Ed.), Female Sexual Abuse of Children, (pp. 14-36). New York: The Guilford Press.
  297. Turner, M. T. & Turner, T. N. (1994). Female Adolescent Sexual Abusers: An Exploratory Study of Mother-Daughter Dynamics with Implications for Treatment.Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.
  298. Wolfers, O. (1994). The paradox of women who sexually abuse children. In M. Elliott (Ed.), Female Sexual Abuse of Children, (pp. 93-99). New York: The Guilford Press.
  299. Young, V. (1994). Self-help for survivors. In M. Elliott (Ed.), Female Sexual Abuse of Children, (pp. 198-218). New York: The Guilford Press.
  300. Anderson, P. B. (1993). Sexual victimization: It happens to boys, too. Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Journal, 57(1), 5, 12.
  301. Bachmann, K. M. & Bossi, J. (1993). Mother-son incest as a defense against psychosis. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 66, 239-248.
  302. Bordon, T. A. & LaTerz, J. D. (1993). Mother/daughter incest and ritual abuse: The ultimate taboos. Treating Abuse Today, 3(4), 5-8.
  303. Christopher, F. S., Owens, L. A. & Stecker, H. L. (1993). An examination of single men’s and women’s sexual aggressiveness in dating relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 10, 511-527.
  304. Dunbar, T. (1993). Women Who Sexually Molest Female Children. Los Angeles: University of Southern California.
  305. Elliott, A. J. & Peterson, L. W. (1993). Maternal sexual abuse of male children: When to suspect and how to uncover it. Postgraduate Medicine, 94(1), 169-180.
  306. Goldman, L. L. (1993). Female Sex Offenders: Societal Avoidance of Comprehending the Phenomenon of Women Who Sexually Abuse Children. Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI.
  307. Grier, P. E., Clark, M. & Stoner, S. B. (1993). Comparative study of personality traits of female sex offenders. Psychological Reports, 73, 1378.
  308. Harper, J. F. (1993). Pre-pubertal male victims of incest: A clinical study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 17(3), 419-421.
  309. Hunter, J. A., Lexier, L. J., Goodwin, D. W., Browne, P.A. & Dennis, C. (1993). Psychosexual, attitudinal, and developmental characteristics of juvenile female perpetrators in a residential treatment setting. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 2, 317- 326.
  310. Kelley, S. J., Brant, R. & Waterman, J. (1993). Sexual abuse of children in day care centers. Child Abuse & Neglect, 17, 71-89.
  311. Lawson, C (1993). Mother-son sexual abuse: Rare or under-reported? A critique of the research. Child Abuse & Neglect, 17(2), 261-269.
  312. Mathews, R. (1993). Preliminary typology of female sex offenders. In Safer Society (Ed.), Information packet: Female sexual abusers. Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.
  313. Mayer, A. (1993). Adult female incest offenders: Treatment considerations. Treating Abuse Today, 3(6), 21-26.
  314. Song, L., Lieb, R. & Donnelly, S. (1993). Female Sex Offenders in Washington State. Washington: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.
  315. West, D. J. & Woodhouse, T. P. (eds.) (1993). Children’s Sexual Encounter with Adults: A Scientific Study Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.
  316. Brodie, F. (1992). When the Other Woman Is His Mother: Book One/Boys As Incest Victims and Male Multiple Personality Disorder/for Partners and ProfessionalsTacoma, WA: Winged Eagle Press.
  317. Forbes, J. (1992). Female sexual abusers: The contemporary search for equivalence. Practice, 6, 102-111.
  318. Gray, J. L. (1992). From the Data of Therapists: An Exploratory Study of Adult Females Who Sexually Molest Children. Long Beach, CA: California State University.
  319. Higgs, D. C., Canavan, M. M. & Meyer, W. J. III (1992). Moving from defense to offence: The development of an adolescent female sex offender. Journal of Sex Research, 29(1), 131-139.
  320. Liem, J. H., O’Toole, J. G. & James, J. B. (1992). The need for power in women who were sexually abused as children: An exploratory study. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 16(4), 467-480.
  321. Mayer, A. (1992). Women Sex Offenders: Treatment and Dynamics. Holmes Beach, FL: Learning Publications, Inc.
  322. Ogilvie, BA. (1992). The experience of Mother-daughter incest. British Columbia.
  323. Wolfers, O. (1992). Same abuse, different parent. Social Work Today, 13-14.
  324. Adams, Kenneth (1991). Silently Seduced: When Parents Make their Children Partners – Understanding Covert Incest. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc.
  325. Allen, C. M. (1991). Women and Men Who Sexually Abuse Children: A Comparative Analysis. Orwell, VT: Safer Society Press.
  326. Baron, R. S., Burgess, M. L. & Kao, C. F. (1991). Detecting and labeling prejudice: Do female perpetrators go undetected? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 115-123.
  327. Broussard, S., Wagner, W. G. & Kazelskis, R. (1991). Undergraduate students’ perceptions of child sexual abuse: The impact of victim sex, perpetrator sex, respondent sex, and victim response. Journal of Family Violence, 6(3), 267-278.
  328. Faller, K. C. (1991). Poly-incestuous families: An exploratory study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 6(3), 310-322.
  329. Lawson, C. (1991). Clinical assessment of mother-son sexual abuse. Clinical Social Work Journal, 19(4), 391-403.
  330. Matthews, J., Matthews, R. & Speltz, K. (1991). Female sex offenders: A typology. In M. Patton (Ed.), Family Sexual Abuse: Frontline Research and Evaluation (pp. 199-219). Newbury Park, NJ: Sage Publications, Inc.
  331. Van Der Meer, T. (1991). Tribades on trial: Female same-sex offenders in late eighteenth-century Amsterdam. Journal of the History of Sexuality, 1(3), 424-445.
  332. Wakefield, H. & Underwager, R. (1991). Female child sexual abusers: A critical review of the literature. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 9(4), 45-69.
  333. Allen, C. M. (1990). Women as perpetrators of child sexual abuse: Recognition barriers. In Horton, A. L., Johnson, A. L., Roundy, B. L. & Williams, L. M. (Eds.), The Incest Perpetrator: A Family Member No One Wants To Treat, (pp. 108-125). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.
  334. Barnett. S., Corder, F. & Jehu, D. (1990). Group treatment for women sex offenders against children. Groupwork, 3(2), 191-203.
  335. Cooper, A. J., Swaminath, S., Baxter, D. & Poulin, C. (1990). A female sex offender with multiple paraphilias: A psychologic, physiologic (laboratory sexual arousal) and endocrine case study. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 35(4), 334-337.
  336. Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, I. A. & Smith, C. (1990). Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: Prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors. Child Abuse and Neglect, 14(1), 19-28.
  337. Haineault, D. L. (1990). To begin to believe. Working notes on a mother-daughter incest case and its implications on the formation of the pre-transitional object. Sante Mentale Au Quebec, 15(2), 181-201.
  338. Hunter, M. (1990). Abused Boys: The neglected victims of sexual abuseNew York: Ballantine Books.
  339. Kasl, C. S. (1990). Female perpetrators of sexual abuse: A feminist view. In M. Hunter (Ed.), The Sexually Abused Male. Prevalence, Impact, and Treatment, Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.
  340. Margolin, L. (1990). Child abuse by baby-sitters: An ecological interactional interpretation. Journal of Family Violence, 5 (2), 95-105.
  341. Margolin, L. (1990). Gender and the stolen kiss: The social support of male and female to violate a partner’s sexual consent in a non-coercive situation. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 19(3), 281-291.
  342. Margolin, L. & Craft, J. L. (1990). Child abuse by adolescent caregivers. Child Abuse and Neglect, 14 (3), 365-373.
  343. Mathews, R., Matthews, J. K. & Speltz, K. (1990). Female sexual offenders. In M. Hunter (Ed.), The Sexually Abused Male: Prevalence, Impact and Treatment, (pp. 275-293). Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.
  344. Mendel, M. P. (1990). The male survivor: The impact of sexual abuse. London: Sage.
  345. Ramsey-Klawsnik, H. (1990). Sexual abuse by female perpetrators: Impact on children. Proceedings of the National Symposium on Child Victimization. Tyler, TX: Family Violence and Sexual Assault Institute.
  346. Rowan, E. L., Rowan, J. B. & Langelier, P. (1990). Women who molest children. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, 18, 79-83.
  347. Travin, S., Cullen, K. & Protter, B. (1990). Female sex offenders: Severe victims and victimizers. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 35(1), 140-150.
  348. Wakefield, H., Rogers, M. & Underwager, R. (1990). Female sexual abusers: A theory of loss. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, 2(4), 191-195.
  349. Weldon, E. V. (1990). Women who sexually abuse children. British Medical Journal, 300(6738), 1527-1528.
  350. Wilkins, R. (1990). Women who sexually abuse children: Doctors need to become sensitised to the possibility. British Medical Journal, 300(6738), 1153-1154.
  351. Banning, A. (1989). Mother-son incest: Confronting a prejudice. Child Abuse & Neglect, 13, 563-570.
  352. Bolton, F. G., Morris, L. A. & MacEachron, A. E. (1989). Males at Risk: The Other Side of Sexual Abuse. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  353. Faller, K.C. (1989). Characteristics of a clinical sample of sexually abused children: How boys and girl victims differ. Child Abuse and Neglect, 13, 281-291.
  354. Fromuth, M. E. & Burkhart, B. R. (1989). Long-term psychological correlates of childhood sexual abuse in two samples of college men. Child Abuse and Neglect, 13(4), 533-542.
  355. Goodwin, J. & DiVasto, P. (1989). Female homosexuality: A sequel to mother-daughter incest. In J. M. Goodwin (Ed.), Sexual Abuse: Incest Victims and Their Families, (pp. 140-146), Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, Inc.
  356. Hindman, J. (1989). Just Before Dawn. Baker City, OR: Alexandria Associates.
  357. Johnson, T. C. (1989). Female child perpetrators: Children who molest other children. Child Abuse and Neglect, 13, 571-585.
  358. Krug, R. S. (1989). Adult male reports of childhood sexual abuse by mothers: Case descriptions, motivations and long-term consequences. Child Abuse and Neglect, 13, 111-119.
  359. Mathews, R., Matthews, J. K. & Speltz, K. (1989). Female Sexual Offenders: An Exploratory Study. Orwell, VT: Safer Society Press.
  360. Ryan, G. & Grayson, J. (1989). Female sex offenders. Interchange: Cooperative Newsletter of the Adolescent Perpetrator Network, June.
  361. Scavo, R.R. (1989). Female adolescent sex offenders: A neglected treatment group. Social Casework: The Journal of Contemporary Social Work, 70(2), 114-117.
  362. Singer, K. I. (1989). Group work with men who experienced incest in childhoodAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 59(3), 468-472.
  363. Adams, E. M. (1988). Sex of the Victim, Offender, and Helper: The Effects of Gender Differences on Attributions and Attitudes in Cases of Incest. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University.
  364. Briere, J., Evans, D., Runtz, M. & Wall, T. (1988). Symptomatology in men who were molested as children: A comparison study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 58(3), 457-461.
  365. Crewdson, J. (1988). Silence Betrayed; Sexual Abuse of Children in America. Little Brown, Boston, MA.
  366. Faller, K. C. (1988). The spectrum of sexual abuse in daycare: An exploratory study. Journal of Family Violence, 3(4), 283-298.
  367. Fehrenbach, P. A. & Monastersky, C. (1988). Characteristics of female adolescent sexual offenders. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 58(1), 148-151.
  368. Finkelhor, D., Williams, L. M. & Burns, N. (1988). Nursery crimes: Sexual abuse in day care. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
  369. Hetherton, J. & Beardsall, L. (1988). Decisions and attitudes concerning child sexual abuse: Does the gender of the perpetrator make a difference to child protection professionals? Child Abuse & Neglect, 22(12), 1265-1283.
  370. Rowan, E. L., Langelier, P. & Rowan, J. B. (1988). Female pedophiles. Corrective and Social Psychiatry and Journal of Behavior Technology Methods and Therapy, 34(3), 17-20.
  371. Vander Mey, B. J. (1988). The sexual victimization of male children: A review of previous research. Child Abuse & Neglect, 12(1), 61-72.
  372. Allen, H. (1987). Justice unbalanced: Gender, psychiatry and judicial decisions.Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.
  373. Brow, M. E., Knopp, F. H. & Lackey, L. B. (1987). Female Sexual Abusers: A Summary of Data from 44 Treatment Providers. Orwell: Safer Society Press.
  374. Burgess, A. W., Hartman, C. R. & McCormack, A. (1987). Abused to abuser: Antecedents of socially deviant behaviors. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 1431-1436.
  375. Condy, S. R., Templer, D. I., Brown, R. & Veaco, L. (1987). Parameters of sexual contact of boys with women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 16(5), 379-394.
  376. Eisenberg, N., Owens, R. G. & Dewey, M. E. (1987). Attitudes of health professionals to child sexual abuse and incest. Child Abuse & Neglect, 11(1), 109-116.
  377. Evert, K. (1987). When You’re Ready. A Woman’s Healing from Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse by Her Mother. Walnut Creek, CA: Launch Press.
  378. Faller, K. C. (1987). Women who sexually abuse children. Violence & Victims, 2(4), 263-276.
  379. Holubinskyj, H. & Foley, S. (1987). Escape or rescue: Intervention in a case of mother-daughter incest, with an adolescent girl. Australian Journal of Sex, Marriage & Family, 8(1), 27-31.
  380. Knopp, F. H. & Lackey, L. B. (1987). Female Sexual Abusers: A Summary of Data from 44 Treatment Providers. Orwell, VT: The Safer Society Press.
  381. Larson, N. R. & Maison, S. R. (1987). Psychosexual Treatment Program for Female Sex Offenders: Training Manual. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Corrections, Minnesota Correctional Facility, Stillwater.
  382. Mathews, R. (1987). Female Sexual Offenders: Treatment and Legal Issues.Orwell, VT: The Safer Society Press.
  383. O’Connor, A. (1987). Female sex offenders. British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 615-620.
  384. Reinhart, M. A. (1987). Sexually abused boys. Child Abuse & Neglect, 11(2), 229-235.
  385. Risin, L. I. & Koss, M. P. (1987). The sexual abuse of boys: Prevalence and descriptive characteristics of childhood victimizations. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2(3), 309-323.
  386. Cameron, P., Coburn Jr., W., Larson, H. & Proctor, K. (1986). Child Molestation and Homosexuality. Psychological Reports, 58(1), 327-337.
  387. Chasnoff, I. J., Burns. W. J., Schnoll, S. H., Burns, K., Chisum, G. & Kyle-Spore, L. (1986). Maternal neo-natal incest. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 56(4), 577-580.
  388. Finkelhor, D. (1986). A Sourcebook on Child Sexual Abuse. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.
  389. Marvasti, J. (1986). Incestuous mothers. American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 7, 63-69.
  390. McCarty, L. M. (1986). Mother-child incest: Characteristics of the offender. Child Welfare, 65(5), 447-458.
  391. Russell, D. (1986). Female incest perpetrators: How do they differ from males, and why are there so few? In D. Russell, The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and WomenNew York: Basic Books.
  392. Burket, L. E. (1985). Guilt and Moral Judgment in the Juvenile Female Sex Offender: A Comprehensive Literature Review. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh.
  393. Margolin, L. (1985). The effects of mother-son incest. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 8(2), 104-114.
  394. Rosner, R., Wiederlight, M., Wieczorek, R. R. (1985). Forensic psychiatric evaluations of women accused of felonies: A three-year descriptive study. Journal of Forensic Science, 30(3), 721-729.
  395. Wolfe, F. A. (1985). Twelve female sexual offenders. Paper presented at “Next steps in research on the assessment and treatment of sexually aggressive persons (Paraphiliacs),”. St. Louis, MO.
  396. Brown, M. E., Hull, L. A. & Panesis, S. K. (1984). Women Who Rape. Boston: Massachusetts Trial Court. Cited in Mathews, Matthews, & Speltz, 1990; and Syed & Williams, 1996.
  397. Finkelhor, D. & Russell, D. (1984). Women as perpetrators: Review of the evidence. In D. Finkelhor (Ed.), Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory and Research,(pp. 171-187). New York: Free Press.
  398. Margolis, M. (1984). A case of mother-adolescent son incest: A follow-up study. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53, 355-385.
  399. Petrovich, M., Templer, D. (1984). Heterosexual molestation of children who later became rapists. Psychological Reports, Vol. 54, No.3.
  400. Mathis, R. (1982). Mother-child incest: Characteristics of the offender. Child Welfare, 65, 447-458.
  401. Fritz, G. S., Stoller, K. & Wagner, N. N. (1981). A comparison of males and females who were sexually molested as children. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 7(1), 54-59.
  402. Catanzarite, V. A. & Combs, S. A. (1980). Mother-son incest. Journal of the American Medical Association, 243(18), 1807-1808.
  403. Ellerstein, N. & Canavan, W. (1980). Sexual abuse of boys. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 134, 255-257.
  404. Nasjleti, M. (1980). Suffering in silence: The male incest victim. Child Welfare, 59, 269-275.
  405. Shengold, L. S. (1980). Some reflections on a case of mother/adolescent-son incest. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 61, 461-476.
  406. Sroufe, A. L. & Ward, M. J. (1980). Seductive Behavior of the mothers of toddlers: occurrence, correlates, and family origins. Child Development, 51(4), 1222-1229.
  407. Goodwin, J. & DiVasto, P. (1979). Mother-daughter incest. Child Abuse & Neglect, 3, 953-957.
  408. Groth, A. N. (1979). Sexual Trauma in the Life Histories of Rapists and Child Molesters. Victimology, 4(1), 10-16.
  409. Widom, C. (1979). Female Offenders: Three Assumptions About Self-Esteem, Sex-Role Identity, and Feminism. Criminal Justice and Behavior 6,365-382.
  410. Margolis, M. (1977). A preliminary report of a case of consummated mother-son incest. Annual of Psychoanalysis, 5, 267-293.
  411. Finch, S. M. (1973). Sexual abuse by mothers. Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, 7(1), 191.
  412. Kubo, S. (1959). Researches and studies on incest in Japan. Hiroshima Journal of Medical Sciences, 8, 99-159.




Endless Outrage

“Let me be clear: this by no means justifies the Isis-inspired attacks. But, until the leaders and opinion makers and talking heads in the U.S. and France and their allies, are willing to recognize the extent to which their own massive intervention in the Greater Middle East is also responsible for the terrible situation we find ourselves in today–then, this long, downward spiral to God knows where will only continue its bloody way.” –Barry Lando

“Atrocities breed atrocities. Or as Andrew Kopkind remarked in another context, the skies were dark in Orlando this past weekend with the chickens coming home to roost.” –John V. Walsh

The recent club shooting is one of those rare events that unites nearly all Americans.

Those on the political right can feel particular hate for the shooter because he was a Muslim of Middle Eastern descent who killed Americans, ignoring that he too was American and ignoring those he killed probably included minorities and surely many atheists as well. And those on the political have a similar response because the targets were gay, an official identity politics victim class. But if the shooter had been a white right-wing Christian who shot up a women’s health clinic or if it had been a poor struggling single black mother who shot up a convention of big biz lobbyists, many Americans would have had a more mixed reaction and the outrage would be less clear.

As always, the identity of the victimizer and the identity of the victims determines the responses heard from the general public, the mainstream media, and government officials. We live in a global world where victimizers and victims are dime a dozen, but most of the violence and death is ignored by most Americans and most Westerners. It depends on the value of those involved, and of course not all humans are seen as equal in value. At times like these, that is the thought that first comes to my mind. It was the same thought I had after 9/11, an event that had followed upon decades of terrorism worldwide, both of the state and non-state varieties.

The United States military actions, CIA covert activities, and government policies such as sanctions lead to the deaths of millions in my lifetime. Bin Laden even made it clear that the 9/11 attack was precisely about that fact, the nonchalant oppression and careless murder of poor brown people and non-Christians by Western powers. The US regularly invades countries, overthrows governments, assassinates leaders, collapses countries into chaos, and destabilizes entire regions; or else aids and abets those who do such morally depraved things.

Fifty innocent people dead is just another day’s work for a government like the United States. A single drone strike in an instant easily kills fifty innocent people. It happens all the time. The illegal and unconstitutional, immoral and unjustified Iraq War has already led to the death of probably at least a half million Iraqis and possibly over a million, most of those being civilians, many of whom were women and children, and surely way more than fifty gay people died in the process—not only that, it turned a stable secular society with a thriving economy and a strong middle class into a permanent war zone where Islamic extremists have taken over, creating yet one more stronghold for terrorists.

If you take the total death toll of the War On Terror, it is in the millions. Looking at one country alone, “total avoidable Afghan deaths since 2001 under ongoing war and occupation-imposed deprivation amount to around 3 million people, about 900,000 of whom are infants under five” and “Altogether, this suggests that the total Afghan death toll due to the direct and indirect impacts of US-led intervention since the early nineties until now could be as high 3-5 million.” More broadly: “According to the figures explored here, total deaths from Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 1990s – from direct killings and the longer-term impact of war-imposed deprivation – likely constitute around 4 million (2 million in Iraq from 1991-2003, plus 2 million from the “war on terror”), and could be as high as 6-8 million people when accounting for higher avoidable death estimates in Afghanistan.”

That is a small sampling of the kinds of things the United States and its allies have done and continue to do in the Middle East along with many other areas of the world (e.g., Latin America). In some cases, it might be a severe undercount of deaths. That doesn’t even include the crippled, traumatized, orphaned, dislocated, etc. Much of the refugee crisis right now is the result of Western actions in non-Western countries.

Just imagine if some other country (or alliance of countries) over a period of decades invaded the United States multiple times, armed and trained paramilitary groups here, overthrew the government, propped up a dictator or left the country in chaos, sent drone or military strikes from across the national border, enforced economic sanctions, and on and on. Just imagine that these actions led to the harming and killing of millions of Americans, including hundreds of thousands innocents (women, children, and other civilians), maybe taking out a few gay clubs that were in the wrong place.

Yet we Americans have the arrogant audacity and willful ignorance to wonder why so many people hate America. Worse still, Americans go on voting into power the same kind of neocons that caused so much suffering and devastation for decades. And idiotic assholes on the political left will praise someone like Hillary Clinton for supposedly being a feminist and LGBT advocate and a voice for minorities, the very politician who has promoted policies around the world that have killed more innocent women, LGBTs, and minorities than all American right-wing hate groups combined. Who needs the evil hate-and-fear-mongering of the political right when we have the New Democrats to do the job for them.

If you want to be fully pissed off, right there is a good reason for righteous anger. And if you want to fight evil in the world, make sure sociopaths like that never get elected again. But if you get emotionally worked up every time fifty innocent people get killed for reasons of oppression and prejudice, you’d be in an endless state of outrage and much of it would be directed at the United States government.

Rationalizing the Rat Race, Imagining the Rat Park

I read an article the other day about the just-world hypothesis (or rather fallacy), Believing that life is fair might make you a terrible person by Oliver Burkeman. It is a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece.

The main point of the author is how the victimization of injustice leads to victim-blaming. That victim-blaming in turn rationalizes and encourages further victimization and injustice. It relates to the victimization cycle as well, where victims too often become victimizers, a topic I’ve written about endlessly.

It makes one want to throw one’s hands up in despair.

Another side of my personality kicks in, however. I wonder what are the exceptions to the rule (or better yet, the exceptions to who rules, to how they rule, to what ways we are ruled, which is to say the exceptions to the rules of the status quo). The author doesn’t explore that.

It is like the rat studies I recently discussed. There was a study done in the late 70s and published in 1980 that had quite an impact because it fit American beliefs about depraved humanity. The rats were put into horrific conditions of immense distress and then given the opportunity to consume drugs until they died, which unsurprisingly is what they did.

Around the same time, there were other researchers with other views on the issue. One researcher considered that, if he “were kept isolated in cramped metal cages, tethered to a self-injection apparatus”, he too might give into drug addiction until sweet death delivered him from the inescapable torment. He thought that maybe these were far from optimal conditions for rats or for humans. He designed research that, instead, would create the most optimal conditions. This was the rat park.

Mainstream science and academia were resistant to his questioning of the status quo. He couldn’t get published and lost funding. Americans didn’t want to know the truth… or rather the American ruling elite didn’t want Americans to know the truth. The truth was that if conditions change so do the responses, even with something so compelling as physical addiction.

The just-world hypothesis research shows that in an a society based on injustice people act according to and rationalize that injustice. That is unsurprising, as it fits our preconceptions, which maybe ought to make us suspicious for what if the research was designed and the conclusions developed to fit our preconceptions. If we look a bit deeper, we can see this research also implies that in a society based on justice people would act according to and rationalize justice (consider intolerance, which research shows does decrease when children are raised in diverse communities, neighborhoods, and schools). The author missed that implication because it didn’t fit into the cynical and fatalist American mainstream view of social reality.

This brings me to thoughts I’ve had about the morality-punishment link. Conservatism is utterly dependent on tis link. But I doubt this link is as inevitable as it seems. It can be broken and often is broken, every time a problem is solved, a sickness cured, etc.

It isn’t hard to imagine a world where justice prevails. Some of the best science fiction is about that very possibility (e.g., Star Trek: The Next Generation). We create what we imagine. This might give us pause in our collective obsession with imagining dystopian futures, but it also offers hope as we are free to imagine the future in any way we so choose. Our visions of the future can justify the status quo or they can challenge it. It is time we enter a new era of the radical imagination.


* * * *

Here are two videos and then some writings about the just-world hypothesis:

Shailene’s Hair, Unfair Monopoly, and the Just World Fallacy
by vlogbrothers

Social Psychology: Stereotype, Prejudice, Discrimination, and Just World Hypothesis/Belief
by Chris Dula (East Tennessee State University)

Vulnerability, Victim Blaming, and The Just World Fallacy
by Daniel Fincke

That Shouldn’t Happen: The Just World Fallacy and Autism
By Kim Wombles

White Privilege, Republicans, and the ‘Just World’ Fallacy
by Chauncey DeVega

Fatal Hypothesis: How Belief In A Just World Is Killing Us
by Katherine Cross

Poverty and the “Just World hypothesis”
by Nathan Pensky

The Just-World Fallacy
by David McRaney

The UNjust world
by Every Topic In The Universe(s?)

Modern American Libertarianism and the Just-World Fallacy
by Nolen

* * * *

Here are some of my previous posts on the issues of empathy, imagination, realism, and society:

Imagination, a Force to Be Reckoned With

Alternative Visions, Radical Imagination

Imagined Worlds, Radical Visions

Vision and Transformation

Culture of Paranoia, Culture of Trust

Liberal-mindedness, Empathetic Imagination, and Capitalist Realism

Social Order and Symbolic Conflation

It’s All Your Fault, You Fat Loser!

Who Is To Blame?

Identity politics too often distracts from the real issues and can even make problems worse. My focus is as much on the victimization cycle as on the victims and victimizers. The victimization cycle puts into context and so offers a larger vantage point.

All of us humans all over are caught up in a globally-connected system of victimization. That isn’t to say all suffer equally, but it is to say we all are equally fucked in the long term on a shared planet with limited resources. What goes around comes around.

I’ve been arguing with one racist guy who keeps saying that American blacks are more violent. I can argue with that on one level by pointing out that whites are more likely to be child molesters, school shooters, bombers, serial killers, etc. But that misses a bigger issue. Why is the entire American society violent? Why is the world in general such a violent place? Why are the wealthiest countries so war-mongering? Why are so many of the post-colonial countries troubled by near endless internal conflict?

Limiting our view to the US, blacks do commit high rates of homicides, although most of their victims are also blacks. It is violence within a community. But how did so many poor black communities become so violent? Before someone committed murder, they were a kid being raised in a particular environment in a particular society. Some thing shaped them.

We know what some of those factors are. We also know that most victimizers were once victims themselves. If we looked at most people arrested for violent crime, we’d probably most often find a personal history of violent victimization: friends, neighbors, and family members murdered; police targeting and brutality; systemic and institutional racism; oppressive poverty and economic hopelessness; et cetera.

We can extend this argument to Native Americans. Native American communities also have high rates of violent crime that goes hand in hand with being the victims of large-scale violence across recent centuries.

As far as that goes, this argument also applies to poor white communities such as in the rural South, specifically Appalachia. They also have high rates of violent crime. All poor communities in this country have high rates of social problems, especially in places of high economic inequality.

Most Americans forget that the raw numbers of poor whites is massive. There are more whites on welfare than any other race. Some of these populations have been in a permanent state of poverty for centuries or longer, going back to the British Isles and Europe.

Race becomes a proxy for class. We talk about the problems of poor blacks when we really mean the problems of poor people, the problems of poverty and economic inequality, which goes hand in hand with historically oppressed groups, even though oppressed in vastly different ways.

Here is my main point:

Every victim has a victimizer. And likely most victimizers were once victims. You can keep going back and back. Where you stop as the original source of victimization can be arbitrary or else ideologically biased.

To focus on those in power: Who is to blame for the world’s present system of imperialism? The first empires who invented this social order? The later empires that introduced it to new populations such as into tribal Europe? The even later empires that turned it into colonialism? Can anyone today take responsibility for the past, whether imperialism forced onto Native Americans or imperialism forced onto earlier Europeans?

Instead of blame, who will take responsibility? What does it even mean to take responsibility for problems so far beyond any individual, for cycles of victimization that extend across centuries and millennia?

Us versus them mentalities are how authoritarian social orders maintain their power. Even many people who fight imperialism and oppression end up internalizing the dysfunction. This is why so many revolutions fail and end up with authoritarian states, sometimes worse than what came before.

All I know is that the world is a lot more complex and a lot more fucked up than most people want to admit. The world is complex. Humans are complex. It is impossible to put people into neat little boxes. We all have immense potential, for both good and evil. That is what many people are afraid to confront, the immense potential that lurks within.

Authoritarians couldn’t get away with most of what they do if not for all those complicit, including among the victimized groups. Take for example the history of blacks. The slave trade was dependent on Africans selling other Africans into slavery, not unusually people selling their neighbors or even family members in hope of saving themselves. Later on, many blacks who, after being freed following the Civil War, became Indian fighters and in doing so violently and genocidally promoted US imperial expansion across the continent.

Both poor whites and poor blacks have been willing participants in American power. These disadvantaged people have always been the majority of the soldiers who fight the wars for the rich and powerful. That is the power of nationalism, of patriotism and propaganda. Even the rich end up buying the rhetoric they use to manipulate others for their minds get warped by the same basic media that warps the minds of all of us. We are all stuck in the same reality tunnel, unable to see beyond it.

If not blame, how is responsibility to be taken? Who will take the first step?

Western Society and Collective Trauma

I see Western society as possibly the most traumatized society on the planet.

Europe was once a place of tribal people with polytheistic and animistic religions. Almost everything we think of as Western was introduced to the West from elsewhere, mostly from North Africa and the Middle East, but also from Asia: imperialism, colonialism, high art, philosophy, mathematics, astrology, science, etc. None of that originated in Europe.

Instead, Europe’s native society was destroyed through genocide. What was left was a wounded people. Europe is a war-ravaged land and the scars of violence have never healed. Even war-ravaged Africa has survived more intact with its original cultures than Europe has. The East as well has maintained more of its native culture. Few populations on the planet were as utterly decimated by cultural genocide as happened with Europeans.

The dysfunction seen in Western society is that it is a traumatized society. Trauma at that scale doesn’t heal easily, if ever. There is no way to turn back. The cultural genocide was so complete that almost all of the native traditions have been lost forever. When cultural genocide is committed, the soul of a people is murdered. Europeans are the walking wounded, the descendents of the victims of one of the world’s largest genocides.

I’m very serious about that. The past millennia of war and occupation really fucked up Europe. America then inherited that fucked up society. We Westerners are a maimed and scarred people.

Unspoken Connection: Fundamentalism and Punishment

In this passage from Michael Tonry’s Punishing Race, an insight is offered, a key to the American mind. Fundamentalism is a powerful force, especially in the Republican Party, but also in mainstream society in general. Fundamentalism isn’t just about Southern Baptists. It is a larger worldview that seeps into every pore of American society.

Most of the time, crime is discussed ‘objectively’. It is as if one could understand victimization, violence, and mass incarceration simply by analyzing numbers. We Americans love data. We keep records almost religiously. Reality is messy, but numbers are clean and simple. The data, as some claim, speaks for itself. But the data also can hide that which we would rather not see, since data is only as good as the methods for gathering it.

What is the dark shadow cast by this data? What is left unspoken? What is the belief that motivates punitive crime policy?

* * * *

Kindle Locations 2271-2296:

The sizable political science and religion literatures on religion and politics in the United States are silent, except in passing, on the influence of Protestant fundamentalism on American crime policy generally. They focus on abortion, women’s and gay rights, and separation of church and state. None of the major recent works includes the terms crime or capital punishment in its index (e.g., Layman 2001; Green 2007). One leading work, however, Religion and Politics in the United States (Wald and Calhoun-Brown 2007), explains how and why Protestant fundamentalism shaped American crime control and punishment policies for three decades. Whereas Catholics and mainstream Protestants espouse a commitment to social welfare consonant with their belief in “a warm, caring god,” the fundamentalist “image of a cold and authoritative deity lends support to government’s role in securing order and property” (121). Richard Snyder, a former dean at New York Theological Seminary, explains the fundamentalist vision this way: “If we believe that all persons are essentially corrupt save for the extraordinary intervention of God’s grace in their lives, it is a simple step to think that those who are poor, or sick, or in trouble with the law, or different from us in any way are somehow evil. The redeemed are God’s children; the unrepentant are children of Satan” (2001, 14).

Fundamentalists are “characterized by a quest for certainty, exclusiveness, and unambiguous boundaries” and attempt “to chart a morally black and white path out of the gray zones of intimidating cultural and religious complexity” (Nagata 2001, 481). In its 1995 Contract with the American Family Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition accordingly called for increased penalties for convicted criminals (Wald and Calhoun-Brown 2007, 351). A year later Bennett, DiIulio, and Walters (1996) produced the fullest elaboration of fundamentalist crime control policy analysis ever published.

The near absence of crime control and punishment from the politics and religion literature is odd. The nexus seems self-evident. The Republican resurgence of the past forty years is attributable in large part to the Southern Strategy. The political influence of the religious right on Republican politics is well known (e.g., Green 2007). As one major review of the literature on fundamentalism and conservative politics observed, “The [religious right] enjoys something like a veto power in the Republican Party” (Woodberry and Smith 1998, 48).

By contrast the criminology literature, though small, has ferreted out the connection. Unnever, Cullen, and Applegate’s examination of attitudes toward capital punishment concludes that those fundamentalists “who have a rigid and moralistic approach to religion and who imagine God as a dispassionate, powerful figure who dispenses justice are more likely to harbor punitive sentiments toward offenders” (2005, 304). A slight but fascinating article based on a representative survey of Oklahoma City residents showed that Protestant conservatives viewed nearly all crimes as “very wrong” and thus did not differentiate among them in terms of seriousness (Curry 1996, 462). This finding goes a long way toward explaining why traditional ideas about proportionality in punishment are irreconcilable with many modern three-strikes, mandatory minimum, and life without the possibility of parole laws.

Shadow of the Golden Rule

Mass incarceration isn’t just about criminals. Racism isn’t just about minorities. Economic inequality isn’t just about the poor. Animal abuse isn’t just about animals. Et cetera.

This touches upon a fundamental truth, a truth that has been stated in many ways by many people, from Jesus to Gandhi: You can tell a lot about a society by how are treated the least powerful and privileged, the most unfortunate and disenfranchized.

There is no such thing as a moral society that doesn’t treat all citizens justly and fairly. There is no such thing as a free people that denies basic rights and freedoms to a permanent underclass. There is no such thing as a democratic country that is also a police state and a military empire.

Any rhetoric to the contrary is blatant hypocrisy and self-deluded rationalization.

These issues are never about a single demographic. This is for two reasons. 

First, these problems are shared by everyone who is one way or another implicated or even complicit. No person goes unaffected. These are social problems in the largest sense.

Second, these issues are representative of a vast web of issues. They are symbolic of something fundamental to a culture and political system. How the least among us are treated speaks to how we are all treated. It gives hint to how a society is actually structured and operates.

This is the reason that as mass incarderation increases the U.S. increasingly takes on characteristics of a police state such as a militarized police force. A prison shows starkly something that is true about all of U.S. society. The more citizens are imprisoned the larger and more pervasive the entire system of social control becomes.

The Golden Rule states that we should treat others as we’d like to be treated. There is a shadow cast by this nice-sounding aphorism. How we choose to treat others is how we ourselves will be treated. Or to state it colloquially, what goes around comes around. We can’t escape the consequences of our own actions, which is even more true on the collective level.

Moral Accounting Versus Shared Suffering

There is a game humans play. It is about counting wrongdoings and measuring suffering. Whoever has had the worst experience, whoever has suffered the most wins. You get extra points for being a victim.

This is something all people do, left and right, women and men, young and old. Everyone has something that has hurt them or something they fear will hurt them. Some of these ’causes’ seem more objectively valid than others, but they all are real within the person’s experience.

This is the game of moral accounting. I don’t mean to judge this game as wrong. I’m one to do moral accounting when it comes to social problems. And I’ve been known to do it on a personal level. My long-term severe depression is the cross I bear. Through it, my understanding of the world feels justified. I have suffered. I know suffering. But so have almost everyone, one way or another. We all need to remind ourselves that we aren’t special, that our suffering isn’t unique.

How can I say my suffering is greater or less? There is no way to compare suffering. Suffering is suffering is suffering, the great equalizer. Obviously, in this life, suffering hits some people far worse than others. Yet we are incapable of being objective about it. Our own suffering is always worse, in our own experience.

Too easily, suffering can shut us down, close us off, isolate us from the world and from other people. Suffering, sadly, often divides us from the larger experience of shared human suffering, an experience that would lead us to compassion, even when we can never truly understand the suffering of another.

Why is this embracing of compassion so difficult? Why do we nurse our wounds as if from them we could shape weapons and armor to defend ourselves with? What do we fear would happen if others discovered our secret pain, if we just let our suffering be?


12 Years a Slave, 4 Centuries an Oppression

I watched, along with some friends, the movie 12 Years a Slave. We all enjoyed it or rather appreciated it, in spite of the depressing and horrifying quality of the narrative. Part of its impact is knowing it is based on an autobiography which is being portrayed with as much historical accuracy as is possible in a mainstream film, gruesome whippings and lynchings included.

There is great power in a story. Even a fictional story like Uncle Tom’s Cabin was able to spark a political transformation across an entire nation. An autobiographical narrative is able to cut even deeper.

It put into context the books I’ve been reading about race and racism. Many of them are great books, but even the most insightful analysis can’t compete with a compelling and heart-rending personal narrative. Only Black Like Me by Griffin comes close to 12 Years a Slave and it does so by coming from a very personal angle.

This is the challenge of non-fiction. I love knowledge. There is nothing greater than truth expressed, most especially an uncomfortable truth and even moreso when it challenges power or breaks a oppressive silence. At times something can be explained and given voice so as to make it tangible and real, something that was only vaguely felt before.

A book as I describe can be found in the example of The New Jim Crow which is one of the most important books I’ve read in a long while, but I wonder how many people it will reach simply because it is a dense book filled with data. If the world was just or if most people cared enough about trying to make the world more just, The New Jim Crow would be read far and wide. Yes, it is dense with data, but oh what mind-blowing data it is and what a damning case the author makes with that data. What many only suspected before is made absolutely clear with this book.

Still, even that book doesn’t even come close to the soul-despairing indictment made in the best books by Derrick Jensen, an author not part of my present reading project. He doesn’t as directly focus on the issue of race and racism for his scope is more broad while also being more personal. I was thinking that only Jensen has ever touched me as deeply as a movie like 12 Years a Slave, more deeply actually in that he shows how the horror of violence and oppression isn’t a thing of the past or even just an issue of a single race.

We need someone equivalent to Jensen with a more direct focus on race and racism. A closer equivalent would be What’s the Matter with White People? by Joan Walsh. She connects personal experience and larger issues in a way that is useful, but nowhere near as profound or insightful as Jensen.

There are many good books and movies out there. If anything, we are swamped in worthy works. In the past, many people were ignorant because of a lack of info or lack of access to info. But that is no longer the case. No one has an excuse to not understand the problems of our society, the racism and other prejudices, the oppression and violence, the victimization and impoverishment, etc.

One of my friends I went to the movie with made a comment that I thought was problematic or misses something important. She said that those slave-owners had to have been insane. No, they weren’t insane, well no more insane than most people at that time and I’d argue no more insane than most people today. We all are largely blind and indifferent to the immoralities and injustices all around us, even when they directly involve us. If we were to face the immense suffering of our society, we’d be overwhelmed by despair (or that is the fear). But maybe there is no way forward except through that despair, scary as it seems.

Even more than that, we are afraid of the guilt that would follow, guilt about what has been done and continues to be done, guilt about what hasn’t yet been done and should be done. This is our shared society. We are all responsibility for the way things are. None of us are innocent. There is no place in this world for innocents. Only those who are able to feel guilt will be able take moral action. As there is power in a story, there is power in guilt. Shame is disempowering, but guilt when deeply felt creates a moral imperative.

How do we as a society move past shame and denial? How do we let go of our fears and face what must be faced? We are filled with potential more immense than any despair. We can continue to re-create the same old problems and failures or we can find a new path forward. I’m not alone in understanding this choice. In many different contexts, I hear people saying the same thing across the political spectrum. We feel stuck, but the necessary insight is to realize that we are stuck in a trap of our own making. If whites were to let go of their shame and blacks to let go of their anger, how might we redirect our focus on solving our shared problems?