Male and Female Sex Offenders

Men and Women Who Molest or Rape Children

[A selection from Dr. Lynn Daugherty’s book, Child Molesters, Child Rapists, and Child Sexual Abuse]

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The victim often asks “Why me? Why did he do that to me?” Parents ask “How could he do that to my child! Why would anyone sexually abuse a child?”

Answering these questions is not easy. It is often difficult to understand why someone would sexually abuse a child. There are many different possible reasons. Most of these reasons come down to the fact that the child molester or child rapist has serious psychological problems. A sex offender is more interested in satisfying his or her own needs than in protecting the welfare of the child. The sex offender uses the child to make him or herself feel better in some way. The molestation, rape or incest is not a result of anything the child has done.

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Many types of people sexually abuse children. Although we often think of a sex offender (a child molester or child rapist) as a “dangerous stranger,” this is usually not the case. About 80% of child victims are abused by someone they know rather than by a stranger. Often this involves incest, abuse by a family member.

Most sexual abusers are men, although some are women. Sexual abusers may be of any age from adolescence to old age. Sexual abusers have many psychological problems. They are often individuals who do not feel comfortable with people their own age. They choose children to meet their needs because children are less threatening to them.

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Female Abusers

Not very much is known about women who sexually abuse children. Sexual abuse by women is not reported often. Women abusers are usually involved in a continuing relationship or incest. Their victims are usually boys, although they sometimes abuse girls.

Women who sexually abuse children are usually “caretakers” for them, most often mothers or stepmothers. They are usually very possessive and overprotective of their victims. Yet they are very immature. They depend on their victims to meet their own emotional needs.

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Women who sexually abuse children usually are single. If they are married, their husbands are often gone from the home or emotionally distant. They probably abuse children to satisfy emotional rather than sexual needs.

Male Abusers

Most of what we know about sexual abusers comes from studies of men and boys who abuse children. Therefore, most of this discussion applies to male abusers. We have studied and understood them more completely.

Men and boys who sexually abuse children in non-aggressive, non-violent ways are different from those who abuse children in violent aggressive ways. In this chapter, these non-violent abusers will be called “child molesters” to distinguish them from the more violent abusers who will be called “rapists.” Most sexual abuse of children is by child molesters rather than by rapists. Both child molesters and rapists have serious psychological problems.

Child molesters abuse children to meet their emotional and sexual needs. They are attracted to children as sex objects and are seeking acceptance or companionship. Rapists use and abuse children through sexual acts mainly to satisfy other needs and desires. These include power, anger and sadistic feelings.

Relationships with other adults, especially sexual relationships, are usually very threatening to both rapists and child molesters. Their reactions to this threat are different, however. The child molester avoids the threat by turning to children as a safer substitute. The rapist denies his fears by striking out and attacking children.

© Cleanan Press, Inc. 2004 – 2014

Learn more about sex offenders who abuse children, Read . . .

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Book Publisher ~ Estab 1983