FACT #7 – Females can and do perpetrate acts of sexual violence and abuse.
An especially toxic stereotype connected to male sexuality is that men and boys always want sex. In addition, there remains a strong belief in the culture that a male can’t really be harmed or abused by a female perpetrator. Analysis of sentencing disparities in cases of sexual abuse suggests this prejudice extends into our justice system where often the sexual crimes of female perpetrators are perceived by some judges and juries to be less harmful than those of male perpetrators.
However, any time a person is touched sexually or is forced/coerced to engage in sexual activity without their consent it is an act of abuse. And any experience of sexual abuse can be very harmful to the victim, regardless of the gender of the perpetrator or the nature of their connection to the victim/survivor.
Research suggests that there are more female perpetrators of sexual abuse than many people realize.
- In research conducted by Lisak, Hopper, and Song, male victims of sexual abuse reported having at least one female perpetrator in almost 40% of cases. Lisak, David, Jim Hopper, and Pat Song. “Factors in the cycle of violence: Gender rigidity and emotional constriction.” Journal of traumatic stress 9.4 (1996): 721-743.
- In 2014, Dr. Bryana French released research reporting that “[a] total of 43 percent of high school boys and young college men reported they had an unwanted sexual experience and of those, 95 percent said a female acquaintance was the aggressor.” http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/03/coerced-sex.aspx
 – Embry, R., & Lyons, P. M. (2012). Sex-Based Sentencing Sentencing Discrepancies Between Male and Female Sex Offenders. Feminist Criminology, 7(2), 146-162.