Friday, October 20, 2006

If Men Want To Understand Male Sexual Exploiters Listen To Female Exploiters

I watched yesterday's Dr. Phil show on female teachers who have sex with male students. Several guests complained about the double standard between male and female offenders. This is a familiar complaint made by anti-feminists who sometimes go as far as blaming feminists for the female teachers' behavior.

Most of those who complain about indifference by the public toward most female sexual offenders assume that it is the offender's gender which makes the difference and that women will excuse their own.

The more I listen to what people say about a variety of cases, the clearer it is that this assumption is wrong. The double standard is caused by the very same rape myths which causes the blaming of female victims and the excusing of "good" accused male rapists.

As long as most male rapists and sexual abusers escape justice the same will happen for the female perpetrators.

Often the judgments people make when deciding who is a real sexual abuser and who simply made an error in judgment come down to general character attributes and stereotypes about those attributes.

An exploiter who is considered crass but who commits the same acts will likely get more punishment than his or her nicer counterpart.

Those perpetrators who come across as sincere in stating they and the victim had a mutual and consensual relationship are going to be given lighter treatment, be they male or female. When female teachers try to explain away their criminal responsibility, they are giving us a window into the rationalizations used by men who sexually exploit girls.

At the top of the list is the insistence that there was no intent to harm the other person.

If the victim seems sexually mature and the adult seems sexually immature, either because of their actions or because of our perceptions, there's a temptation to create an artificial equality in the interaction and to dismiss the reality of crimes which happened and to increase the level of victim blaming.

Just as female teachers say that it was the student who sent out the non-verbal invitation, men who exploit girls do the same thing when they are caught often in a much cruder way such as calling a girl a tease.

Like military recruiters who have sex with girls who want to join the military, female teachers can pretend that their position doesn't give them power which can be used to exploit others.

Fortunately in recent years more people are recognizing this non-violent sexual exploitation for what it is and not excusing it for any reason or for any gender.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 2:12 PM   1 comments links to this post

1 Comments:

At October 21, 2006 12:21 AM, Blogger arielladrake said...

Oh, thankyou for articulating this so well. This kind of idea's been niggling at me for a while, and I couldn't quite work it out.

 

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