At the end of an interview Clancy makes a few interesting claimes/statments, the first one being;
I think practically, sexual abuse victims need to hear loud and clear that what happened to you is what happens to most people
“Happens to most people?” Nope, not even close. There’s nothing to indicate that “most” children are sexually abused. But, since this was an interview, I’ll accept that maybe she just misspoke. I’ll assume she meant “happens to most people who were sexually abused.” But what comes next isn’t misspeaking, it’s just wrong. Unbidden, Clancy says,
What the fuck is wrong with all of these men? Sexual abuse is not women; it’s men. Every once in a while a woman will sexually abuse, but in 95 percent of cases it’s a man that is known to the child — a teacher, a friend, a family member.
This woman is supposed to be some sort of highly-funcitioning academic in the field of child sexual abuse and she apparently doesn’t know some very basic facts about it. Either that or she’s intentionally misrepresenting what the science is.
It is certainly true that most child sexual abuse is committed by males. But to claim that women do none of it, or close to none, is just flat wrong. Various studies produce various figures, but 20-25% of child sexual abuse by women looks about accurate, or even an understatement. For example, researcher Frederick Matthews found that,
[I]n six studies reviewed by Russell and Finkelhor, female perpetrators accounted for 25% or more of abusers. Ramsay-Klawsnik (1990a) found that adult females were abusers of males 37% of the time, female adolescents 19% of the time. Both of these rates are higher than the same study reported for adult and teen male abusers.
In studies of adults who were sexually abused as children, Matthews found that,
In some of these types of studies, females represent as much as 50% of sexual abusers (Risin and Koss, 1987).
Childline last November released it’s report of callers seeking help from abuse. They revealed that almost 25% of children reporting sexual abuse said it was committed by a female. Police at the time said that finding was in line with their own figures.
And when it comes to self-reporting, it’s almost certain that female abuse is understated. That’s because children who are old enough to understand what’s happening to them also understand that if Mom gets busted, they may well end up in foster care. So they tend to refrain from reporting a female abuser for fear of losing a parent. It’s a Hobson’s choice, but it’s the one they have to make. Also, as there is the idea that men are the abusers many victims will not report a female abuser out of fear of not being believed or due to doubt of their own experiances being abuse.