Earlier this month a Redlands area female teacher was arrested for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old male student, whose child she is now allegedly bears. Another female teacher in Brea was arrested for sleeping with a male student in June. An LAist article reporting on the former case seems to echo a familiar tone in describing sexual assault cases with teenaged male victims, a tone that often treats the crime more lightly than if the gender roles were swapped (the LAist piece has a tongue-in-cheek mention of a potential Lifetime movie being made about the female teacher).
It’s a tone that seems to forgo any concern for the male victim’s well being, and meanwhile seems to suggest that if older male perpetrators of sex crimes are evil predators, than older woman perpetrators are strange and comical anomalies.
In reality these cases are almost certainly more nuanced than these simple media narratives -- and there’s also the dynamics of male on male or female on female sexual harassment to consider -- but to what extent does the narrative actually hold? Are male teenaged victims of sexual assault less “victimized” by these crimes than females?
David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes against Children Research Center and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire.
Dr. Richard Gartner, a psychologist and psychoanalyst specializing in male sexual abuse, and Founding Director of Sexual Abuse Service at the William Alanson White Institute for Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology in New York City.