Female Abusers: The Unspoken Evil?

Are we particularly aghast about crimes like Vanessa George's because it's "contrary to the instinctive nurturing role with which it is generally assumed most women are born?"

Suggests the Times of London,

For the public, the most obviously shocking aspect of the case was the fact that George was a woman, a mother, and had therefore behaved in every way contrary to the instinctive nurturing role with which it is generally assumed most women are born. There was further disbelief and outrage when it transpired that George had also posted naked images of her own 14-year-old daughter online, together with a handful of smutty, sexual comments.

While it's certain that the molestation of small children - particularly in a child-care professional - would appall us regardless of the sex of the perpetrator, is it true that there's an extra element of shock when it's a woman? And does it make it more horrifying, or less if, as the defense claims, George was committing the crimes to satisfy a man's sick predilections rather than her own desires? Isn't this a sickness in itself, and just as potentially harmful to victims? Acknowledging a difference in psychology of perpetrators is not to place any less blame.

Continues the article,

Certainly, as a phenomenon, it feels unfamiliar, something the media didn't report until recently and whose existence was denied even in psychiatric circles until the 1980s - in the same way that incest was denied until 20 years before that. But even now, when similar cases surface all the time, there is a public reluctance to get to grips with the underlying meaning of such crimes. It is a reluctance which, say the female psychiatrists who have done the most to understand such cases, not only gets in the way of effective treatment and implementing preventative measures but is at heart a denial of female agency, sexuality and capacity for violence.

If indeed a systemic denial of female sexuality generally and its deviations specifically is at work, it may be true, as some have claimed, that sexual violence by women is under-reported. The fact is that a woman's abuse is simply not going to result in the stark physical end that a Fritzl's is. But it's also true that, while - to take an example quoted by the Times - Nancy Garrido did not physically impregnate Jaycee Dugard, she was wholly complicit in her kidnapping and active imprisonment. I was concerned to read, immediately, a piece, "the hidden face of female depravity" - decrying the widespread, hidden evil of women; this is not an open call for Biblical misogyny, and the simple truth is that even if it is under-reported, violent sexual abuse is not as common amongst women. But not acknowledging the issue is, ironically, doing everyone a disservice - and, it need not be said, particularly any young victims.

Vanessa George And The Evil That Women Do [Times of London]
Nursery Worker Vanessa George: Women And Child Sex Abuse [Telegraph]< a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1217800/The-Vanessa-George-case-reveals-hidden-face-female-depravity.html">The Vanessa George Case Reveals The Hidden Face Of Female Depravity [Daily Mail]