End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation

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We know that there are definitional biases and gender discrepancies when it comes to recognizing,and diagnosing child abuse. But emerging research and cohort studies are lifting a twenty year embargo against discussing gender and race in re-examining both gender of perpetrators, and redefining ‘what is sexual abuse.’

For instance, it is common to examine girls for every range of possibility of sexual abuse, but no special procedures that differentiate sexual abuse of boys that was perpetrated by specifically women– like saliva analysis, or  bruising caused by objects, or a child’s exposure to other forms of female behavior that would qualify as sexual abuse.

And boys are less likely to be asked if women, girls, mothers, aunts, and/or female caretakers physically or sexually abused them.

It is also certain more often than not, that any boy who has been sexually abused by a female is less likely to self-report that fact, and by inference of all data, it is  more likely that any hospital visit will have a female caretaker present, which can intimidate self reporting of sexual and physical abuse.

It is well known that abuse victims cannot and will not expose their abuser if the abuser is standing next to them. And most abusers of children have primary custodial control of the child, meaning the child is wholly stifled at knowing how to express the abuse they have endured.

But some are asking another question: does race get in the way of boys reporting their sexual abuse at large, and specifically their sexual abuse by women? I think it does, and I am not alone–anymore..

“Child maltreatment is a significant problem within US society, and minority children have higher rates of substantiated maltreatment than do white children. However, it is unclear whether minority children are abused more frequently than whites or whether their cases are more likely to be reported. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether there are racial differences in the evaluation and Child Protective Services (CPS) reporting of young children hospitalized for fractures.”

While it is likely that historic institutionalized racism is a factor that can explain higher diagnostic success of detecting abuse in black children, it is also a possibility that observer bias ( nurses, doctors, emergency room personell) gets in the way, because white women are seldom if ever suspects–ever–in crime.

Other minority groups have their own profile issues to contend with, but beyond the biased definitional basis for ‘what is abuse,’ beyond the stereotype of male, race is a factor.

It’s not necessarily that black people abuse their children at any higher rates than white people, but rather that suspects, and suspicions of child abuse perpetrated by white people are often downplayed because of racial profiling. Whites are always “less suspect”–and white women in particular–who are the primary caretakers of children–are almost never suspected of any crimes, much less child abuse.

Yet men of all races are constantly primary suspects. They even have a gendered epithet that applies to this profile: the boogieMAN.

I suspect that it’s time to re-visit the race and child abuse question, and redefine ‘what is a suspect,’ for the sake of the children, and the future.

Note to self: put this on the white female privilege checklist.

  1. Hi. Thanks for leaving your link.
    I am needing clarification . My understanding of the post was that you were writing about a need 4 awareness of
    white female offenders who sexually offend minority and specifically African-American boys ? My response is yes.
    absolutely. The stories of these offenses exist somewhere even if it is in the memories of men living in silence today. I have known Hispanic men who were sexually abused by white nuns and priests in the San Diego, California area.


    • pornonymous says:

      Hi, and thank you for your question. I honestly do not know the specific rates of that very harmful form of abuse against boys of color ( and BTW I despise the racist implications of labeling people by color, but we are stuck with those definitions in dialogue–for now.) If you search through my blog you will find articles and statistics about rates in general.

      The question is an open one.However one thing is certain: when child abuse suspects are profiled, discussed, rounded up, etc., the only profile missing is the white female. White girls and women are seldom put under the scrutiny that women of other races and ethnicities are.

      I personally believe that Latino and African American boys are preyed upon by white women through adoption and in the disguise of ‘mothering’ at least as often as the children in the care of the church (especially in the last two decades). Equally, if you follow adoption trends we discover an exceptional eagerness on the part of white women to adopt ‘asian’ girls, which is also worrisome.

      The church and the abusers in the church abuse those who they have access to, and right now–and especially in your area– that is often Latino, Asian, and African American kids. If you have any data or statistics on that I would be greatful for the link!

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