A neglected subject?

In all of the political and policy discourse about sexual assaults little if any attention is given to sexual assaults committed by women, usually on men.

Here is an interesting article about the “discussion” about prison sexual assault.  Can the same be said for non prison sexual assault views.

Engendering Rape
Kim Shayo Buchanan*
59 UCLA L. Rev. 1630
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This Article highlights a systematic bias in the academic, correctional, and human rights discourse that constitutes the basis for prison rape policy reform. This discourse focuses almost exclusively on sexual abuse perpetrated by men: sexual abuse of male prisoners by fellow inmates, and sexual abuse of women prisoners by male staff. But since 2007, survey and correctional data have indicated that the main perpetrators of prison sexual abuse seem to be women. In men’s facilities, inmates report much more sexual victimization by female staff than by male inmates; in women’s facilities, inmates report much higher rates of sexual abuse by fellow inmates than by male or female staff. These findings contravene conventional gender expectations, and are barely acknowledged in contemporary prison rape discourse, leading to policy decisions that are too sanguine about the likelihood of female-perpetrated sexual victimization. The selective blindness of prison rape discourse to counter-stereotypical forms of abuse illuminates a pattern of reasoning I describe as “stereotype reconciliation,” an unintentional interpretive trend by which surprising, counter-stereotypical facts are reconciled with conventional gender expectations. The authors of prison rape discourse tend to ignore these counter-stereotypical facts or to invoke alternative stereotypes, such as heterosexist notions of romance or racialized rape tropes, in ways that tend to rationalize their neglect of counter-stereotypical forms of abuse and reconcile those abuses with conventional expectations of masculine domination and feminine submission.

* Kim Shayo Buchanan is Associate Professor at USC Gould School of Law.

Uncomfortable Places, Close Spaces: Female Correctional Workers’ Sexual Interactions With Men and Boys in Custody
Brenda V. Smith*
59 UCLA L. Rev. 1690
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It is well known that sexual abuse occurs within the correctional system. That female correctional staff commit a significant proportion of that sexual abuse is met with discomfort bordering on disbelief. This discomfort has limited the discourse about female correctional workers who abuse men or boys under their care. Scant scholarship exists that addresses the appropriate response to sexual abuse by women; even less addresses sexual abuse by female correctional workers. Likewise, feminist jurisprudence on sexuality and desire does little to illuminate the motivations of women who engage in sexual misconduct or abuse, much less women who abuse men or boys in custodial settings. What the literature does acknowledge is that female sex offenders receive less-harsh sanctions overall than male sex offenders; they are even less likely to be prosecuted or punished when the victim is male and in custody. Additionally, although female correctional workers have access to significant power by virtue of their roles, that power may be diminished by a confluence of gender, race, and class. The literature also acknowledges that female correctional staff’s entry into the correctional system was a great success for reformist feminists and that women have become power players within the correctional system because of their ability to supervise both women and men. Despite this status, however, women still experience sexual discrimination and harassment, both from male staff members and from male inmates. For black female correctional workers, gender discrimination is compounded by race and class discrimination.

This Article examines female-perpetrated sexual abuse in custodial settings and its place at the intersection of race, class, and gender in order to disentangle complex and overlapping narratives of abuse, sex, desire, and transgression. Ultimately, this Article confronts our discomfort with and reluctance to acknowledge the fact that women sexually abuse men and boys in custody, and it offers possible explanations for these behaviors.

* Brenda V. Smith is Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law and the Director for the Project on Addressing Prison Rape.

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