Another day, another news story about a woman getting sexually involved with a teen. This time, a babysitter has been arrested on charges of molesting a 14-year-old boy who was in her care a couple years ago.Summer Nelson, 28, of Post Falls, ID, was friends with the boy's mother and babysat him and his younger siblings. Nelson began to have sexual relations with the boy, even telling his siblings she was in love with him.
We routinely hear about men's pedophilic sex crimes, and it's still shocking to hear about female perpetrators of sex crimes even though women commit the crime in fewer numbers. Why do they do it, and does the sexual abuse affect boys any differently than it affects girls who are sexually abused? To find out,
"These women are psychologically not much older than their victims," says Richard Gartner, a New York psychologist and author of Betrayed as Boys. "They're attracted to kids they can handle."
Women who have sex with minors often feel socially and sexually inadequate, says Susan Strickland, a forensic social worker in Atlanta. One woman, who received 30 years for plying her daughter's underage teen friends with alcohol and having sex with them, told police that it was the first time she'd felt popular and part of a group.
Abusers often come from strange families with few boundaries. Women who molest prepubescent kids, especially, were more than likely sexually abused or traumatized as kids themselves. Whether consciously or not, abusing minors may be a way to regain the power the women lost when they were abused.
And what about abused boys? Although we live in a culture that tells boys that they should never turn down sex, or that it is a fantasy for a sexier older woman to want to have sex with them, this makes the trauma even harder to handle. They end up having trouble developing age-appropriate relationships and, as adults, they're more likely to be depressed, anxious, and addicted to drugs, pornography, or casual sex.