— WonderWomen (@TeleWonderWomen) September 30, 2015
Forensic psychologist Nina Burrowes says the gender of female abusers often accounts for some of our shock: “I do generally believe [women sexually abusing children] happens less often than men, but it happens a lot more often than you realise. I suspect it’s much more underreported.”
She suggests that society has not been willing to learn more about female paedophilia (where adults are sexually attracted to children) and female child sex abuse (where they either act on those impulses and sexually abuse children, or do it for different reasons).
“We find it abhorrent because it challenges our ideas of women and motherhood,” she explains. “We also find it frightening because we like to live with the idea that men are dangerous and women are safe, so when you see children to a male stranger in the park it’s dangerous but if they’re talking to a woman it isn’t.