Oftentimes, when people think about sex offenders they envision middle-age men lurking around schools and playgrounds. However, this stereotype is wholly inaccurate, as evidenced by two arrests on sex offense charges in North Carolina this week.
One woman is facing charges after she allegedly took indecent liberties with females who babysat for her. The second woman is a middle school teacher accused of the statutory rape of a former student. Clearly, these women do not fit into the mold of the stereotypical sex offender.
This raises the question of what causes a person to commit a sex offense and whether there are differences between different types of offenders. According to experts, it is impossible to identify sex offenders just by looking at them. Often they are the seemingly harmless person who lives down the street or even the parent who seems like a family man. In fact, Dr. William Bloss of the ECU Criminal Justice Department said people who commit sex offenses are often highly respected individuals who hold positions of trust and authority.
Among sex offenders, Bloss says there is a difference between pedophiles and rapists. Females are more likely to be pedophiles and men are more likely to be rapists. Women tend to be more nurturing towards children and can easily build a relationship with a child because they may be less threatening. However, both male and female sex offenders lure their victims in a similar manner. According to Bloss, male rapists are usually motivated by power and anger. Meanwhile, women are driven by sexual gratification.
While there are some identifying characteristics of sex offenders, they are not always the stereotypical loners and social outcasts that many people envision.
Source: WNCT “What’s Driving Sex Offenders?” Andrea Blanford, 10 November 2010