It’s well trodden ground that many juveniles come out of detention more damaged than when they went in but rarely do we come across a situation where sexually abused kids are blamed for their own sexual assaults. A Justice Department survey states that 10% of the surveyed juveniles (male teens) had been sexually assaulted and that 92% of the attackers were women on staff in juvenile facilities.
Drawing on their sample, Justice Department researchers estimate that 1,390 juveniles in the facilities they examined have experienced sex abuse at the hands of the staff supervising them, a rate of nearly 8 percent. Twenty percent who said they were victimized by staff said it happened on more than 10 occasions. Nine out of 10 victims were males abused by female staff.
Nearly two-thirds of the abused youngsters said that the officials lured them into sexual relationships by giving them special treatment, treating them like a favorite, giving gifts and pictures.
To be frank, many of us expect sexual abuse of prisoners by other prisoners in adult prisons but while that’s clearly unjust and illegal it is another matter altogether for juveniles, under aged boys, to be subjected to regular sexual assault. The cultural reasons are equaling frightening.
Stannow (executive director of the California-based nonprofit Just Detention International) said that the rate of abuse perpetrated by female guards on male victims is the result of a “dangerous combination” of cultural and institutional problems, not the least of which is the fact that women forcing males into sex does not comport with society’s conventional definition of rape.
“When you have an extreme power differential and absolute unchecked power, bad things start happening,” Stannow said. “When you combine this with a culture where sex abuse by females on males isn’t taken seriously, then you have the perfect set-up for women with all this power to get away with it.”
Stannow and others say that the young male victims themselves may not even consider their relationships with women to constitute sex abuse. They might consider it consensual because they didn’t actively fight off their abusers.
That last part is a familiar narrative, no, and Reggie Wilkinson, the former director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, seems to be aware of it.
“There’s no such thing as consensual sex when you are supervising someone, regardless of their age, but the reality of it is that some of the guys in prison are very persuasive and some of the women are very persuasive,” Wilkinson said.
Where’ve I heard this before? Oh yeah, “she was asking for it.”
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