Double Standard? — (Idaho Statesman)

SSRI Ed note: News article list a number of cases of woman involved in sex abuse of underage boys, reports that trend difficult to explain.

Original article no longer available

The Olympian

With the population of the U.S. now at 300 million, the rate of bipolar disorder has increased by 4.8 million people in the U.S. in the years from 1994 to 2005.  It is the opinion of SSRI Stories that the majority of this increase  has occurred because of the massive antidepressant use in this country.

Although decreased libido is a the more common side effect of SSRIs, those who become manic or hypomanic on the drug can experience an increase in libido, along with impaired judgement, a loss of concern for others (empathy) and a general reduction in emotional reponse.

Original article no longer available

Idaho Statesman

By KRISTIN RODINE | Idaho Statesman 

Published April 18, 2009

SW Idaho seeing more women charged with sex abuse

BOISE, Idaho – From a Boise psychology teacher accused of having sex with a teen student to a Caldwell guardian who bore her ward’s child, the Treasure Valley has seen a flurry of sex-abuse cases with female defendants.

Canyon County is prosecuting two women charged with molesting minors, and a third was sent to prison in February. In Ada County, two women have been charged with sexually abusing youths since December, the same month two others were convicted of similar crimes.

In the past year, a dozen women have been in Valley courtrooms on charges of sexually abusing minors. They range in age from 20 to 40; their victims from 12 to 17. Each woman was at least five years older than the boy or girl.

Local prosecutors and counselors aren’t sure what to make of the apparent increase, but they see interesting differences between male and female offenders – in the nature of the cases, in the severity of punishment and, especially, in the way the abusers and their victims are viewed by the people around them.

“There’s an enormous public perception problem,” said Jean Fisher, who prosecutes sex abuse cases for Ada County. “If the boy’s under 14, people might say ‘poor little fellow,’ but with a 16- or 17-year-old boy, you’re more likely to hear, ‘Oh, man, he got lucky!’

“They don’t see it as a problem. But I do. I think it’s a huge problem.”

Erica Kallin, a deputy prosecutor in Canyon County’s Special Victims Unit, says the attitudes reflect a popular culture that tends to portray women as seductresses where men would be cast as predators.

“It’s the whole ‘American Pie’ thing – younger guy, older mom,” Kallin said. “You see it in music videos, too. It’s just been ingrained in people’s heads.

“And it has an adverse effect on those of us in the real world trying to protect underage victims.”

Those attitudes also harm women’s victims, counselor Mydell Yeager of Boise said.

“If the people around are reacting, ‘You’re lucky,’ it makes it harder for them to come forward,” Yeager said. “And it makes it harder in treatment.”

Preconceptions about women also can make it less likely for people to suspect the offender and protect the victim, Yeager said: “We still have difficulty believing that it’s possible.”

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  • That difficulty persists despite notorious national cases such as Mary Kay Letourneau, the Seattle-area teacher who had sex with a 13-year-old student, bore two of his children – one conceived in violation of a protective order after she was briefly released for good behavior – and married him after she got out of prison and he turned 21.”I think the publicity on that was probably a good public service announcement for all of us,” Caldwell counselor Wanda Newton said.Local experts generally agree the judicial system has tended to treat women offenders more gently than men, but Newton said the system is much more equitable than in the past.”In my first experience with a female offender, in the early 1990s, she was allowed to be prosecuted by her maiden name and not the name she was known by,” she said. “What the system was saying to itself was that it was protecting this woman’s kids. But some of the male offenders had kids, too, and no one was protecting them from people knowing about their dad.””I ended up refusing to do treatment with her,” Newton said, adding that it seemed unfair to other offenders and impossible to effectively treat the woman “if she was able to hide.”Now, she said, prosecutors and judges are more zealous in pursuing female offenders and holding them accountable.

    “I do think we have tried to close that gap considerably,” Fisher said. “I’m not really convinced there’s a huge disparity going on.”

    But some female abusers do get lighter sentences, she said, in part because they tend to exhibit serious emotional and psychological disorders. Bipolar disorder, which causes hypersexuality and difficulty forging relationships with age-appropriate men, is particularly common among female sex offenders, Fisher said.

    Newton said she’s not sure women who molest suffer from such conditions more often than their male counterparts, but she agrees it is brought up more.